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Something to Smile About: The Pathway to Perfect Teeth

Something to Smile About: The Pathway to Perfect Teeth


A study published in USA Today reveals that 47% of people say the first thing they notice about a person is their smile. Are you happy to show yours? When we watch movies, the actors’ pearly whites glisten on the big screen. I’m going to let you in on their porcelain-covered secret– many celebrities rely on veneers to get their camera-worthy smile.

I caught up with Dr. Nihal Bicakci B.D.S., D.D.S. to learn more about finding the right dentist, the process of getting veneers, as well as a new minimally-invasive technique that will preserve more of your natural smile.

What Are Veneers?

First things first, let’s define veneers. Veneers are a layer of material placed over a tooth to cover problems with a person’s natural teeth. Porcelain is the most common, and most effective material in dentistry.

While many dentists market themselves as cosmetic dentists, cosmetic dentistry isn’t actually a recognized specialty of the ADA. General dentists can take a few specialty courses to perform cosmetic procedures– a process of six months to a year. Prosthodontics, on the other hand, is an ADA-recognized specialty earned through a 3-4 year course after receiving a degree in general dentistry.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Veneers?

People with mild-to-moderate cosmetic issues are a good fit for veneers. You’re a good fit if you experience:

  • Stains
  • Chips
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Gaps
  • Mild/moderate misalignment

Who Is NOT A Good Candidate For Veneers?

While veneers can fix a variety of issues, some people are not a good fit:

  • Heavy grinders
  • Those with severe misalignment

If you suffer from these issues, an orthodontist will need to fix your bite before you visit a prosthodontist to fix your smile.

What Can I Expect?

Dr. Nihal, a practicing dentist for 23+ years and a prosthodontist for 10+ years, shared her process with us:

1.Initial consultation

Dr. Nihal takes photos and videos, listens to the patient’s goals, sets realistic expectations and takes the first diagnostic models.

2. Impressions, wax-up, and silicone copy

A mock-up in wax shows the new shape of your teeth in 3D to envision your new smile. At this appointment, Dr. Nihal makes a recommendation for how many restorations/veneers are needed. Wondering what you can expect financially? Minimally-invasive veneers range from $2,000-3,000/tooth, while more invasive veneers range from $1,400-1,500/tooth.

At Dr. Nihal’s practice, Chicago Dental Solutions, she works with her husband, Dr. Hirat Bicakci to provide minimally invasive veneer solutions wherever possible in order to preserve as much of the natural tooth as possible. If crowding is minor or staining isn’t too deep or dark, they are able to shave .3-.8mm (as thick as a fingernail) to change the tooth shape and make them longer, shorter, whiter, and/or brighter.

3. Diagnostic mock-up (try on smile)

This 4-5 hour appointment (for 8-12 teeth) is the prep appointment, where temporary veneers are applied. This isn’t the end though! The temporary veneers can chip or come off.

4. Delivery

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In the final appointment, the veneers are cemented onto the tooth, excess material is removed, and the bite is checked.

Dangers Of Using An At-Home Service

Prosthodontics is a compendium of comprehensive exams, functional analysis, and facial analysis. When it comes to your smile, don’t negotiate on quality. At-home solutions can lead to TMJ problems and damage to natural teeth due to grinding or chewing.

What are alternative treatments to veneers for a better smile?

If finances are tight, but your smile needs an upgrade now, there’s another option for you! While porcelain veneers reflect light like enamel, tooth-colored bonding is an alternative choice.

How to find a reputable prosthodontist?

Ready to take the next step toward a better smile? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Share your concerns with your prosthodontist and ask “How can I fix or improve my smile?”
  • Check reviews, social media, and qualifications. Drs. Nihal and Hirant are two of only 3,000 prosthodontists in the US and are the only specialists trained to place, restore, and rehabilitate dental implants.
  • Consider whether your doctor is listening to your aesthetic and financial concerns.
  • Ask your doctor about their continuing education in the latest, minimally-invasive techniques.

For a camera-ready smile, veneers might be a great fit for you! Here in the Chicago area, Dr. Nihal has helped hundreds discover the internal confidence that comes from a perfect smile.

About The Writer

Brittany Kulick

Brittany Kulick is a freelance copywriter and the founder of The Sweet Wanderlust, a travel blog for people with a sweet tooth and a taste for adventure.

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