August 15, 2018

Archives for April 2011

Mrs. U.S.-Globe Gets Porcelain Veneers for Winning Smile by Dr. Huefner

beauty pageant porcelain veneers

Liz Eddy, Mrs. U.S.-Globe had Dr. Huefner create a "winning smile" for her with porcelain veneers before competing for the title of Mrs. Globe.

Liz Eddy is the former Mrs. Pacific States and winner of the Mrs. U.S.-Globe pageant.  She had old style porcelain veneers that were made too dark, one had chipped and all were unnatural looking because they were too thick and bulky.  Before competing for the title of Mrs. Globe, Liz came to Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner to have him create a new, improved smile with new porcelain veneers.

When evaluating Liz for her new smile it was very important to qualify her goals.  Most important to her were two things:

  • that she had a great smile that stood out when she was on stage
  • that her new teeth with porcelain veneers looked “natural”, as if they were her own teeth.
porcelain veneers too dark and thick

Liz knew she needed a smile makeover to replace her old unattractive porcelain veneers. She felt they were too dark, too thick and one veneer had chipped.

In evaluating her face and smile the following were noted:

  • Liz had a well balanced face with normal proportions and symmetry
  • Her lips, which would be framing her smile, were naturally full (without any fillers or lip enhancement procedures) and had normal curvature
  • The amount of teeth displayed when smiling was ideal and normal, showing only a little of her gums (normal range is showing 90% of the upper front teeth when smiling or 1-2mm or gums).  Thus, no gum reshaping or gum additions (grafting) were necessary
  • The number of upper teeth she showed when smiling was 8-10, which was also normal.  This had implications on how many porcelain veneers Dr. Huefner would do for her.
Orange County porcelain veneers

For Liz's smile makeover with ten new porcelain veneers Dr. Huefner designed her new smile to follow her smile line (the curvature of her lower lip when smiling). The porcelain veneers were made in shade BL1 and the "enhanced" smile style from the tooth shape catalog.

Dr. Huefner customized her smile design for a winning smile utilizing many advanced techniques he learned in his comprehensive cosmetic dentistry training at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Rather than having the EDGES of her front teeth straight in a line as her old veneers were, Dr. Huefner chose to have the edges follow the curve of her lower lip.  This is an advanced cosmetic dentistry principal referred to as “following the smile line” (i.e. the curvature of her lower lip).  This principal produces a more pleasing, natural and attractive smile than was done with her original porcelain veneers that Dr. Huefner was replacing.

mrs. u.s.-globe swimsuit competition

A spinning instructor and obviously a fitness buff, Liz fared extremely well in the swimsuit competition.

In choosing the specific smile style from the tooth shapes library, Dr. Huefner specified the “enhanced” smile style from the LVI smile library.  This “enhanced” design is a favorite of Dr. Huefner’s and considered by many cosmetic dentists as one that is more youthful, softer and feminine – a very attractive smile style for most women!

For the tooth color from the tooth shade guide, Dr. Huefner and Liz agreed that BL1 would make her smile stand out while on stage.  By utilizing a semi-translucent and enamel-like porcelain (IPS Empress Esthetic porcelain), her smile would also have a very natural and non-artificial look.  Another advantage of Empress porcelain is that it has an excellent track record in dentistry for strength and longevity.

Additional smile design features utilized was slight incisal translucency and slight surface texture.  Both of these features differed from her old porcelain veneers and gave her “new teeth” and porcelain veneers a very natural look, achieving her goal of “looking like real teeth.”

Mrs. U.S. Globe porcelain veneers

Liz Eddy, Mrs. U.S.-Globe, Dr. Huefner and Lila, Mrs. Globe.

Liz’s smile makeover with ten porcelain veneers by Dr. Huefner was completed within a three week period in time for the Mrs. Globe beauty pageant.  On stage and in her photographs, the results of her new smile was absolutely stunning!  She competed extremely well as the reigning Mrs. U.S.-Globe, placing in the top five internationally, but to our disappointment, Liz did not win the title of Mrs. Globe.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita

Ideal Porcelain Veneer Treatment – when cosmetic dentistry outshines all other treatments

porcelain veneers orange county

Jana was the perfect candidate for porcelain veneers and some minor laser gum reshaping.

Jana from Irvine, Orange County, CA, wanted a better smile.  Her teeth were crooked, especially her upper right lateral incisor that was really turned (rotated) and worn with a huge filling in it.  When she looked at her smile her teeth just didn’t look even and symmetrical.  She didn’t like the color either and her gums were quite uneven as well.

laser gum reshaping

Jana had crooked, worn teeth. They were also discolored and her gums were uneven. She particularly didn't like her upper right lateral incisor, which was twisted, very worn and had a huge filling in it. Braces would have straightened her teeth, but couldn't address all the other issues. She was a perfect candidate for porcelain veneers and laser gum reshaping.

Her first thought was to have orthodontics, maybe Invisalign or one of the non-visible orthodontic techniques.  Jana spoke with an orthodontist and he told her that he could straighten her teeth, but that he could not do anything about the shape of her teeth, the color, the uneven gums or the filling in the front tooth that she didn’t like.  He suggested that she see a cosmetic dentist, as she was an ideal candidate for porcelain veneers.

The orthodontist who evaluated Jana was right!  She was a perfect candidate for porcelain veneers.

porcelain veneers irvine

Jana had Dr. Huefner even out her gums with the dental gum laser and then place eight porcelain veneers. She chose a BL2 shade, enhanced smile design and got a terrific result!

When Jana came to our office she had researched porcelain veneers extensively on the internet.  So, after chatting a bit to get to know each other Jana cut straight to the point.  “I want porcelain veneers, whiter straight teeth and even gums.  Can you do this for me and how long will it take?” Jana said to us.

Jana was in a rush, as she was attending a big family wedding anniversary party the following month and she was going to be in many family photos.  Thus, we started her treatment right away, doing laser gum reshaping and then taking impressions for diagnostic models.  She returned ten day later, her gums had completely healed within a few days, and we prepared her teeth for eight porcelain veneers and placed temporary veneers.  Two and a half weeks later Jana returned and we bonded her porcelain veneers in place.  Her entire treatment, including the laser gum reshaping and porcelain veneers, was completed in five weeks time.  Jana chose a BL2 shade from the tooth shade guide and “enhanced” smile style from the LVI tooth shape library.

She loved her new smile and said that she wish she had done this years ago.

Spaced, Crooked, Misshaped or Malformed Teeth are the Perfect Indication for Porcelain Veneers

"porcelain veneers orange county"

Derek had four porcelain veneers placed on his upper incisors. To give him even gums and allow the front teeth to all appear the same length, a simple procedure called laser gum reshaping was done. The porcelain veneers were placed to fill the spaces and make his four front teeth look even and straight.

Derek, a young man in his late twenties from Laguna Niguel, had a very active life.  Although a great athlete and should have known better, he never wore his mouth guard and chipped his front two teeth several times playing ball.  His family dentist repaired the chips each time with composite bonding, but due to many limitations a great resulting smile was never achieved.

laser gum reshaping

Derek realized that his teeth and smile didn't look the best they could and his success would depend somewhat on his image and appearance. He wanted his four incisors to be straight, not to have spaces and be more in porportion.

He also had orthodontics as a child, but never wore his retainer and according to his mother, “I could have killed him for that!”  Thus, over the years his teeth shifted and spaced.

Now finishing up his masters in college and about to start an internship with a prestigious corporation, Derek was starting to pay significantly more attention to his appearance.  He realized that success, appearance and image all work together.  Being a competitive individual he certainly saw himself rising to the top over the years and was working hard to make himself look his very best.

“Doc, what can you do to fix my teeth and make them look good?”, Derek ask.  “I’m thinking that veneers might work for me, but don’t want a white, fake looking smile.  If you can do veneers for me I want them to look natural, not fake looking or like I’ve  had caps.”

Upon evaluating Derek’s teeth we noted that he had good straight teeth in the back and lower front areas, but only his four upper front teeth needed any kind of cosmetic improvement:

  • spacing between the front two teeth
  • both central incisors had been broken and repaired with plastic bonding
  • the central incisors and the gums around them were at different levels
  • his lateral incisors also had spaces around them and were small in proportion to his other teeth.
porcelain veneers orange county

Derek got a great looking "natural" smile with laser gum reshaping and four porcelain veneers. Dr. Huefner made his "new teeth" in proportion and filled the spaces. A great smile was the result!

Derek was the perfect candidate for porcelain veneers and he was glad to hear that!  His new teeth (porcelain veneers) could be made even and a little larger to fill the spaces.  One addition that was absolutely necessary to make the teeth and gums at the same level was to do some minor gum reshaping with the dental gum laser.  Also called laser gingival recontouring, this is a simple procedure, relatively non-invasive, little or no bleeding, no stitches in the gums necessary, little post operative pain and very predictable healing within 5-7 days.

After a little more discussion and Derek fully understood the game plan he accepted our treatment recommendations and scheduled for his porcelain veneers and laser gum reshaping.  According to his wishes, we matched his four porcelain veneers with the color of his adjacent teeth and added some custom characterization to make his teeth look very “real”.  The end result was a great result achieving all of Derek’s objectives and was completed in less a months time.

Peg Lateral Incisor Porcelain Veneer Treatment Orange County

porcelain veneers orange county peg laterals

Corine's beautiful new smile after having Dr. Huefner place four porcelain veneers.

Corine, from Coto de Caza, Orange County, was a in high school when she finished her braces.  Unfortunately she was one of the 5% who are either missing their upper lateral incisors or they are malformed and small, commonly called “peg laterals“.

Although her orthodontic treatment was exceptional and she finally had straight teeth, she was left with a small right lateral incisor and her left peg lateral incisor was misshaped.  This ruined the final results of her orthodontic treatment.  Thus, her orthodontist referred Corine to us, saying that she was now ready for cosmetic dentistry, preferably porcelain veneers. The combination of both orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry was the treatment of choice to give Corine the beautiful smile that she wanted and deserved.

peg lateral incisor

After orthodontic treatment Corine had straight teeth, but needed cosmetic dentistry to complete the job and give her a great looking smile.

We discussed her options, placing porcelain veneers on both lateral incisors or placing porcelain veneers on all four incisors so that her front teeth would look perfectly matched.  Wanting the best for their daughter, Corine’s parents chose having us place four porcelain veneers.

peg lateral incisor treatment

In order to get the best looking results for Corine's new smile four porcelain veneers were placed.

First, Corine bleached her teeth to make them all whiter, and then we placed her four porcelain veneers. As young people often say these days, her results “were amazing.”  She has since graduated from high school and now attending college with a beautiful smile becoming of such a beautiful young lady.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita

Gummy Smile and Missing Front Tooth Undergo Dental Metamorphosis with Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry

orange county cosmetic dentist

Tim had Dr. Huefner replace his old porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge with an all-ceramic bridge. Dr. Huefner also improved his gummy smile with the dental gum laser. In addition, Tim had five porcelain veneers placed and the end results was a terrific smile for Tim!

Tim, a successful businessman in the finance world has a big smile and a big heart, but felt he didn’t have a smile that was in harmony with his professional image.  For starters, when he smiled he had a very gummy smile.  He lost a front tooth when he was much younger and had a porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge that was OK, but really didn’t match the rest of his teeth any more.  Speaking of the rest of his teeth, they were discolored and appeared way too small.  He came to our Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry practice to discuss his options.

gummy smile orange county

Tim didn't like his gummy smile, which also made his teeth appear to small. He was displeased with the appearance of his bridge in the front and also the color of his other natural teeth. Dr. Huefner utilized the dental gum laser to reduce Tim's gummy smile and cosmetic dentistry to create beautiful teeth for him.

Although Tim felt he had a host of problems that would be challenging to treat his dental issues were actually pretty straight forward to treat.  First, we could reshape some of his excess gums (called gingival recontouring) with the dental gum laser.  That would reduce some of his gummy smile and make his teeth appear longer.  Gingival recontouring is a commonly performed procedure done by many top cosmetic dentists  It is minimally invasive, very little bleeding is involved, never requires stitches, has minimal discomfort and usually heals up within 5-7 days.

After Tim’s gums were treated we would replace his old porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge with an all-porcelain bridge.  The new bridge would have better color and appear much more life-like and real.  So that the other teeth that showed when he smiled would all be the same color and be in proper proportion we also advised placing five porcelain veneers.  The results would be the eight teeth that Tim really shows off when he smiled would all look fantastic!

Tim was excited to hear we had a game plan that would work for him and achieve his goals.  He accepted our treatment plan, followed the course of treatment we had recommended and was completed in a little over a month’s time.  Also note that time chose a masculine smile design from the tooth shape library.  In general when the front incisors have more squarish corners they appear more masculine.  Also, when they are more rounder they appear softer, more youthful and feminine.  The tooth color Tim chose was BL2 from the tooth shade guide.

Notice how much more attractive the whiter, brighter smile is.  Also the difference in color and shape of the new all-porcelain bridge compared to the old porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge.  But most of all time was happy that he no longer had a gummy smile!

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita

Ronald Reagan Smile and Crooked Bite – Cosmetic Dentistry to the Rescue

crooked tooth smile Ronald Reagan Smile

Tony started with a crooked "Ronald Reagan Smile" and dark, discolored caps that showed black lines around his gums. He ended up with a beautiful, masculine smile by straightening his teeth and bite utilizing all-ceramic crowns and mini-crowns.

Tony is a contractor from Lake Forest, CA, who was “fed up” with his teeth and smile.  He told us the story about how he had always disliked the way they looked, especially in photos.  Finally one day in his 20s he went to who his family dentist, who placed four caps (porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns) on his front teeth.  He thought that his teeth looked a little better, but he still didn’t like his smile.

Years passed, and now 40 years old, Tony noticed that the black edges of the metal under the porcelain caps were now showing.  Tony decided that “there must be something that dentistry could do to give him a better smile” and came to our cosmetic dental practice for a consultation.

canted occlusal plane

Tony was very displeased with the way his teeth looked. The color was very dark and they were very crooked, angling down to his left like Ronald Reagan's smile.

We asked Tony what bothered him the most.  He replied that the black lines around the gums on the teeth that were capped were the final straw, but what had bothered him over the many years was that his teeth were very yellowish-brown and angled down to his left.  “I feel like my teeth are walking on the side of a hill.” Tony further explained to us, “Once I went to an orthodontist and he told me the only way to fix a crooked bite like mine was to do jaw surgery, break my jaws and then have braces.  There is no way I would do that.  Are there any options other than that?”

When we looked at Tony we noticed that the crookedness his smile had a striking similarity to Ronald Reagan‘s in that his teeth on the right side of his face were much longer than on the left, and they all angled down to Tony’s left.  In dental terms it is called having a canted occlusal plane.

Ronald Reagan smile

Ronald Reagan had a canted occlusal plane that made his teeth appear longer on his right side, like Tony has.

Tony liked what he heard when we discussed how cosmetic dentistry could correct his “Ronald Reagan smile” and give him whiter, great looking teeth without braces or jaw surgery.  We could replace the front porcelain-fused-to-metal caps with all-ceramic crowns (without any underlying metal that might show a black line in the future).  In addition we could make some adjustments to his lower left teeth and then place 5 mini-crowns (mini-crowns are half way between a full porcelain crown and a porcelain veneer) so that all together Tony would have nine new teeth, all straight and in alignment with his face!  After a little more discussion to more fully understand the treatment Tony said, “Let’s do it!”  His straight smile was completed three weeks later.

Regarding the design of his teeth, Tony chose a BL2 color from the tooth shade guide.  That lighter color worked really good for Tony because he had a naturally long and full upper lip which shadowed his teeth a lot.  The net result is that his teeth would always appear a little darker than someone with a very high lip line who shows the entirety of all the upper front teeth when they smile.  The whiter than normal color compensates for the lip shadow and gives him a great color without appearing too white.

masculine smile design

With cosmetic dentistry we corrected Tony's canted occlusal plane, gave him whiter teeth and more masculine smile design.

Another component incorporated into the smile design was more squarish incisors.  This gives him a more masculine appearance.  We oftentimes utilize a design with more rounded corners for women, which is a softer, more feminine design.  Tony definitely didn’t want that and was very happy with the shape of his front teeth.

To break up the brightness of the BL2 color we added two more components to Tony’s smile design. First, we added some enamel-like translucency into the edges of the incisors (called incisal translucency) and second, we added slight surface texture to the front of all the porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers.  Doing both those things breaks up the light reflection and makes the teeth (veneers and crowns) look much more natural and life-like.

The end result for Tony was an amazing cosmetic dental transformation.  Straight, white teeth without a crooked “Ronald Reagan smile“!

Secret Orthodontists Don’t Want Known, Teeth Can Be Straightened and Made Beautiful in Less Than A Month’s Time and WITHOUT Braces

crooked teeth before instant orthodontic treatment with porcelain veneers

Aimee not only wanted straight teeth, but she wanted a whiter smile with normal looking teeth. She could have done 12-24 months of braces treatment and then have cosmetic dentistry, but by utilizing the "instant orthodontic" technique she had straight, white, perfectly shaped teeth in three weeks time. See next photo of final results.

Most adults would love to have straight teeth.  However there are usually several reasons why adults with crooked teeth won’t undergo braces treatment:

  • treatment time usually 6-30 months
  • multiple appointments causing adults to miss work
  • orthodontics is generally more uncomfortable for adults than children (or maybe children are more tolerant?)
  • adults embarrassed to wear unattractive braces
  • when adults have braces they are usually told that they have to wear retainers for years, if not the rest of their life

And then if there are other problems with the teeth, like discoloration, chipping, ugly crowns or fillings and an adults does have orthodontic treatment the results could be straight ugly teeth that still would need some kind of cosmetic dentistry to get a beautiful smile.

instant orthodontics laguna niguel with porcelain veneers and teeth whitening

This is the beautiful smile we created for Aimee by whitening her lower teeth with teeth bleaching and "straightening" her upper teeth with porcelain veneers and cosmetic dentistry. She got the beautiful, full smile she always wanted with whiter, brighter teeth. Note that her underbite was eliminated WITHOUT braces and she now has a fuller smile with much more attractive lip support.

But what if there were a way to get straight, white, beautiful teeth in just a couple visits to the cosmetic dentist and without braces?  The great news is that it can be done!  It isn’t talked about much in the media and has been kept as kind of a secret except on the TV show Extreme Makeover, but there is a cosmetic dentistry technique that has been successfully used for thousands of patients over the past decade called “instant orthodontics“.

But before explaining this cosmetic dental technique I want to make it very clear that even though it is called “instant orthodontics” it is actually NOT orthodontics.  Where the name “instant orthodontics” comes from is that with cosmetic dental treatment the teeth will go from being crooked to straight, looking as if they had gone through orthodontics (braces) for almost “instant” results.

Let’s examine Aimee’s teeth, one of our patients from Rancho Santa Margarita.  She had crooked teeth with an underbite (meaning some of her lower front teeth were in front of her upper front teeth when she put her teeth together).  If she were to have traditional orthodontic treatment with full braces she would be in treatment from 12 to 24 months.  However in addition to her teeth being crooked they were a very gray color and had numerous discolored fillings in them.  So to get the kind of smile she wanted, which was white, beautiful straight teeth, Aimee could either do the braces route first and then the cosmetic dentistry with porcelain veneers afterwards.  But by using the “instant orthodontic” approach with cosmetic dentistry we gave her straight white teeth without braces and in just three weeks time total!

How did we do that?  We bleached her lower teeth with the tray tooth whitening procedure that she does at home and we placed nine porcelain veneers on her upper teeth.  The porcelain veneers not only made her teeth look whiter with better shape and length, but they also made her teeth straight “as if she had” orthodontics.  No more underbite, crooked teeth, misshaped or short teeth.  And by using the “instant orthodontics” technique of porcelain veneers we were able to bring her upper teeth out to a normal overbite position.  This also gave her much more natural lip support and a fuller, broader smile rather than the sunken in smile she had before.

For more examples of this technique, go to instant orthodontics

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita

I Want Younger Looking Teeth – Porcelain Veneers Solve the Problem

old looking teeth orange county

Rosemarie realized that she had "old looking teeth" after her grandchildren made comments. She decided to have cosmetic dentistry to get a more youthful and attractive smile.

Rosemarie, a congenial lady in her late 60s from Laguna Hills Orange County came to our office obviously very disheartened with this story: “My great grandchildren were visiting me the other day and the younger one asked what was wrong with my teeth? Why were they so dark?  Then the older boy answered that they were just old teeth!”

“Then, I went into the other room to see what they were talking about and he was right, I did have old looking teeth,” Rosemarie went on to say.  “You know I’ve worked really hard to always look my best and stay healthy.  I’ve always gone to the dentist, I floss every day, get my teeth cleaned twice a year and whenever my dentist told me that I had a cavity I had him fix it.  But now I want to do something so that I have younger looking teeth!”

laguna hills cosmetic dentistry

After Rosemarie defined that she wanted brighter, whiter teeth that all matched in color and gave her a younger looking smile Dr. Huefner discussed dental options that would enable her to get those results. Rosemarie had Dr. Huefner replace an old bridge and crown and also place several porcelain veneers. The results were a much more youthful and attractive smile for Rosemarie.

After looking closely her teeth it was apparent that Rosemarie was doing all she could to keep her teeth and did have a healthy mouth.  But, she had had several things going on that made her teeth look old and worn.  First, her teeth had discolored over the years.  If the color was the only problem, then sometimes teeth whitening (bleaching) will be all that a patient needs.  However in Rosemarie’s case she had numerous tooth colored fillings, and those were done to match the color of her teeth and wouldn’t changed to a lighter color with the teeth whitening procedure.  Also, Rosemarie had a number of chips in her teeth, along with a small gap between her front two teeth.  She had lost one of her bicuspid teeth on her left side and her previous dentist made a porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge and crown for her, but he made them an unattractive yellow color that didn’t make her smile look very clean and white.  So Rosemarie’s teeth did show the many effects of tooth aging that many people experience.

“What can you do for me?,” she politely asked.

Before I could answer that I needed to know more information.  Most importantly, what kind of smile and teeth did Rosemarie want?

She answered that she wanted her teeth to be whiter.  Also, she didn’t like the gap between her front teeth.  But most of all she wanted a younger looking smile.

Well, for Rosemarie the answer was simple.  We would replace the old bridge and crown she had with all-ceramic restorations that didn’t have any metal underneath.  For her other teeth we would place porcelain veneers. And most importantly, the final smile would have all her teeth the same color and give her the whiter, more youthful looking smile that she wanted.

Rosemarie accepted our recommendations, but was a little concerned about doing so much dentistry in such a couple visits.  She was used to going to the dentist for one tooth at a time.  But she also didn’t like the idea of coming back time and again and wanted to just get it over.  We did suggest that she was an excellent candidate for oral sedation dentistry, where we sedate and relax the patient with pills.  There were many advantages to this technique.  Much more treatment could be comfortably accomplished in fewer appointments.  It is extremely safe, as the patient is sedated and not actually put to sleep.  Afterwards the patients have little memory of what happened at the appointment other than they were comfortable, felt like they were napping the entire time and several hours passed by like minutes!

However Rosemarie said she wasn’t afraid and was fine doing her dentistry the normal way with “Novocain” and did not feel she needed to be sedated at all.

Her treatment was done in just three visits over a three week period.  She was an excellent patient, her treatment it went very smooth and she got a terrific result.  And most importantly, she got the younger looking whiter teeth she wanted and never heard negative comments again about her teeth from her grandchildren!

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita

Dental Secrets on How to Have a Bigger Smile When You Have a Long Upper Lip

long upper lip

Chris wanted a fuller, more normal smile. He didn't like the color of his teeth, the space between his front teeth and he thought his teeth were too short. See how we utilized some smile design tricks and secrets to create a sensational smile for Chris.

Chris is a pilot from Newport Beach.  He spends much effort on looking his best and keeping healthy.  But the one thing that annoyed him was his smile.  “I don’t like the color, I don’t like the space between my front teeth and my teeth are way too short!,” Chris told us at his cosmetic dentistry consultation.

The color of his teeth could easily be improved with teeth bleaching.  The space (diastema) between his front teeth could be corrected with composite bonding or porcelain veneers.  However, the problem with having “short teeth” was really a problem with his upper lip.  He had an extraordinarily long upper lip and when he smiled it didn’t raise up to show more of his teeth as most people do.

Thus for Chris we recommended doing porcelain veneers on his upper teeth, which would take care of the color and space between his teeth, but by “doing some other tricks” with the dental smile design we would be able to create a smile for him that would show more teeth.

What are those smile design tricks?

Well for starters, the obvious, we would make his teeth longer by making longer porcelain veneers.

masculine smile design

We created a great looking masculine smile for Chris by making his porcelain veneers a bit longer than normal, made the surface flatter to reflect more light, the edges of the teeth more square to look more natural, and the color much whiter than normal to over compensate for the lip shadow that always made his teeth appear darker than they were.

Second, we would make his teeth whiter than normal by using a whiter color porcelain for his porcelain veneers, utilizing either a BL1 or BL2 color from the dental tooth shade guide.  This is important because in having an upper lip that always hangs down over his teeth his lip Chris always shadows his teeth more than normal, making them appear darker.  Thus we would “over compensate” by using a whiter color than he actually thinks he would want.  Regis Philbin’s teeth is an example of someone like Chris who’s upper lip doesn’t rise up much, and his dentist placed extremely white porcelain veneers or crowns to overcompensate.

The third “trick” to enable Chris to show more of his front teeth is by the way the porcelain veneers are shaped.  We made the fronts of the porcelain veneers flatter and the edges more square.  The flatness and squareness enabled the teeth to reflect back more light, making the teeth appear more obvious.  Also, the squareness of the edges of the upper front teeth is a characteristic of masculine looking teeth, something that obviously would be very fitting for Chris.  (The opposite is generally the case for women when we wish to create a more youthful or more feminine smile.  To do that we generally have the edges of the teeth more rounded.)

For Chris, his treatment went very smooth and was completed in less than three weeks time.  We placed nine porcelain veneers and one all-porcelain crown (that replaced an old, discolored porcelain-fused-to-metal crown on his upper left bicuspid).  A great result was achieved which accomplished all the things that Chris had asked us to fix.  Sometimes the “secrets” and “tricks” and “illusions” are what’s necessary when a cosmetic dentist’s goal is to make a less than ordinary smile look sensational!

Creating a Beautiful Smile After She Lost Her Front Tooth and Had Unattractive Bridgework

all-ceramic bridge and porcelain veneers orange county

Unhappy with the appearance of her old dentistry, Maya had Dr. Huefner reshape one of her gums with the dental gum laser, replace the porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge and crown with all-ceramic restorations and place six porcelain veneers.

Maya, an esthetician from Rancho Santa Margarita, lost her front tooth when she was a teenager.  Her mother took her to a well respected dentist who placed a bridge and single cap.  But being in the beauty industry Maya was becoming increasingly aware that her teeth didn’t look natural and she felt it was important for her to always look her very best.  What she really wanted was that when people looked at her smile they wouldn’t know she was missing a front tooth at all, but that wasn’t the case.  She came to our cosmetic dental practice in Orange County to see if something better could be done for her?

Looking closely her dentist had placed an old style porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge and had it custom colored so that it would come closer to matching her otherteeth than if just a stock dental shade would have been used. Even today this is a very acceptable treatment, but new techniques and materials now offer some approaches that make the dentistry look much more natural and esthetic.

inflamed gums around bridge

Maya didn't like her old dentistry, especially the color and the way the gums looked around the bridgework.

One limitation of porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and bridges that were utilized for Maya is that they don’t let light pass through them like natural teeth do, a characteristic called being “semi-translucent”.  However today we have a solution for that, which is particularly appropriate for front teeth where patients oftentimes are much more concerned about how good their dentistry looks.  One material becoming very popular with cosmetic dentists in the last year or two are the all-ceramic non-metal restorations utilizing EMax porcelain.

rancho santa margarita cosmetic dentistry

Dr. Huefner reshaped Maya's uneven gums with the dental gum laser, then he replaced the old bridgework with all-ceramic restorations and placed porcelain veneers on her cuspids and bicuspids. The result was a beautiful smile and whiter natural-looking teeth.

When we took photos of Maya’s teeth and smile some another undesirable things became quite obvious – the gums around her front two teeth weren’t at the same level (i.e. one front tooth, the false tooth on the bridge, looked longer than the natural tooth) and the gums were red and inflamed!   When we gum inflammation on one isolated tooth it generally indicates that the restoration on that tooth either doesn’t fit properly (i.e. it leaks) or that the patient is having a reaction to the metal underneath the porcelain in the crown.  Both of these problems can be solved so that the gums aren’t red and enlarged.

So we spoke with Maya about a new game plan.  We could replace her 3-unit porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge and single porcelain-fused-to-metal crown with an all-ceramic crown and all-ceramic bridge.  In addition, we would use our dental gum laser to adjust the shape of the gums around the one tooth so that both front teeth would have gums at the same level.

orange county cosmetic dentistry

All-ceramic dentistry allowed Dr. Huefner to give Maya the beautiful smile that she had always wanted.

Before we finalized our treatment plan we asked Maya one last question, “Now, will that make you happy if the four front teeth match all your other teeth, or do you want all your teeth whiter?”
Maya’s answer was that in her profession as an esthetician appearances are very important.  If she could afford it, she really wanted all her upper teeth to be whiter and get away from that yellowish color that her teeth and bridge currently had.  Her teeth were shade A2 on the tooth shade guide.  She really wanted them to be shade BL2 on the tooth shade guide.

Thus, after working out comfortable financial arrangements with Maya we added placing several porcelain veneers to Maya’s cuspids and bicuspids as part of our treatment plan. The cosmetic dentistry for Maya went pretty straight forward.  We started with bleaching her lower teeth and using our dental gum laser to reshape the gums around her front tooth.  Then we placed ten all-ceramic restorations (one 3-unit all-ceramic bridge, one all-ceramic crown and six porcelain veneers).

The final results were amazing.  A rich looking, perfectly balanced smile with whiter, naturally looking teeth.  No one would every imagine that Maya was missing one of her front teeth!

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