Holistic cosmetic dentistry handles all types of cosmetic issues, from chips to teeth whitening, and veneers. Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry, discusses the types of cosmetic dentistry she offers. Listen or read more to find out about holistic cosmetic dentistry.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. 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. Today, our topic is holistic cosmetic dentistry. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.

Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John, how are you?

John: Good, thanks. So, Dr. Nammy, what drives people to seek out a cosmetic dentist?

Dr. Nammy:  Majority of the time, patients are seeking out a cosmetic dentist because they’re looking for change. Either they are not feeling good about themselves or they’re wanting to enhance a specific feature about their teeth.

The easiest one is patients come in all the time, “I want to whiten my teeth. I want them to look brighter.” We’re in a society that’s based on beautiful teeth. We turn on our TV, and everyone has beautiful, white smiles. And especially in this day of social media, everyone has perfect teeth, and everyone’s looking good and smiling and taking the selfies. So that’s a number one reason why patients come in for cosmetic dentistry.

Holistic Teeth Whitening

John: And how is it that a dentist can help with teeth whitening? What are some options from a holistic point of view that people can use to get their teeth whiter?

Dr. Nammy:  The first step that I usually recommend for patients to whiten their teeth is to come in for a cleaning. If their teeth have not been cleaned in a while, it’s probably got a lot of coffee stains on it. So, the most natural and the best thing to do is come in for our cleaning. And that’s where we usually start.

And, at that time, we can actually assess if their teeth are crooked or if they need veneers or whatever they need. We try to make their teeth look good by being minimally invasive, which means that if somebody had crooked teeth, instead of slopping on 12 veneers, we actually would advise them to straighten their teeth. It’ll take a little bit longer, but they’ll be much happier with the results because it’ll be longer-lasting.

Otherwise, if somebody had a chip on their tooth, we can fix it easily with some composites. So, we really assess what the real problem is and how can we help them look better.

Cosmetic Dentistry Options

John: And what are some of the procedures that fall under that umbrella of cosmetic dentistry? You mentioned veneers. You mentioned composite things to fix chips in the teeth, obviously the teeth whitening. What else?

Dr. Nammy:  There are so many things that fall under this category or this umbrella. We have something called enameloplasty where we just reshape some of the teeth, especially if it’s minor chips or anything along those lines. It could involve straightening. It could involve crowns. It could involve no-prep veneers.

So, what that means is that we’re really not taking away tooth structure. We’re just putting an additional, almost like a press-on-nail, on top of the teeth, so that way we can help patients look better without taking away tooth structure.

So, it can involve a number of things, or sometimes the cosmetic dentistry just means a good scrubbing. So maybe a good, deep cleaning with laser is going to get their teeth looking good.

John: And how can cosmetic procedures be holistic? Are you looking at the patient’s overall health when really the procedure that you’re doing is more on the cosmetic side?

Dr. Nammy:  Absolutely. We always look at the whole-body health, number one. For example, if somebody is a clencher/ grinder, we definitely do not put veneers on them. They will break. It just wouldn’t even last.

Or if someone has acid reflux, we want to make sure that if we do . . . for crowns on them, that we would help protect that with something that they can wear at night that has re-mineralizing agents on it, so that way they can look good and keep looking good for a very long time.

Cosmetic Dentistry is Highly Personalized

John: So, what is it that you think that the overall thing is with cosmetic dentistry? Is it just to try to make people feel really good about themselves and feel like their best self?

Dr. Nammy:  Yes, it absolutely is, to feel like their best selves. And, also, we tend to criticize ourselves the most. And, so, getting to ourselves to be happy with our smile, because our smile is so important. It’s our love language. We kiss people. We give somebody a smile when we meet them. It’s a gesture of hello, of friendliness. It’s our self-esteem. So, a smile is really important.

So, the idea behind cosmetic dentistry is to feel really good about our smile and like it in a way. And if there’s any procedures that need to get done, they are making sure that they’re least invasive, and that’s really our ultimate goal, is to be minimally invasive.

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

Dr. Nammy:  My pleasure, John.

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