Digital Smile Design: The Process, Benefits, and Costs
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Table of Contents
- The Process
- Aesthetic Dentistry vs Digital Smile Design
- Who Is a Candidate?
- Frequently Asked Questions
People usually know how they want their smile to look after they have gone through a dental procedure. The outcome and treatment to repair their smile should meet those expectations. If doesn't, the procedure is irreversible or too expensive to fix. Either way, a poor result leaves a disappointed and sometimes angry patient.
One tool to enhance the chances of success is Digital Smile Design (DSD), a cosmetic procedure that dentists and orthodontists to design and change a patient's smile digitally before the dental procedure starts. The technology gives the patient a way to visualize what their smile will look like after the procedure, leaving no surprises.
The Process of DSD
The first step in a DSD procedure is to find a dentist who will provide the service. If your dentist does not perform this procedure, the dental office should be able to refer you to a colleague or to another practice that does.
The process of DSD goes like this:
- Preliminary consultation
- Data gathering
Digital Smile Design Simulation
Review with Patient
The DSD Procedure
Benefits of DSD Treatment
One of the best advantages of Digital Smile Design is how interactive the process is with patients. With the use of the latest technology, the procedure is enhanced and explained so the patient sees and understands how the process will improve how they look.
- Motivation: When patients understand the process and can view ahead of time the possible (or likely) outcomes, much of their fear and anxiety about the procedure disappears. Absent fear, patients are more motivated to request treatment.
- Predictability: Knowing ahead of the procedure what the outcome is makes the surgery more predictable. DSD serves as a blueprint for the dentist to follow and provides a predictable result.
- Collaboration between patients and dentists: Dentists and their patients work together in collaboration to create a new smile. This process prevents misunderstandings and disappointments for patients. It also lets the dentist know exactly what to expect and how to complete the procedure.
Difference Between Typical Aesthetic Dentistry and Digital Smile Design
Insurance companies consider Digital Smile Design a cosmetic dental procedure. It should make your smile look better, but it is not medically necessary.
Typical aesthetic dentistry will fix some problems, such as broken or missing teeth. Aesthetic procedures are intended to improve looks as well, but this dental process also addresses the functional use of teeth.
Aesthetic dentistry is free of complimentary decoration, covers treatments that are durable and permanent, and are in harmony to produce full function of the teeth and mouth. Cosmetic dentistry will embrace some of these principles, but not all.
In some dentists' view, aesthetic dentistry is a more complete application than the procedures done in cosmetic dentistry.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Digital Smile Design?
One advantage of the DSD treatment is that almost every patient is a suitable candidate for it. When using high-quality digital videos and photos, dentists can understand the relationship between their patient's teeth, gums and lips. After a consultation and discussion about what is requested, the dentist can determine if the requested outcome is possible.
To be eligible for Digital Smile Design, candidates should first:
- Address any tooth decay or gum disease issues. The early process might involve LANAP surgery.
- Resolve any issues such as clenching or grinding of teeth. Either of these habits can shorten the life span of a new smile.
- Ensure there is sufficient tooth enamel for veneers. You may also need have a whitening procedure done on your teeth.
- Ensure they have no acute dental issues. Patients should have solid oral health and follow suggested oral hygiene habits.
What Does Digital Design Cost?
DSD procedures can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000—and in some cases more. The cost depends on where you go and which services you elect. If you receive a full mouth of implants and plastic surgery on your lips, this service would cost more than veneers.
How much does a DSD cost?
What is a digital smile?
What is a digital smile makeover?
Digital Smile Design: An innovative tool in aesthetic dentistry. (April 2020). Journal of Oral Biology and Craniofacial Research.
Benefits of Digital Smile Design (DSD) in the conception of a complex orthodontic treatment plan: A case report- proof of concept. (July 2019). International Orthodontics.
The Use of the Digital Smile Design Concept as an Auxiliary Tool in Aesthetic Rehabilitation: A Case Report. (February 2016). The Open Dentistry Journal.
Cosmetic or esthetic dentistry? (May 1999). Quintessence International.
Digital Smile Design Dentistry: Cost, Centers, and Eligibility. (October 2021). Dentaly.org.