In this post, we will focus on something that happens occasionally when a patient requests cosmetic dentistry from a dentist like Kenneth Hovden DDS in Daly City.
Let me set the stage. The patient comes in for a consultation about a smile makeover. We’ll call him Mr. Jones. The dentist listens carefully as he explains the esthetic problems that he wants to remedy. Mr. Jones wants to fix two chipped teeth, get a dental implant for a tooth that is missing altogether, and whiten his whole smile. He describes what he envisions for his smile after undergoing treatment.
The dentist performs an examination of his entire mouth and takes x-rays. The dentist discovers some additional troubles. There are three teeth with moderate decay, one tooth with acute decay, gum disease, an old crown with a crack in it, and severe bone recession at the potential dental implant site where the tooth was extracted ten years ago.
The dentist explains that these issues need to be addressed before the smile redesign is performed. Mr. Jones says that the smile makeover is his first priority and plans to deal with the other problems sometime in the future.
How does the dentist advise Mr. Jones? The dentist will probably explain that the lasting success of a cosmetic dental procedure such as porcelain veneers, dental bonding, or tooth whitening is influenced by the condition of the mouth at the time of treatment. There must be a solid, healthy foundation, so to speak, on which to build the smile makeover.
First things first. It makes no sense to attach a veneer to a decayed tooth that may need a root canal. A dental implant may not integrate with the surrounding bone structure if placed at a site where there is bone recession. Tooth whitening will probably not produce favorable results where there is gum disease and exposed tooth roots.
Can Mr. Jones ever have his dream smile? Yes! There are treatments to correct all of the problems mentioned previously. But just like many other things in life, the order of operations is critical.