Digital Smile Design - DSD

What is Digital Smile Design (DSD)?

Digital Smile Design Logo

Digital Smile Design (DSD) is a treatment planning technique that allows us to carefully analyse our patient's facial and dental structures through state-of-the-art photography, videography and digital technology. The DSD concept is considered the most modern, patient-centred design approach available in dentistry today. It is designed to give our patients complete control and allow them to have input into the final design of their smiles. Our patients get to “test drive” their smile before the treatment has even begun. It also allows us as dentists to plan our work more efficiently, to be more conservative and to be more accurate in the final outcome. We at Silver Oaks Dental Clinic have been involved in cosmetic dentistry for the last 20 years and we believe that Digital Smile Design has been the most important advancement in Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr Huson started doing a basic form of Digital Smile Design when he worked in dental cosmetics in the Harley Street region of London in 2006. Today DSD has evolved into an all encompassing digital platform which includes facial scanning, dental scanning, CT scans and 3D printing. And we love it all!

How does DSD work ?

Step 1 - Initial Consult and Smile Simulation

Digital Smile Design Ring Light 1

At your first appointment we will discuss what your needs are – you will fill in our “Smile Simulation Questionnaire” and we will discuss exactly what bothers you about your smile. At this stage we will take photographs, a video to capture the way you talk and smile, and possibly a 3D facial scan. This digital information is loaded into the Digital Smile Design software which manipulates your smile under the guidance of our specially trained DSD Accredited dentist Dr Roy Huson. The smile simulation is shown to you at this stage as a general guide to discuss with you what is possible and to get your input as to what you like or dislike about your new smile. This is very important as it helps the dentist understand what your needs are as a patient - so from the very start you are in control of the outcome.

Step 2 - Manufacturing of your New Digital 3D smile

Digital Smile Design 3D Model 2

Once you are happy with the digital smile simulation we move onto the next phase of smile design. We would have at this stage taken a 3D scan of your teeth in the upper jaw and the lower jaw. A provisional quotation for the treatment is given to you at this stage. Your 2D smile simulation is then converted into a 3D digital model which is adapted to fit over your actual teeth. This digital model is 3D printed to form a template of the ideal situation we would like to achieve.

Step 3 - Test Drive your New Smile with a Mockup Simulation

Digital Smile Design Explaination


We would create a rubber stent (guide) to transfer the ideal 3D printed model of your new smile onto your existing teeth. At this stage we still have not touched your existing teeth with a drill and changes can still be made. A special material is injected into the rubber stent and placed over your existing teeth. This material sets in the shape of your ‘new teeth.’ The rubber stent is removed and you are shown a ‘mockup’ of what you could look like with your new teeth. A video is taken to compare the way you speak and smile with your new teeth as compared to the previous video of what your existing teeth look like. At this stage changes can still be made to the design. A final quotation for the treatment is given to you at this stage. Once you are happy with your 3D mockup we will move on to Step 4

Step 4 - Preparation of your New Smile and Temporisation

Digital Smile Design Scanning 1

Using the same rubber stent we used for your 3D mockup we inject the special resin and place it over your teeth. We would have given you some local anaesthetic to numb the teeth. We then drill through the new template so as to keep the amount of tooth preparation to the absolute minimum. We therefore try to be as conservative as possible and always try to mimic nature in everything we do. The teeth preparations are then polished clean and are then scanned with a 3D dental scanner. The same rubber stent is then used again to create temporary teeth which you will wear for about a week while the final teeth (either veneers/crowns/implants) are made in our on-site laboratory. This gives you another opportunity to try out your new teeth before the final fit.

Step 5 - Try In and Final Fit of your New Smile

Digital Smile Design Reveal

The temporary teeth are removed and the underlying teeth are cleaned thoroughly. You would have been given some local anaesthetic so the teeth would be numb at this stage. The new teeth are tried in and held in place with a temporary cement. You are shown your new teeth in the mirror. At this stage small changes can still be made and you will discuss these with your dentist as well as our on-site dental laboratory technician. Once you’re happy with the look of your teeth they will be permanently cemented onto your existing teeth. A final look in the mirror reveals a new person who can now smile, talk, laugh and post selfies on Instagram with complete confidence. A bottle of champagne is generally popped at this stage.


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About Silver Oaks

Silver Oaks Dental Clinic is situated in Musgrave Park located on the Berea in Durban, just 10 minutes drive away from the Gateway Shopping centre in Umhlanga.

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