We named our practice Taos Smiles as we can give you the smile you desire in an atmosphere that will make you as comfortable as possible.  Dentistry has become more cosmetically oriented as people demanded more life like crowns and the dental industry complied. In their time, the wooden teeth of George Washington were in a sense cosmetic. Many people are hesitant to have “caps” or crowns because of the unattractive ones they have seen. Unfortunately, they haven’t noticed well crafted crowns that were hidden from notice because they matched their surrounding teeth. Well matched teeth come with a price though. It requires a dentist who has learned the rules and nuances that make a smile shine. Also needed is a porcelain tech that can make the individual tooth so life like it is impossible to notice.  Dr. Gerard Chiche, a cosmetic professor at LSU dental school, has been known to use a Japanese laboratory that charges over $900 per tooth to the dentist with a resultant charge of over $2000 per tooth to the patient. But they are beautiful to behold.

The best material for beautiful teeth is using all porcelain restorations that allow light to pass through. Most caps or crowns that look like the roots are dark are porcelain-to-metal crowns that prevent light getting into the tooth. As a result, the root below the crown is dark because of the shadow created. The art of cosmetic dentistry first comes with the selection of the type of porcelain to match the individual needs of the patient. On occasion, porcelain-to-metal crowns are necessary to withstand an individuals powerful bite or grinding habit. There are ways to make that tooth look very good that will fool most people and even some dentists. The most important part is having porcelain on the surface that is slightly clear to avoid that Chiclet® appearance of an unattractive crown.

The next important concept is minimizing tricky situations to achieve a long lasting result. Lumineers® are wonderful sets of veneers that require minimal to no preparation of the teeth. The results can be fantastic, but the restorations will last longer and look better if the teeth are not overly crowded.

Veneers, crowns, implants, bridges, Invisalign®, bleaching and contouring are the main techniques used in creating good looking smiles. A key ability of the cosmetic dentist is to be able to use a mix of these if needed to achieve the best result possible. One of my favorite cases was one where four teeth in a row were restored using a different style for each one. You couldn’t tell which was which.

Smile design uses several other guidelines that help make for the best result. Ignoring even one can lead to a poor result. One of the more basic guidelines is the Golden Mean Proportiongoldenmean.net. It describes the ideal size of front teeth in relation to each other. One of my toughest cases involved not following this rule. My client saw two other cosmetic dentists that couldn’t figure what was wrong either. I remade the case at no charge to correct the problem once we were able to see the problem. The list of other guidelines include smile line, midline, gum line, phonetics, bruxism, tooth rotation, angulation and form, color(hue, value and chroma) among others.

If you desire a much brighter set of teeth, you have to consider how many teeth you need to involve. This is determined by which teeth you show when you smile and which you show when you talk. If you don’t want to restore all of these teeth to the color you want, consider going with a shade just a shade brighter than the darkest clearly visible tooth. Otherwise, it will be apparent that you have had dental work. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


The most amazing result of a new smile is the change in attitude and pride of the patient. Most people smile much bigger, exude confidence and change their life by becoming more outgoing as they project a more positive personality. People take notice of this. Most common wish is that they had done the work years earlier. I wish I had done mine earlier as well. One of the adages of most serious cosmetic dentists is “walking the talk”, which means having cosmetic work done themselves.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.