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Tips for a Beautiful Smile by Scott W. Finlay DDS, FAGD, FAACD

According to a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 92% of adults feel that an attractive smile is a positive social asset, but unfortunately only 50% are actually happy with their own smile.  A key factor in processing a beautiful smile is recognizing that the appearance of your smile is only a reflection of its relative health. In other words, if your smile is healthy in form and function, then it will be esthetically pleasing.  If there are blemishes or developing irregularities, it is mostly likely the sign of some biological and health related reason why it is un-esthetic, and it’s time to seek the recommendations of your dentist.  Regular professional maintenance and interceptive intervention before concerns become problems is critical.  Here are some tips in achieving and maintaining a great looking smile:

• Regular dental checkups – By visiting the dentist at least on a bi-annual basis, many issues that cause the deterioration of your smile can be intercepted by a trained, tenured and experienced comprehensive care dental team.

• Orthodontics is just not for children – Alignment and position of your teeth have a lot to do with their appearance and reflection of light.  A broad smile, absent of rotations or overlapping teeth, is not only esthetic, but also easier to clean and the teeth receive forces in a way that they were designed to be the most durable.

• Professional Dental Whitening – Yes, over the counter whitening can be very effective, but if you truly want a white smile, seek the advice of your dentist.  Whether it is accomplished with an in office technique or with custom fabricated trays in a take home technique, your smile can appear whiter and cleaner with professional whitening.  At home maintenance with whitening toothpastes can help to maintenance that white smile between dental visits.

• Avoid staining agents – We can’t always avoid those dietary and beverage agents that stain the teeth, but it will help to insure a whiter smile.

• Proper home care – The importance of routine dental home care is essential not only to the appearance and health of your smile, but also your body as well.

• Smile Makeovers – If significant defects do exist in your smile, don’t worry, modern dentistry has potential solutions.  Many shortcomings can be restored with implants, veneers, crowns and bonding to rehabilitate a beautiful appearance.  Proper care can often require a significant investment, but is always worth the effort in hindsight.  The key element is to achieve these results in the most conservative way possible, while respecting the essential criteria related to healthy functional and biological design.  Treatment solely for esthetic reasons without consideration of these critical criteria can only result in unpredictable durability and require additional treatment due to the eventual failure of a short sited goal.  It is always best to have proper treatment completed the first time then it is to rescue treatment that was inappropriate.
Choosing a Cosmetic/Restorative Dentist

-Search for a cosmetic dentist in your area that has the talent and training who can accomplish your smile enhancement predictably.

-Visit their facility; does their décor and technology reflect the level of commitment to cosmetic dentistry that is appropriate for the treatment you want?

-Talk to the staff.  Are they courteous and polite?  Will they make you comfortable for the procedures you will have completed?

-Talk to the doctor.  Does he have the level of passion and enthusiasm to stay committed to your treatment goals?  Will he listen and understand what you want to accomplish?  What has he done to dedicate himself to continuing education in this field?

-Finally look at his work.  Does he have before and after photos of treatment he has actually completed that is similar to the treatment you are seeking?