Designing a bright smile

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Designing a bright smile – Made possible by Digital Smile Design (DSD)

Have you ever heard of a "designed" smile? Do you believe it is possible for a dentist to map out your future smile on a computer screen? Does this sound too much like science fiction to you? Maybe ten years ago but today all of this is made possible by Digital Smile Design - a software-powered procedure that allows dentist to digitally design a bright smile for their patients prior to ever laying a hand on their faces. An additional bonus point in favor of Digital Smile Design is the fact that it allows patients to actively participate in shaping their desired smiles. Since Digital Smile Design is fortunately suitable for virtually every kind of patient, it can be deployed in a flash at even the slightest inkling of interest from any given dental practice visitor.  

What exactly is Digital Smile Design?

The aesthetic dentistry of today never stands still and continuously produces new innovations. Digital Smile Design is one of these innovations and involves the use of specialized software to digitize and analyze photos and videos of the to-be-treated parts of a patient's oral cavity. Based on those, the software then generates so-called "mock-up" scenarios of the planned treatment to visualize the most likely outcomes on a computer screen. This enables both the dentist and the patient to somehow take a peek into the future and to adjust the final treatment outcome based on patient-specific wishes. Digital Smile Design is used predominantly for treatments to the visible parts of the mouth (e.g., the front teeth) because it is those parts that patients want to look the best.

What happens during a Digital Smile Design appointment?

Every Digital Smile Design appointment starts with a consultation between dentist and patient to thoroughly discuss all desired or needed treatments and to meticulously assess the symmetry and specific features of a patient's face. This first conversation between dentist and patient usually involves the following steps: 

1. Photos & Videos: The dentist takes recordings of the patient's jaw and various movements and emotion-driven facial distortions with an intra-oral scanner  

2. Simulation: Based on the previously taken recordings, the specialized software generates an array of scenarios that visualize the most likely treatment outcomes and that enable before/after comparisons

3. Complete Jaw-Model: Drawing from the previously calculated treatment outcome scenarios, the software finally devises a completely realistic model of the patient's entire jawline (incl. gums) 

Once the dentist and the patient decide on a final jaw-model, the dentist commissions the creation of a physical "mock-up" for the patient to try on during a follow-on appointment which usually involves the following steps:

4. “Mock-Up” Fitting: Based on the detailed digital jaw-model, the dentist (via a dental lab) commissions the creation of so-called "mock-ups" of the planned tooth replacements (e.g., veneers, crowns, etc.) via 3D printing so the patient can test the fit

5. Dental Procedure: Once the dentist and the patient settle on a final "mock-up", the dentist commences with the actual procedure to turn the computer-generated design into reality

How much does Digital Smile Design cost?
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to exactly estimate the costs of a Digital Smile Design procedure up front because it depends heavily on its length and degree of difficulty, the utilized materials, and the required effort by the dentist. So, to get a solid cost estimate for your personal Digital Smile Design procedure, just consult your dentist directly and embark on the way towards a prettier and brighter smile.

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All the Best & see you soon, Ace!

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