Dentists utilize diagnostic wax ups for multiple reasons. I will discuss various wax up options and what they can be used for. I’ll walk through one or two types of cosmetic wax ups over three separate blogs along with photos to help visualize many of the differences and the ways they are utilized. The options we will discuss are as follow:
- Additive only wax up (smile trial)
- Diagnostic wax up (functional and aesthetic possibilities)
- Digital or analog (hand waxed) diagnostics
Before we dive in lets discuss why a wax up is necessary. Would you consider remodeling a house without a blueprint? Hopefully your response is no, there are just so many factors that go into the whole procedure that more bad than good can happen. Look at the diagnostic wax up as a blueprint for your smile design or full mouth rehabilitation. It is not the end all be all, changes can still be made during the process, but the diagnostic wax up should address the vast majority of issues already seen as well as help foresee any issues that may arise.
The first option I’d like to discuss is the additive only, AKA, smile trial option. This allows a patient to get a general idea of what their smile would look like without the need for enamoplasty.
The benefit of an additive only wax up is that no preparation is necessary because the wax is added directly to a replica of the patient’s teeth with no reduction of the model. This is beneficial to both the doctor and the patient in the fact that the dentist has the opportunity to present the patient with 70-95% accuracy of what the final outcome will look like with a procedure that takes less than 10 minutes and is 100% reversible. It also has a large financial implication in that the Dentist has the opportunity to present a close to final draft that the patient experiences, often being the emotional factor in the decision to accept treatment. It works for the patient from the standpoint that they get a chance to wear the smile for a short period of time at a minimal cost helping to decide whether or not to accept treatment.
The downside of the smile trial or additive only option is that the technician does not always have the opportunity to work out all functional and cosmetic issues, and a traditional diagnostic wax up may still be necessary once treatment is agreed upon.