Getting The Winning Grin: Top Ten InsiderTips

Today I’m at an anti-aging conference in Provo , Utah. There are many beautiful healthy people at this meeting. It reminded me that you don’t need to be a celebrity these days to have a beautiful smile. However, you should pick wisely in who helps you get those pearly whites that give you confidence.

Over the years, in my journey towards excellence as an esthetic dentist and educator, I have been mentored by many talented teachers. One of them is Dr. Gary Radz, of Denver, Colorado, who wrote a terrific article in 2007 for dentists about doing great veneers. He graciously has given me permission to share some of these ideas with our bloggers in a consumer focused manner.

  1.  Make sure the gums are symmetrical and not excessive–a gummy smile or one in which the tissue surrounding the teeth are not balanced will not be pleasant to look at.
  2.  Preview your smile with “lab waxup”-see a “blueprint” of your potential results in 3-D before treatment is started.
  3.  Be sure to have an experienced ceramist. Cosmetic dentistry is an art and a science that requires talents not only in beauty but understanding materials and bioengineering. That does not come cheap.
  4.  Look at the entire smile when setting goals–especially when it comes to whiteness. Be careful of not falling into a trap of treating too many or not enough teeth. The final result should be a smile that is consistently beautiful with no dull spots that are hard to do any touch up bleaching if needed.
  5.  Staining under cosmetic dentistry-often beautiful bonding or porcelain is plagued by a gradual increase in black or brown discoloration. While often this is caused by redecay ( or “microleakage” ), the stains can be related to drying agents used when the gums are irritated and/or bleeding. It’s important to not only keep your gums healthy by flossing regularly, but also that the dentist uses the correct astringents that don’t contain iron.
  6. Photography is critical to planning your new smile, as well as communicating to the ceramist or a surgeon, if necessary. Digital documentation helps everyone collaborate before and after your smile is created and eliminates many mistakes in achieving your goals.It never hurts to see the photography of the dentist. Are the photos of their own patients?
  7. Using 3 dimensional impressions throughout your treatment helps communicate information that is critical for ideal results. The seal around the edges of veneers, as well as, essential contours of the teeth and gums, should be done to”perfection”.
  8. Spending the time to communicate your goals and aspirations for your new smile. What are your concerns? What are the limitations that may require orthodontics or surgery? No excuses for skipping this step or not getting fully informed.
  9. A balanced and collaborative “triad” between you, the dentist, and a ceramist will create the best possible result. If there is no rapport, trust, and teamwork at the beginning or during treatment, there will be breakdown in communication,alot of unnecessary frustration, and wasted time/ money. Be sure that you have the “right team” from the start.
  10. Training and certifications assure you that your dentist has gotten the education and experience to help you. While weekend continuing education courses are great for staying current, the journey of becoming a thoroughly seasoned cosmetic dentist takes years and often is best done through a formalized credentialing program like the one taught at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Recently, we published an article that exemplifies our “Top Ten List”.

I hope the above information helps many people get the “winning grin” they have always wanted–with out having to have an “extreme re-makeover”. Use the list above as a checklist in your pursuit of a smile that brings you confidence ,comfort,and security for many years to come.

Keep smiling right,



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Posted in: Dentistry


  1. Dr. Flax,
    I’m honored that you not only took the time to read that article, but felt the information worthy enough to share with your patients and friends.
    Great smile reconstructions start with great communication with all involved parties!
    Dr. Gary Radz

    Comment by dr. gary radz on December 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm

  2. Dr. Flax has made great points to ensure that the patient is educated when they are deciding on cosmetic dentistry. All too often dentists do not know what they do not know and use materials that do not give the best esthetic results or are not trained with evaluating at the entire face and person which is essential when planning a smile design. Great points Dr. Flax, keep up the good work in educating all of us! Helaine Smith, DMD

    Comment by Helaine Smith, DMD on December 20, 2009 at 11:48 am

  3. @dr. gary radz

    Your article was right on target for educating dentists.
    The consumer deserves the same information to maintain a level of trust and partnership.

    Thanks again


    Comment by Dr.Flax on December 31, 2009 at 12:22 pm

  4. @Helaine Smith, DMD

    Thank you. The training programs available at events like the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry meetings demonstrate many of the issues I’ve raised. Great knowledge and experience, as well as, an attitude of compassion, are the best solutions to many dental problems that people face.

    Best regards


    Comment by Dr.Flax on December 31, 2009 at 12:35 pm

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