When you reach the age where you start thinking about retirement, you may think about the relaxation and extra time for travel, spending time with family and pursuing favorite hobbies. One thing you're probably not thinking about is dental care -- and how a lifetime of dental care, likely with different dentists, may have left you with mismatched teeth and an imperfect bite.
Many of Dr. Norman’s adult patients visit her practice looking for full mouth and smile reconstruction. Patients looking for these services often do so in hopes of addressing all of their dental needs in one fell swoop or want to update the aesthetic appearance of their smile.
Patients receive a thorough examination, in which Dr. Norman examines the health of the teeth, gums and look at the current state of any restorations. Dental materials and techniques change over time, and as a result, patients end up with mismatched look – with different colored crowns, restorations, and they may have a mix of metal and ceramic fillings. In many cases, this situation also often means that the patient’s bite is misaligned, causing them to hold their jaw in an unnatural position, and feel as if their bite doesn’t have a "home" or natural resting spot.
After Dr. Norman examines the patient, she spends time with them during a consultation to find out their goals for treatment. For example, some patients may be close to retirement and hope to have their teeth brought to good health, in order to reduce expenses later on when no longer working. Still, others hope to have their smile updated, or even want to have their smile restored to one of their youth and have a specific picture or image in mind for Dr. Norman to use as a guideline.
Once a clear vision of the patient's needs and goals is established, Dr. Norman begins work toward that end by first finding the optimal height of the patient’s bite and aligning the mouth to that height. Many patients find that this alone turns back the hands of time, making them look and feel younger.
In most cases, Dr. Norman has been able to address all of the patient’s dental needs in just a few visits. This is in contrast to the approach most dentists take where they treat a patient one tooth at a time versus treating the whole mouth. By using a whole mouth treatment approach, the patient saves both time and money. Once the patient’s needs are treated, aesthetic adjustments, like whitening, are made, and subsequent checkups are for cleanings and maintenance. Patients rest easy knowing that major work is complete, which definitely makes them smile!
Cosmetic dentistry is a term that has changed its meaning over the years. For example, Dr. Norman remembers the 1990s, when cosmetic dentistry meant veneers. It also meant making sure that every tooth was straight, flat, and paper white! Now, cosmetic dentistry means something different for each patient - and to Dr. Norman.
For Dr. Norman, cosmetic dentistry now means smile restorations – a treatment that she takes very seriously. In fact, when a patient asks her to do their smile restoration, she feels as if they are commissioning her to create a work of art in porcelain!