The Post-Cosmetic Dentistry Advice factor
The decision by your patient to get aesthetic dentistry is, quite often, a difficult one to make. It demonstrates faith in you, their practitioner, as well as committing to a substantial financial cost for the procedure.
This should engender in the aesthetic dental practitioner the commitment to advising the patient of the proper after-care process. It is imperative to the whole restorative process that the patient clearly understand what they need to do to ensure the cosmetic work has a long life.
A simple, but oft overlooked precaution is to advise the patient to be gentle with brushing and flossing. Quite often, as we in the dental profession are aware, dental cement remains in the mouth. If a temporary prosthetic had been used, there is the possibility that tissue may be inflamed. The patient needs to be reassured that these are a normal part of the process and that with healing of the gum tissue the inflammation and discomfort will disappear.
The Healing process
The patient should be advised that to help the healing process they should only use a toothbrush with soft bristles, and always to brush gently at the gum line. They should be told that if they use a stiff-bristled toothbrush, or brush too hard, they actually may brush away gum tissue that is not attached to the tooth, thereby exposing the root. As a result of following these simple advisories, they will be able to anticipate longevity of the veneer, crown, or whatever procedure was performed.
The patient should understand that the placing of veneers to hide discoloured areas, for example, may also cover areas that have experienced gum recession. They should be told, again, not to brush too hard immediately following the procedure as this most likely make obvious the difference between the regular tooth structure and the crown, bridge, and et cetera.
When flossing, they should be told, to also be gentle and to only use an up-and-down motion. It is important that they be aware not to pull the floss through the teeth. Doing so, they should understand, may damage the tissue in between the tooth and cause what is called a flat triangle. This latter expression must also be clearly explained to the patient as being the papilla, that triangular tissue at the base of and between the teeth. Flossing between the teeth and regularly pulling floss through, especially with cosmetic crowns and veneers, they should be told, may cause the gum to not heal properly, as well as the possibility that they could pull the papilla out. A description of the resulting loss of papilla —causing a hole or a black triangle that will look like a gap when they smile— should be more than sufficient to serve as a reminder for the patient to follow these directions.
Another oft neglected or little spoken of necessity for a successful outcome is diet. It should be part of the practitioner’s regular post-procedure recommendations that the patients follow a soft diet regimen. This would avoid such practices as their eating hard candies or chewing ice or anything, in fact, which could chip the new dental work. The patient should also be advised to refrain drinking anything that could stain the teeth; red wine, coffee or cola drinks, for example.
Patient discomfort and dissatisfaction can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, merely by the practitioner making this simple advisory a routine part of the post-procedure protocol.
If you have any questions, we’re available on our social media outlets: