Healthy Smiles By Rita Tempel, DDS – This article was published in the Gettysburg Times, June 17, 2021
How many of us missed seeing the smiles under our masks for the past year?
Last month, I wrote about patients with “mask mouth,” and this month many of us are taking our masks off—and both situations involve our dental health.
While many of us are cheering this momentous occasion, and ready to lose the mask, others are cringing. Why? Here’s what I’m hearing from patients.
- Now that masks are no longer required in many locales, many patients are realizing they are “behind” on their dental cleanings. Safe, dentist-administered teeth whitening can give many patients a mental boost!
- I’ve also been seeing patients who—amid an increase in Zoom and other virtual meetings—want to address issues with their smiles, to touch up their appearance.
- As a result of these scenarios, my practice is seeing an increase in patients requesting elective services.
So today’s column is designed as a “how to” guide, filled with dental advice as we navigate this next chapter in our pandemic journey.
First, I encourage everyone to make a dental appointment now, rather than later, if you’ve been holding off through the pandemic. Regular dental checkups are recommended every six months. Many dentists are seeing patients with dental health issues that can still be successfully treated and addressed.
Second, in terms of cosmetic dentistry, I want to recommend a fantastic resource: YourSmileBecomesYou.com is a website developed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
What is the AACD? This organization is the world’s largest international dental organization! With about 4,000 members in more than 80 countries, it is dedicated to advancing excellence in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.
Why am I telling you this? I truly believe that learning never ends. That’s why I’m a 15-year member of the AACD. In 2020, I became an Accredited Member of the AACD, which means that I completed the world’s most recognized advanced cosmetic dentistry credentialing program. It’s a rigorous process, but I truly believe in giving my patients “my best.”
So here are three pieces of advice for anyone thinking about cosmetic dentistry—whitening, straightening, and other smile-enhancing procedures:
- Do your research. Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, so any dentist can call himself or herself a “cosmetic dentist.” But I highly recommend that you take time to research and choose an AACD-credentialed dentist for cosmetic procedures, so that you can feel confident about your future smile. You can use the “Find a Dentist” feature on YourSmileBecomesYou.com.
- Ask for before-and-after photos of past patients. “Just as an artist would showcase masterpieces in a gallery, a skilled cosmetic dentist will show off their best work. Ask to see examples of cosmetic dental work. Many dentists also post before-and-after photos in online Smile Galleries. Be aware that retouched photos and stock before-and-afters do exist,” advises the AACD.
- Ask questions. Make sure your dentist addresses your questions and that you feel comfortable before you move forward with any cosmetic dentistry. Again, as a resource, there is free advice on 13 different areas of cosmetic dentistry on YourSmileBecomesYou.com. Those 13 areas include dental implants, dentures, direct bonding, implants vs. bridges, implants vs. dentures, orthodontics and aligners, periodontal plastic surgery, porcelain crowns, porcelain fixed bridges, porcelain veneers, repairing chipped teeth, teeth whitening, and tooth-colored fillings. This is all valuable information from the most trusted source in worldwide dentistry.
I wish all area residents the very best in dental health and overall health! Let’s all prepare to share our smiles.
Dr. Rita Tempel is an Accredited Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and owner of Gettysburg Smiles Cosmetic & Family Dentistry as well as a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and owner of Sweet Dreams Gettysburg, 2018 York Road, Gettysburg. For more information, see GettysburgSmiles.com, follow @ritatempeldds on Instagram, or like her Facebook page @Gettysburgsmiles or call 717-339-0033.