Done Right, Cosmetic Dentistry Offers Financial Rewards

In today’s visual generation of selfies and social media, people are increasingly cognizant of their smile. Cosmetic dentistry is the beneficiary to the tune of $2.75 billion spent each year. But before simply integrating cosmetic dentistry into your practice, understanding the aesthetics is critical. Continue below to learn more.

The state of cosmetic dentistry is thriving, based on survey results from The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

The most recent survey, conducted in 2015, indicates that 99 percent of respondents identified appearance as their number one concern, ranking it above cost, which was second at 88 percent. Where spending is concerned, 52 percent of practices indicated revenue for cosmetic dentistry procedures between $100,000 and $499,999. The two highest categories, $750,000 to more than $1 million, increased by four percentage points over the 2013 survey.

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So why the increased interest in cosmetic dentistry?

“We live in a generation, especially among young people, where it’s all social media driven,” says Kenneth Magid, D.D.S., F.I.C.D., director of Pre Doctoral Laser Dentistry, and associate clinical professor at NYU College of Dentistry. “Match.com did a study, and they found that the single most important attribute when somebody looks at a potential date is their smile.”

But the positive impact of a smile goes well beyond the dating scene.

ALL ABOUT IMAGE

Magid recalls a cosmetic makeover he performed on a patient a few years ago, and after, the patient said it was the single greatest business decision he had made. Prior to the surgery, when the patient, who was in sales and marketing, sat across the table from someone and neglected to smile because he did not like his teeth, it left an impression of being cold.

“You get no second chance to make a first impression,” Magid says.

Smiles say a great deal about a person, Magid adds. He believes that presidents George Bush and George Herbert Walker Bush looked weak because they never had a dynamic smile. During a job interview, individuals may be at a disadvantage if they do not have an attractive smile.

That disadvantage is not limited to young people trying to impress on social media. Magid explains that as people age, their teeth get worn, yellow and begin to wear unevenly, making them appear older.

“When you go on that job interview, if you look old, you don’t look as if you are with it,” he says. “And in our society, no matter what your age is, you’d better be with it.”

PRACTICE INTEGRATION

If you’re thinking of integrating cosmetic dentistry into your practice, your success could depend on how well you want to perform it. Magid says there are many practices that advertise cosmetic dentistry, yet have no extensive training in the field. What they lack is proper training in designing a case for cosmetic dentistry.

“I can teach a monkey to prep a veneer,” Magid says. “But the important stuff is in the design. It’s in understanding and planning the mathematics of a proper smile.”

Beauty, according to Magid, is a function of mathematics and balance. A beautiful face and smile can be described based on percentages and proportions. In other words, a beautiful smile is based on proportions of the face, teeth and display — a wide range of considerations.

“To do cosmetic dentistry properly takes education and planning,” Magid says. “We design the smile first. The patient gets to see the design before we ever touch a tooth. If you want to call yourself a cosmetic dentist, you can do it. But then you have to do something to show people this is your area of expertise.”

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Magid explains that the current generation of dental patients does not have the volume of cavities that dentists saw 20 years ago. As such, dentists want to do other things, and one of the areas they want to focus on, because it’s financially rewarding, is cosmetic dentistry.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry estimates that Americans spend about $2.75 billion each year on cosmetic dentistry. The American Dental Association indicates that a person’s smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature.

But wanting to do cosmetic dentistry and doing it the way cosmetics should be done, Magid says, are two different things. Too many dentists are taught how to prep a veneer and say they can do cosmetic dentistry.

“And what we end up with is ugly smiles,” Magid says.

He recommends dentists become members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and take training courses in aesthetics to understand how to design a smile.

“All the designing, all the understanding of the facial profile, of facial balance, and strong side versus weak side — all of that happens before you ever cut a tooth.”

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