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What Is Digital Smile Design (DSD)?


DSD is a unique dental treatment planning methodology that strengthens a dental provider’s diagnostic vision, enhances predictability, and improves communication between dental providers, dental laboratory, and their patients. A treatment plan is completely based on a thorough analysis of the patient’s dental and facial proportions. Through the use of videos, photographs, digital scans, and temporary mock-ups, DSD providers can get a better sense of the relationship between the face, eyes, nose, lips, gums, and teeth, as well as how they work together to create the patient’s smile.

Along with the physical aspects, DSD providers will also look at the emotional facial animations of the patient and how they react in certain situations. These factors can impact the treatment plan design, as emotion expressions are important to take into consideration in individualizing each and every smile. When you choose to embark on a DSD journey, you’ll work closely with a provider who is more than just a dentist. In fact, those accepted into the group of DSD providers have artistic vision, which is necessary to create beautiful smiles, as well as the experience needed to give you a positive outcome.

How Can I Start and What Is the DSD Journey?

When you make the decision to learn more about DSD, the first step in the process is finding a DSD provider near you and GREAT NEWS!  Dr. Shieh is the first to bring this digital experience to Pittsburgh. From there, you’ll meet with that provider and go through the benefits of this treatment option. If you choose to move forward with DSD planning, then there will be THREE (3) total office visits to your DSD journey. 


First Visit (Data Collection): your DSD provider will take photos, videos, and/or 3D scans of every angle of your mouth. Three-dimensional digital scans are done with an intraoral scanner (iTero) and cone-beam CT (CBCT), and the data is imported into the DSD software. The data is shared with a DSD Planning Center or a DSD trained lab to be analyzed, your DSD provider will look at the digital library of various forms and shapes that can be placed over the tops of your teeth in the images and create a 2D digital smile simulation for you. This gives you a quick glimpse into what you can expect from the treatment, as well as gives the DSD provider what is needed to create a physical 3D mock up model with a DSD trained dental lab in the United States or in Madrid, Spain (DSD Planning Center). The images and videos help the lab create a more realistic model, which may include your facial aesthetics and other important aspects.

*Second Visit (Mock Up Documentation): 2-3 weeks later, you'll be invited back to have the bespoke designed 3D mock up model placed on your teeth in your mouth temporarily and your DSD provider will obtain more video documentation to get a better idea of what your teeth will look like as you speak and smile with your facial and smile animations. 


*Third Visit (DSD Treatment Presentation): you will be scheduled for a 2-hour meeting where you will see a personalized presentation to your DSD treatment.  All questions and concerns should and will be answered at this meeting including final total cost of treatment for your smile transformation.

*2nd and 3rd visits may be combined into one visit depending on your smile transformation design's complexity.

You will be heavily involved in the entire process as "co-author" to your new smile from start to finish. It’s important for you to communicate your wants and needs to your DSD provider. You’ll also have the opportunity to approve the three-dimensional model and mock-up images of what your smile will look like after the treatment is complete. You will be a "co-author" to your new smile when you choose a DSD provider.

How Is DSD Different?


Although other dental providers and treatment plans may use certain aspects of digital imaging or software, most don’t have access to a full solution and outcome predictability like DSD. Therefore, for most dentist and their smile makeover result predictability element is lost because the dentist may not be able to convey your desired smile to their dental laboratory and/or tell you exactly what your smile will look like at the end of the procedure. Using DSD helps to remove the struggle with miscommunication or unanswered questions due to a lack of clarity. This is because with DSD you, the dentist, and the dental laboratory ceramist will be on the same page.

Digital Smile Design is one of the leading forefronts of dental treatment methodology using the latest technology, ensuring a smile makeover treatment that is best for each patient. With DSD, you’ll be on your way to creating a smile design that is unique and no guessing on your end result.  Are you ready for the smile that you've always wanted and deserve?  Contact us to learn more and start your journey TODAY!

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