Don't let the tissue be the issue in your smile design

By David Rice, DDS, DrBicuspid.com clinical editor

August 7, 2020 -- Welcome back, friends. This week's seven deadly sins topic is the gingiva. Too often, we hyperfocus on the teeth, and our teams (or our patients) forget how the gingiva affects our final result.

Tissue heights matter. Tissue health matters. In every case, whether it's restoratively driven, orthodontically driven, or interdisciplinary in nature, these things matter.

After some bumps and bruises, what I've found to be incredibly valuable in my team's quest to deliver great smiles is to create a word picture for patients that goes something like this:

  • The teeth are like that family photo we all try to take around the holidays. You know the one. The kids are bouncing off the walls. The family pet won't sit still to save our lives. And we adults, well, we want that picture anyway, don't we?
  • The gum tissue is like the frame for that one special picture that seemingly took us 10 hours to achieve. When we match the frame to the photo, we have a winner. When we try to put that new family treasure in a ratty old frame, it just doesn't fit.

Beautiful smiles are born of great hard and soft tissues:

  • You've worked hard on establishing your incisal edges. Make sure your tooth lengths are spot on by measuring up and either adding, moving, or removing tissue.
  • You've worked hard on contour. Make sure you don't create black triangles or have rolled tissue over a margin that stunts the shape.
  • You've worked hard on your preps and scans. Make sure insert day goes smoothly by starting with a healthy foundation. Nothing wastes time and money like an insert that doesn't go -- or goes badly.

Word pictures work.

Practice your verbal skills with your team and then with your patients. It may be awkward at first (it was for my team). That said, like all great habits, 21 days of work will become a lifetime of success.

Check out more of my thoughts on the importance of gum tissue in the video below.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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