As a continuation of our Clinical Springboard series, I was excited to bring on Dr. Susan McMahon. She brings a breadth of experience and expertise in the field of cosmetic dentistry. As an AACD accredited dentist, Dr. McMahon hones her craft in a boutique FFS practice in Pittsburgh. But she has experienced many different practice modalities before settling into her forever practice. Working in a dental mill to toeing the line at a DSO, Dr. McMahon has experienced many practice situations that new grads will face or have faced.
An area of dentistry where Dr. McMahon has set herself apart is in placing composite restorations. But not just slapping in a composite, condensing it, and then carving some grooves to simulate anatomy, we are talking about esthetically placed composites that are almost indiscernible from a virgin tooth. Oftentimes we quickly jump to prescribing crowns as the best treatment but there are times when placing composites is the best option not only for the diagnosis but also for the patient. Creating beautiful, long-lasting composites will restore a patient’s health but also dazzle them with a beautiful smile. This is especially true for anterior teeth as it is what people notice when they smile.
Have you ever seen anterior composites where the color looks ok but the tooth just doesn’t look right? The general shape is about right but there is just something that is off where it does not look like the contralateral tooth? This is especially noticeable when it is #8 and #9. Dr. McMahon talks about the main issue that she sees when restoring these anterior teeth. Those are the line angles and lobes. Yes! Those are critical features that make a difference between a realistic tooth vs one that appears to be flat. The line angles help transition the facial surfaces to the proximal ones and allow for the “rounded” look of a tooth.
Another anatomical feature that is often overlooked when doing anterior composites is the presence of lobes. The facial surfaces of teeth are not flat and so when you create a full tooth restoration without lobes, it looks flat. And if you place more composite and feel that it is still missing that depth, look at whether you’ve created lobes!
Check out the rest of the interview with Dr. McMahon to learn helpful tips and tricks so you can create beautiful composite restorations. She goes over several cosmetic cases and the results are amazing!
Anterior restorations can make the most impact on a patient as it is what he/she and the rest of the world can see. So if you can make beautiful restorations, that is the best referral source you can have and will generate word of mouth recommendations and soon you can be the go-to cosmetic dentist in town!
-Explosive growth of cosmetic dentistry
-Anatomical features that are critical to esthetic restorations
-Excessive polishing is not always the best
-Coarse diamonds are your best friend
-How to create beautiful composite veneers