Cosmetic Options for the Young Dentition

For the young dentition, conservative treatments such as teeth whitening and bondings are great options to help enhance a smile. In the case below the patient spent sometime whitening his teeth with the take-home kit we prescribed. After the teeth have lightened up to a shade where the patient was happy with, we used resin filling materials of various shades to bond to his front teeth. Chips and gaps can easily be filled in without any removal of tooth structure.

The “After” smile looks beautiful in person, and at conversational distance it is near impossible to detect where the bondings were placed.

Click on the photos below to see the transition.

Smile Make Over for Men

Some of the fun artistic cases for me involve changing the smiles for men.  In the case below we used a combination of gum contour, resin bonding on the canines, porcelain veneers on the lateral incisors, and porcelain crowns on the central incisors to change the patient's smile. We replicated details like the patient's natural shade transition and the surface characteristics to make the restorations look as natural as possible.  When we try to achieve a natural look, length, shape, contour, are also intentionally made slightly imperfect because in the natural dentition perfect symmetry among the teeth rarely exists.


Actual patient images of Alex Nguyen, DDS are copyrighted and digitally embedded to prevent unauthorized use.

Judging Teeth with Cell Phone Pictures of Teeth

Two days ago I received an email from a patient's father with a picture of his son's tooth.  The message was : "I am sending you photos of my son's tooth (bottom left). It seems there's a small piece of something growing out. I will call your office tomorrow to make an appointment." I looked at the photo of what seems to be a gum laceration around a molar tooth.  The quality of the picture did not clearly depict whether that tooth was a baby tooth or a permanent tooth.  Hence, my suggestion to the father was to observe the area and see how it does in a couple of days.

This morning I received an update email from the patient's father.  "My son wiggled the tooth, and it came out."  Attached to the email was a photo of a baby tooth that has exfoliated on its own.  We both laughed and joked at the quality photography that was sent to me for a diagnosis, but the moral of the story was :  We cannot diagnose a dental issue with a cell phone picture.

As a restorative dentist, I have received multiple photos from patients asking me to judge their smile and their teeth.  Cell phone photos just do not have the proper focus and magnification for a proper assessment.  When a photo of a smile is taken using a cell phone, any slight inclination of the phone in any direction will distort the shape of the teeth and the lips.  Furthermore, proper assessments of the details of teeth require high quality macro-photography with proper illumination with a high quality flash system.


Sample Smiles Restored by Alex Nguyen, DDS  


Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry.  For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.