Why Bother With Before and After Photos?
These days, many cosmetic dentists use advanced 3D imaging software to allow you to visualize the results of your procedure. These computer generated images are customized to show how your ideal smile might look. So, what’s the point of looking at before and after photos of previous patients? Doesn’t it make more sense just to look at the computer graphics of your own mouth during your consultation?
Actually, photos of other patients can tell you a lot about your cosmetic dentist and the procedure you are planning to undergo. Here are some things to look for:
Does the cosmetic dentist just focus on one procedure?
If a dentist’s portfolio only shows veneers and you really want a cosmetic crown, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. You should be able to view before and after photos of the specific type of procedure you are requesting for your own smile. This is especially important for less common treatments such as gum contouring. You don’t want to be the guinea pig for a cosmetic dentist to practice on!
Are the dentist’s hands as good as his eyes?
It takes a certain amount of artistic talent to reshape a smile to make it aesthetically pleasing using computer software during a patient consultation. But it takes a lot more skill to actually turn that image into reality in someone’s mouth. Real life before and after pictures let you gauge how well your dentist will perform when the rubber meets the road – not just how well they can manipulate pixels on a screen. Looking at pictures can also clue you in to how good the dentist is at matching colors for veneers and dental composite.
For pictures of whitening, when was the photo taken?
In-office whitening treatments like Zoom and Opalescence tend to deliver brilliant white results immediately after the procedure. However, it’s not uncommon for patients to lose several shades of whitening within a few weeks. A realistic result is one that shows the patient’s teeth after this rebound effect has occurred.
Do you see a cookie cutter smile in your future?
Ideally, your smile will be crafted to precisely match your personality and appearance. It should mesh well with your facial symmetry. However, some cosmetic dentists have their own perception of what makes a “perfect smile” – and that’s the smile all their patients end up with. You can easily spot this trend when you flip through a portfolio of before and after photos. Back away slowly and go find a cosmetic dentist who will give you a unique smile that suits you!