A smile makeover can help improve a person's overall appearance and self-confidence. However, modern cosmetic dentistry offers patients so many cosmetic dentistry options that the process can sometimes be intimidating. The initial consultation is the patient's chance to explain what the goal for the makeover is, find out what procedures are available, get questions answered and plan out a treatment schedule and budget.
What to expect during the initial consultation
The initial consultation is a multi-step process that usually begins with a conversation between the patient and the dentist about the patient's goals for treatment and the available dental procedures. The dentist will explain how changing the size, shape and position of the teeth can achieve the desired outcome.
Questions the patient should ask
The consultation is a good time to address any questions or concerns an individual has about the upcoming smile makeover. Patients should ask the dentist about these topics:
- Recommended procedures
- Expected cost
- Length of time to see results
- Length of treatment
- Expected recovery
The dental exam
If the patient elects to continue with the smile makeover, the next step after the initial conversation is a comprehensive dental exam. This exam may be performed at the same time as the initial consultation or scheduled for a later date. The dentist will assess the overall health of the patient's teeth and gums, existing dental work and any issues that need to be corrected, as well as take any necessary X-rays and impressions of the teeth and mouth.
At this point, the dentist may be able to recommend a treatment plan; however, for more complex cases, the dentist may need to review the information gathered before making recommendations. Once the dentist has completed the assessment, a full discussion of the types of treatments available to the patient can be had. Common procedures include teeth whitening, dental veneers, composite bonding, tooth implants, white fillings and braces or aligners.
Creating the treatment plan
After the treatment options have been explained to the patient, a coordinator will discuss the costs of the various procedures. The coordinator will also help the individual getting the smile makeover plan out a schedule for the various procedures to be performed and provide a treatment plan to take home to review before scheduling the first appointment. Most cosmetic dental procedures are not covered by insurance; however, financing is often available.
By the time the initial consultation is complete, the patient should know how many appointments will need to be scheduled to complete the smile makeover, how far apart those appointments will need to be scheduled and the total estimated cost of treatment. With this information in hand, if the patient decides to move forward, the initial appointment can be scheduled.
Many people may find the prospect of having a smile makeover both exciting and confusing. The initial consultation serves to provide the potential patient with all the information needed to choose a treatment plan that accomplishes their goals, while also fitting their schedule and budget.
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