Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

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Cosmetic dentistry – do you need a specialist?

Angy’s List posted a good article recently touching on a subject of cosmetic dentistry. This is a good article emphasizing in a way the importance of patient education in order to make informed decisions about their care.  It is not very in-depth and it does not answer some of the questions it poses, but it at least raises a little bit of awareness that not all dentists are created equal.

While some lives are being drastically improved by quality dentistry using a comprehensive approach and individually tailored modern treatment options, some lives will be changed in the opposite direction over time, if some existing conditions are not diagnosed and taken into consideration while treatment planning. It is a sad fact of life, as many people do not perceive their teeth as an integral part of their body, a live organ that if not treated or treated improperly – can turn your health upside down and even have fatal effect on your body.

When you are looking for cosmetic dentistry, do not look for the cheapest deal in town. It will get you in trouble, as you always get what you pay for. This aspect of dental care has become so highly commercial that sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is a good recommendation and what is a bad one, let alone the consequences it may have long-term. Look for your dentist’s credentials and level of education. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

While specialists do good work, Austin is lucky to have several highly qualified general dentists who can provide you with excellent care in various aspects of dentistry. If you choose to go to a general dentist, look for those with lots of continued education and if they belong to Academy of General Dentistry, an organization providing them with opportunities for continued education and fighting for the higher standards in the dental community. Masters or Fellows of AGD are setting a great example for the dental community. Or if you choose to go to a specialist, like prosthodontist ( dentists working with restoration of implants, dentures, doing crown and bridge work), look for similar credentials according to the field of specialty. Keep in mind, you will still need a good general dentist to help coordinate all aspects of treatment you need.

If someone finished dental school 30-40 years ago and is not staying updated on modern techniques and materials, odds are – they will not have a very good perspective on all of your options.  Dentistry can differ like night and day depending on who offers it and what it can do for a particular patient. Over the last decade so many things got revolutionized in the field that not updating your dental knowledge in it should be simply shameful. Yet, don’t be fooled by the latest and the greatest. It is not what you should look for. Look for experience that can distinguish between substance and trends, knowledge of research of what is a fact and what is a myth. For a patient being picky is very important, as in our practice, for example, a significant portion of our work is redoing previous work that was done without sufficient diagnostics, planning and adequate expertise and quality standards.

In addition, don’t expect your insurance to pay for quality work. Sadly, insurances did not evolve much since the 80s and only pay for the cheapest solutions that are outdated, and often not the best and lasting option. In general they don’t pay for cosmetic work at all.

So if you are looking for cosmetic dental procedures of any kind – whitening, veneers, crowns, implants –  consult with a qualified doctor first. It is what you don’t know that can make your out-of-pocket investment go to waste. A good dentist will never do crowns and implants on someone with advanced gum disease or insufficient bone. A good dentist will never do a teeth whitening for you if you have significant sensitivity already. Crowns, bridges and tooth-colored fillings do not bleach. All that you will find out from your dentist, and only after you invest into adequate diagnostics, which insurance doesn’t pay for 100% either. But quality work is a great investment, as it can lasts longer than statistical averages and can truly change your life by giving you health, beautiful smile, confidence and shed years off your appearance! Smile makeovers do change lives every day!

Read the article from Angy’s List.

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Why Cosmetic Dentistry at Austin Smile Creations? It’ll Change Your Life.

The more I learn working for a Master Dentist at Austin Smile Creations in Westlake, TX, the more I see why cosmetic dentistry the way Dr. Gotun approaches it not only makes sense, but literally changes patients’ lives. And I mean literally. I’ve been a bit skeptical in the past about a smile actually changing a person’s life, but I’ve been lucky enough to see the transformation in person. Forget about the level of quality we provide at Austin Smile Creations for a second, cosmetically changing a patient’s smile automatically boosts their confidence and they often don’t even realize it.

At Austin Smile Creations we gauge this transformation by studying a patient’s body language. We are heavy on greeting every patient with a smile, so we notice when patients don’t smile and, yes, we take note of smiles, non-smiles and compensated smiles. This past week we started on the provisional crown phase for a patient, consisting of reconstructing his entire upper arch. Side note, this patient told us at the beginning of this transition he will be our hardest patient to convince that new teeth will make a difference in his life. By the way, we get a lot of these. Prior to creating cosmetic work of this magnitude for this patient, he rarely ever smiled. After we completed seating the provisional crowns, we had the patient come back to get feedback about functionality, aesthetics, and review post-op care instructions. This is all part of the provisional phase of treatment. We never complete the final phase of crowns without proper diagnostics, and provisional crowns allow for any changes. All so we can make sure we hit perfection for the final crown phase or as Dr. Gotun likes to say, we hit Bingo! Needless to say, when this patient walked through the door, he walked through the door with a smile. And we noticed. After all, we’re in the teeth business. I won’t go into all the other details about non-verbal changes the patient exhibited, but in three days the change was obvious and pretty significant.

In thirty years of cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Gotun can attest to how much cosmetic work changes patients’ self-esteem, gets them out of pain, and has a residual effect that ultimately emulates one concept: patients are all together happier. It’s why we love cosmetic, reconstructive, diagnostic dentistry. It not only inspires and motivates us, but we get to witness the quality of our service firsthand through patient satisfaction. We finish patients and we help them get healthy. And that is the biggest reward.