Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

(Beauty) Work in Progress

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Shaun Bivens

Nothing brightens up a room like a big, beautiful smile. Perhaps that is why in recent years, veneers have become the most requested cosmetic dentistry procedure.

Dr. Shaun Bivens, of Bivens Dentistry in Mt. Juliet, explained that veneers are often the best choice for patients desiring to change the size, shape and color of their teeth -- or simply update their smile.

"Most adults don't want braces. There is always bleach - but most people want to control all of the aspects. They want their smiles perfected," he said.

Bivens begins by taking top and bottom impressions and will pour models to study what already exists in the mouth. During this time he meets with the patient to discuss exactly what they are looking for.

"Some people, when they smile, show the whole mouth. Others might show canine to canine," he said, adding that the number of teeth that show when smiling, as well as cost, often effect the patient's choice.

The models are sent to Excel Dental Studios in California, where wax versions of the new smile are made and returned to Bivens in a week.

Once the wax-ups are received, the patient has to approve them and make adjustments. "It is one thing to see them on a model. It is another to see them in your mouth," Bivens said. Therefore the patient can wear the temporary acrylics over their natural teeth to get a better idea of what the end product will look like.

"You are test driving your new teeth before you get them," Bivens said. "Once they are happy that is when we take the final impression and send them back to the lab so they can duplicate it."

Bivens also sends multiple photos of the patient to allow the lab to see who they are creating veneers for. "Labs don't know your face or what your smile looks like," he said, noting that sending photos is just another measure taken to ensure the patient ends up happy with the veneers they receive.

Applying the finished veneers takes roughly two hours, during which time Bivens clears his schedule and focuses on the one patient. "That way there aren't any interruptions," he said.

Typically patients are very pleased with the results for years to come. Bivens said there isn't a set length of time that veneers will last. "It is a long-term restoration. It depends on how well you care for them and maintenance."

Dr. Bivens is offering a free cosmetic consult with reference to this article.

Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at

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