I am getting a smile makeover soon. I choose a dentist with a great rating in smile makeovers on Yelp. Because of finances, I opted to have dental bonding done instead of porcelain veneers. My question is how do I know what color to tell the dentist. I’m in my 60s so I’m guessing too white would look unnatural, but I do what a clean looking white smile. Would that be an A1? Any advice?
There are actually three issues here I want to address in order to help you get the best outcome possible on your smile makeover.
Choosing Your Cosmetic Dentist
While Yelp is great for many things, and I use it myself, their current algorithm doesn’t do a great job when it comes to helping patients find a great cosmetic dentist. From what I can tell, their system is based completely on the ratings the dentists get without regard for what the ratings were about.
As an example, I looked up the term you used for smile makeovers in a large city near me on Yelp. The top five dentists they listed showed no evidence on their websites that they actually did smile makeovers or had any training in cosmetic dentistry. One of the five didn’t have a website. Another only used stock photos for any cosmetic pages they had on their website. This tells me they don’t have any good examples of work they’ve done to show.
So, why were they rated so high? It likely had more to do with them getting 5 stars for being gentle, having a good chairside manner, and getting people in and out on time. Those were the praises I read on these dentists. This is great if you need general dental work, but a smile makeover is different. In fact, doing smile makeovers isn’t even taught in dental school. A dentist has to invest time to study these types of procedures post-doctorally.
If you want to find a great cosmetic dentist, my suggestion would be to look on the mynewsmile.com website. They have a link where you can locate great cosmetic dentists by zip code and how far you are willing to travel. Each dentist is pre-screened for their technical training as well as the artistry of their work prior to being listed. They cannot simply pay to be listed.
Porcelain Veneers or Dental Bonding
You mentioned doing dental bonding instead of porcelain veneers in order to save money. I’m going to steer you away from this. It will actually end up costing you more money for two reasons. First, it takes much longer to do cosmetic bonding well, especially over large surfaces. Because of that the charge will end up being higher. Secondly, bonding does not last as long as porcelain veneers. You can expect it to hold it’s beauty for about two to three years before it starts to pick up stains. Whereas, if you went with porcelain veneers and took good care of them, you could expect them to last many years.
Choose the Dentist, Not the Details
You won’t have to worry about giving your dentist the exact color. For instance, you wouldn’t have to tell your dentist you wanted an A1. Just describe the look you want and they can do the rest. Good cosmetic dentists always make up provisionals to make certain they are creating what you have in mind. Look at Dr. Murphree’s Beautiful Smile Guarantee to get an idea of what the process is when you work with a skilled cosmetic dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.