Listen or Read Dr. McKeever’s Monthly Podcast Interview!
Topic – Cosmetic Dentistry Can Restore Your Confidence and Raise Your IQ
Question 1: What does cosmetic dentistry have to do with your IQ?
RC: I’m going to jump right into this first question. I think what everyone is going to want to know is this. What does cosmetic dentistry have to do with your IQ?
Dr. Darren McKeever: That is kind of an industry inside joke in the dental world. No offense to anybody out there. No offense to Madonna, Lauren Hutton, Michael Strahan but unfortunately there is a perception sometimes that when people have a large gap between their front teeth that it may be something that goes along with lesser intelligence. I know that is prejudicial and not correct because all three of them are obviously successful and probably very smart people but it’s a little joke inside the dental world that when you close that gap, you’ve raised somebody’s IQ because of the perception that the gap has on people. That’s kind of where that comes from.
RC: Okay, got it.
Question 2: What dental procedures are considered “cosmetic dentistry”? What is the most common procedure your office performs?
RC: What are the dental procedures that are considered cosmetic dentistry? What is the most common procedure that your office performs?
Dr. Darren McKeever: In my office, we’re metal free. Not 100 percent but more often than not, the materials we use are materials that try and mimic the natural beauty of real teeth. Metal doesn’t do that. Silver fillings haven’t been a successful restoration in my opinion in many years. I stopped using them almost 20 years ago. We do a lot of porcelain restorations. We do a lot of all-porcelain crowns. We also do a lot of facial smile makeovers with porcelain-laminate veneers. Those are really the things that we think of as cosmetic procedures but they also have to be functional. Just to be putting porcelain on teeth to change shapes and to change a smile but you can’t eat for the rest of your life or you can bite into an apple seems like a major waste of time in my opinion.
Basically, I also like to use the term ‘aesthetic dentistry’ because ‘cosmetic’ sounds a little bit like makeup. When we try and rebuild a smile for somebody or rebuild function, we try and use materials so that if somebody is really going to be looking at them with a microscope, they’re going to have a hard time figuring out where the restoration ends and where the natural tooth begins.
Question 3: Can any of these procedures be done in one or two days if someone wants to quickly try to improve their smile?
RC: Can any of these procedures be done in one or two days if someone wants to quickly improve their smile?
Dr. Darren McKeever: You can definitely improve your smile in one visit depending on the materials that you’re going to elect. Bonding materials can be done in one visit. It’s a long visit because your basically creating a piece of art that someone is going to wear around for hopefully the rest of their life. In my opinion, a complete smile makeover, though, should not be done in just one day. Porcelain-laminate veneers are very, very durable, but they do have to be fabricated more often than not with a lot of technique and a lot of sensitivity to the final result. Usually when we do a porcelain-laminate veneer case, not only do we want them to look great, we want them to work great. In my opinion, if you don’t have a test drive period where you’re temporized for a little while to figure out whether or not the scheme that has been created for the smile is going to work for long term, you may be missing the boat and later you have things chip and break.
For simple procedures, individual teeth, individual bridges even, in my office we can do them in one visit. Sometimes it might take about two hours but you only have to get one injection for that time. You don’t have to have temporary for two or three weeks and you walk in with the situation as a problem. You walk out completed.
Question 4: With regard to braces, what are the different types people can choose from and why would older adults need or want them?
RC: That’s great. With regard to braces, what are the different types people can choose from? Why would older adults need or want them?
Dr. Darren McKeever: First and foremost in my opinion, next to a college education, orthodontics is absolutely the greatest gift any parent can give their children. Orthodontics isn’t just to establish a beautiful smile. By lining the teeth up properly, the teeth will mesh more correctly. You’ll minimize wear over the lifetime of that patient. And in addition, God in his or her infinite wisdom, when the teeth are lined up properly, they’re more cleansable. People who have properly lined up teeth, much less gum disease when they become adults.
There’s different styles of braces now. We’re seeing dramatic revolution in the Invisalign or ClearCorrect which look like a clear retainer that does move the tooth. In my opinion for complex orthodontia, the standard where the orthodontist puts the wire on the braces is definitely more effective. We even have one orthodontist in our area who has pretty much perfected the lingual braces which are the ones that go on the tongue side. When you smile, you never see the braces.
As to why it’s important for adults, unfortunately the tendency to have crowding or collapse in the arch of the teeth tends to progress as we all mature. That leads to difficulty in cleaning. It leads to increased wear which leads to breakage. A lot of times we recommend for adults, if you take care of that now, you may not have to have some restorations or even crowns later on.
Question 5: Do some insurance plans cover cosmetic dentistry or should patients expect to pay out of pocket?
RC: Interesting. My last question is do some insurance plans cover cosmetic dentistry or should patients expect to pay out of pocket?
Dr. Darren McKeever: If a procedure is labeled purely cosmetic, as in a smile makeover just for the sake of you want to change your smile, that usually is purely cosmetic and most insurance companies will not cover that at all. You do have to consider what might be to some people a pretty hefty out-of-pocket expense. More often than not though, if you’re just doing very aesthetic dentistry with aesthetic materials or some people would say cosmetic restorative materials, if it’s shown that there is a restorative need to put that tooth back into function, most insurance companies will cover that. There are a few that are still in my opinion very antiquated where they’ll tell somebody, “Well, a silver filling would work just as well there.” I disagree with that. The dental community as a whole is really starting to agree with me, but the insurance companies, they’re really a little bit behind the times on that so you may run into a little trouble. More often than not, if it’s a purely cosmetic issue, they’re probably not going to cover it.
RC: Okay, got it. Well, thank you so much Dr. McKeever. We know you’re extremely busy, so I just want to thank you for all of your time and help today.
Dr. Darren McKeever: Thank you Liz. That was a lot of fun.
RC: For our listeners across the country, if you are interested in speaking with Dr. Darren McKeever, you can either go online to www.McKeeverDentalCare.com or call 973-839-8180 to schedule an appointment.
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