Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, and author of the bestselling book, Age With Style— A Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living , discusses cosmetic dentistry.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health. And author of the bestselling book, Age With Style – A Guide To A Youthful Smile And Healthy Living. Today our topic is cosmetic dentistry. Welcome Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy: Hi John. Thank you for having me here.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

John: Sure. So, Dr. Nammy, what is cosmetic dentistry?

Dr. Nammy: Cosmetic dentistry means anything that you do to make your teeth look better. So it could be as easy as an at-home whitening system, or it can be as complex as a full set of veneers, where you’re changing this size, the shape, or the color of your teeth.

John: Okay, and what are some of the benefits of getting cosmetic dentistry work done?

Dr. Nammy: Cosmetic dentistry work is really anything that makes you feel better. Our mouth is something that is so important. We show our affection with it, it’s our self-confidence, so anytime we brighten a smile, it makes us feel better, so that’s considered cosmetic dentistry. A lot of times people have yellow teeth if they’ve had antibiotics when they were children, or sometimes even asthma inhalers or even age, it makes the teeth go yellow. And we also want to change the size or the shape of the teeth, so we’ll do something like veneers and it’ll uplift the smile and make it brighter, making it look better, youthful, more attractive, and it really gives us that confidence and that boost that we’re really looking for.

John: Yeah, we just want to look nice so that it encourages us to open our mouth and smile and be happy, rather than hiding our mouth whenever we open it.

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. And especially today, we’re in a society where there are so many selfies and a world of social media, while it matters how we look and to a certain degree, our smile is the number one thing that people recognize, and it’s important to invest into our smile so we feel good about ourselves, so we can project who we really are on the inside.

What is a Smile Design?

John: Right, good point. So what is a smile design and how do you plan what steps that you need to take in order to help me achieve my desired smile?

Dr. Nammy: A smile design is when we design a full smile, we also look at the lips, the facial structures, and things of that nature. The first step would be that we would sit down and look at what is it that you’re looking for? Is it that you want your smile to be or your teeth to look longer, your lips to look fuller, and we can achieve that by doing mock-ups of the teeth. You can actually try them on, and then you will actually go ahead and go through the procedure itself. So it’s actually a design, kind of like we design a house. We want to see, where do we want the bathroom to be? Where do we want the kitchen to be? What kind of appliances do we want to have?

The same concept applies to smile design, where we actually design your smile. Do you want teeth that are super white? Or do you want teeth that are rounded? Do you want teeth that are a little bit more square? And so we can look at all of that and find teeth that actually make you very happy and make you feel really radiant.

John: Is there any way to help somebody visualize what their smile might look like when you’re done?

Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. And that’s one of the things that we do is, during the smile design process, we actually look at what you’re wanting. And once we do the preparation, we actually give you some temporaries that you actually try on or a mock-up and you take it for a test drive and see what you like and what you don’t like. If you want one tooth to be shorter than the other, if you want one to have to be longer than the other, and then also make sure that we are following form and function. So, making sure that your teeth are not colliding so they don’t chip or break, you have these beautiful crowns or veneers that last you a lifetime.

John: Okay. And are there any limits to what problems you can fix with cosmetic dentistry?

Dr. Nammy: With cosmetic dentistry, because it means anything that we do to upgrade the smile or make it better, there are some limitations. If a person doesn’t have enough bone, or if there has been a tooth that’s been gone for a long time, we may have to look at more complex procedures like an All-On-4, where implants are placed and we still get the right result that we’re looking for, which is a beautiful smile, it just involves a couple more steps.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dr. Nammy: My pleasure, John, anytime.

John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 578-9347.