To obtain consistent esthetic outcomes, the design of dental restorations should be defined as soon as possible. The importance of gathering diagnostic data from questionnaires and checklists cannot be overlooked; however, much of this information may be lost if it is not transferred adequately to the design of the restorations. The diagnostic data must guide the subsequent treatment phases, integrating all of the patient’s needs, desires, and functional and biologic issues into an esthetic treatment design.
The Digital Smile Design (DSD) is a multi-use conceptual tool that can strengthen diagnostic vision, improve communication, and enhance predictability throughout treatment. The DSD allows for careful analysis of the patient’s facial and dental characteristics along with any critical factors that may have been overlooked during clinical, photographic, or diagnostic cast–based evaluation procedures. The drawing of reference lines and shapes over extra- and intraoral digital photographs in a predetermined sequence can widen diagnostic visualization and help the restorative team evaluate the limitations and risk factors of a given case, including asymmetries, disharmonies, and violations of esthetic principles.
DSD sketches can be performed in presentation software such as Keynote (iWork, Apple, Cupertino, California, USA) or Microsoft PowerPoint (Microsoft Office, Microsoft, Redmond, Washington, USA). This improved visualization makes it easier to select the ideal restorative technique. The DSD protocol is characterized by effective communication between the interdisciplinary dental team, including the dental technician. Team members can identify and highlight discrepancies in soft or hard tissue morphology and discuss the best available solutions using the amplified images. Every team member can add information directly on the slides in writing or using voice-over, thus simplifying the process even more. All team members can access this information whenever necessary to review, alter, or add elements during the diagnostic and treatment phases.
The adoption of the DSD protocol can make diagnosis more effective and treatment planning more consistent. The efforts required to implement DSD are rewarded by more logical and straightforward treatment sequencing, leading to savings in time, materials, and cost during treatment.
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