What often stops patients from getting the right cosmetic dental treatment?

Barriers to getting a beautiful smile: financial perceptions

A large barrier to many people seriously considering the possibility of getting a beautiful smile through a cosmetic smile correction is the perception of affordability.

The fact is that depending on the requirements there is a massive range of fees and, very often, there are a number of options, at different fee levels available for the same condition.

The photographs show two case studies,  possibly at different ends of the scale:

Cosmetic Dentistry Case 1.

Case 1: before
Case 2: after

This person hated her smile and the small partial denture she had to wear. She had multiple problems that included gaps between teeth, a missing upper canine and the other canine impacted in the palate that needed to be ‘brought down into the arch’ as well as unattractive upper front incisor teeth. After much deliberation, discussion and exploring all the options, she decided to have the ‘optimal ‘ (and indeed the most ‘costly’)  treatment. That involved two years of specialist orthodontic treatment, placement of an implant  and ten upper teeth restored with porcelain veneers or crowns and lower tooth whitening. The entire course of treatment took about 2½ years at a fee of almost £20,000. This young lady was a receptionist and forwent a few holidays to have this done.

Cosmetic Dentistry Case 2.

Case 2: before
Case 2: after

This young lady was, a simpler case. Although she also had gaps between her teeth, her main concerns were the shape of her upper front teeth and only the gaps she showed when she smiled, as well as wanting whiter teeth . She didn’t like smiling and felt her smile made her look like a young girl (as opposed to an attractive mature young woman). She was also offered alternative treatment options that included a course of orthodontics (to close the gaps). Such treatment would have be in the realm of about 1½ years duration and £12,000 worth of treatment fees. She was offered the option of closing gaps and changing shape of upper front teeth with either porcelain or composite veneers and composite ‘in fills’, as well as tooth whitening. The treatment would be completed in two or three appointments and would cost between £1,600 and £5,000 depending on whether she wanted her upper front four incisor veneers made of composite or porcelain. She chose the former and so the result was achieved in two appointments at a cost of £1,600.

Both patients were extremely happy and say their lives have been changed in so far as they feel more confident, attractive and, most importantly smile a lot more. Each chose and received the treatment that was most appropriate for her. To do so in each case, took a thorough dental evaluation, exploration of different treatment and fee options and significant discussion with the patient.

So the advice to any patient that is unhappy with his or her teeth /smile is to seek and obtain opinions about treatment and then be able to make a truly informed decision, which may even result in the no treatment option being decided on.

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