In this podcast, Dr. Nammy Patel explores the benefits of cosmetic dentistry. She explains what while it helps you create a beautiful smile, it also benefits your mental and physical health.
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, and author of the best-selling books, Age With Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile & Healthy Living, and Total Wellness: Understanding the Link Between Your Teeth and Your Health.
Today, our topic is the benefits of cosmetic dentistry and how it can improve your smile and confidence. Welcome, Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Thank you for having me, John.
Common Misconceptions About Cosmetic Dentistry
John: Sure. So doctor, what are some common misconceptions about cosmetic dentistry and how can patients overcome them to achieve their desired results?
Dr. Nammy: The most common misconceptions I see in patients or hear about and experience the majority of the time is that patients feel like cosmetic dentistry means that they have to have a Chiclet white, bright horse-like teeth like they have on TV. Also, they have to do 16 teeth or their full mouth all at once. That’s typically the misconception that I hear about cosmetic dentistry.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Builds Confidence
John: Okay. How can cosmetic dentistry improve not only a patient’s smile, but also their overall confidence and self-esteem?
Dr. Nammy: For me, let me start by answering this question with some background. When I think of cosmetic dentistry as a dentist, I think of how can I improve somebody’s smile so that they can feel more confident and have more self-esteem? It definitely does not equal 16 horse-like teeth or super bright white teeth. What it actually looks like is how will people feel confident in their own smile?
Sometimes I have patients who like a gap in between their front teeth because it’s part of their personality and they just want their teeth to be a little brighter, or perhaps their teeth are uneven, so one tooth is longer than the other and they just want things to be even. Those are things that we can fix easily and that is considered cosmetic dentistry, and it allows them to feel really, really, really good about who they are. Their confidence is really boosting, their self-esteem is really boosting, and it makes them proud of how they look.
Looking good is really important because it’s a reflection of us. When we look in the mirror, we want to feel good about ourselves. And especially when it comes to cosmetics and the beauty of the mouth, it’s really important because we show most… just it’s our love language. Our mouth is our love language. We obviously kiss people because we love them. We smile at people when we like them. That’s how they know. If we smile at them, they know that there is a level of comfort, there’s a level of connection that’s actually occurring.
So the smile is really important, and having something or having a smile that you’re really proud of is really important and it actually boosts confidence, self-esteem. A lot of studies have been done and they found that people who had brighter, whiter teeth that they were proud of, or the personalities, or teeth that they were really proud of, they actually made 25% more in income because they were very confident in how they looked.
Case Study on the Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
John: Wow. Do you have any other personal stories from patients of yours that have gone through some cosmetic procedures and then come out on the other side feeling more confident?
Dr. Nammy: Oh my gosh. I have this on a regular basis. Just a few weeks ago I had, I’m going to call her Jane, and she came in and she had these yellow tetracycline stained teeth that she was really struggling with, and now… She’s had kids, so she focused on the kids and so it wasn’t really her time. She’s in her mid-40s now and it’s like, “I’m an empty nester now. I feel like it’s time to take care of myself and I really want to smile. I really want to focus on myself.”
She came in, we did a few veneers and she is very delighted, so happy, just glowing with joy and smiling, vacationing, just really enjoying herself, which is really important. I share that because that’s my most recent experience. I’ve had patients that have come in and we’ve done just really simple things like a chipped tooth. It doesn’t mean it needs a veneer. It’s a small little chipped tooth, we just even it out and they go out of this office smiling. They’re just standing upright, just a big old smile on their face with gratitude and love and joy, and it’s just so wonderful to see things like that as well.
Most Popular Procedures
John: Sure. What are some of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures and how do they differ in terms of the results that they provide? You mentioned veneers and fixing chipped teeth. Are there other types of procedures as well?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely. The most common one is bleaching. Most patients like to have a brighter smile. We drink coffee, have red wine, drink beet juice or celery juice, whatever we want to call it, all these things that stain our teeth. For me it would be turmeric, because I’m Indian, and so all of these things stain our teeth. So the easiest one and the most common one we see is bleaching the teeth.
It’s a laser whitening process. Takes about two hours or so. You go about eight to 10 shades lighter in day one, and it feels really good because it gives you that lift. It’s like getting a haircut. You feel really good just taking away the excess and just making that mouth brighter and more beautiful. That’s the most common, popular cosmetic dental procedure that we do in our practice.
The second is also actually adding back gum tissue. So sometimes when patients are older, what happens is they have receded gum line, and that happens with age. We’re actually able to do a procedure, it’s called a gum lift. So what we can actually do is add gum tissue in about an hour to two hours, and it’s natural gum tissue on top of that without sutures or scalpels and things like that, and it naturally brings back gum tissue, which is really great.
The other thing we use is also lasers. A lot of times when we do our gum cleans with lasers, the lasers actually naturally tighten up the gum tissues and whiten up the teeth. So patients are very, very, very happy about that, and that’s different from whitening. This is actually working on the teeth and gums. The first procedure when I talked about the lightening only works on the teeth. This one works on the teeth and gums altogether, which makes a smile beautiful and healthy and bright, which is a lot of fun.
Then there’s common veneers that patients have, or sometimes if there are small chips we can do something called the enameloplasty, which means round off the edges, change the positioning of the teeth, so they may look longer and more even. So it gives the illusion that you actually had a lot of work done, but you just really took off a sharp edge or just rounded an area down a little bit more.
How Lasers Improve Outcomes
John: You mentioned using lasers. How else have advancements in cosmetic dentistry technology and techniques improved patient outcomes and experiences?
Dr. Nammy: Wow. So much has happened with cosmetic dentistry in the last, oh gosh, 15, 20 years. It used to be a long, lengthy process, and we have now been able to… Of course, simple things like bleaching, we can do the same day, of course, enameloplasty, we can do same day, again, with the gum and the teeth laser. We can get those things done in about an hour to two hours at most.
When it comes to veneers and crowns, we’re actually able to plan things out so much more beautifully. The color, the products have changed and evolved so much when it comes to veneers or crowns. The products are so great and so lifelike that you can’t even tell that they’re actually veneers or crowns. Contrary, like of course, when I said earlier on TV, sometimes you see these really too bright, too white, horsey, blocky teeth, cosmetic dentistry evolved so much now that we have a lot of natural lifelike teeth, you can’t even tell that somebody has veneers.
Advice for People Considering Cosmetic Dentistry
John: What advice would you give to someone who is considering cosmetic dentistry, but they might be hesitant, whether it’s due to cost or even fear of pain or discomfort?
Dr. Nammy: I feel like if you are concerned about cosmetic dentistry or even considering it, the best thing to do is come talk to us, because let’s actually figure out what is it that you need? Because sometimes patients think it’s going to cost $20,000 when it’s only $300, or it might be $1,000, or what have you. So getting that data is really key.
Also, sometimes there’s alternatives. So for example, you don’t have to get the 16 or 30 veneers. You can maybe just start off by bleaching your teeth and maybe rounding a few edges off. Then if you want it in the future, you could do the veneers or whatnot. So there’s a gradient with all of this, and I’m going to use an example for women.
I feel like sometimes women are always like, “I want to do a liposuction,” but they may not necessarily need that. Maybe start the diet and exercise first. If that doesn’t work, maybe some CoolSculpting, tongue twister there, to try that first, and if needed, then you could go towards the lipo if you want it. But just making sure that you’re not taking drastic measures in the beginning. There are options that are far more, let’s see, I would say they’re time efficient, cost-efficient, and more comfortable. There are ways to do things in a very comfortable way. So we can address any concern that you may have.
Contact Us About Cosmetic Dentistry
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: You’re welcome.
John: For more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com, or call 415-433-0119.