October 23, 2017

Search Results for: emax

Congenitally missing teeth treated with very esthetic EMax all-porcelain bridges

all porcelain EMax bridges and two EMax porcelain veneers

Photo above: Teri was congenitally missing both of her upper lateral incisor teeth. For years she had two bonded bridges and six porcelain veneers, but she didn’t like many things about them, especially the color, shape and thickness of the teeth. Photo below: Dr. Huefner replaced her old dentistry with two all-porcelain EMax bridges and two EMax porcelain veneers. Teri got to choose the color, and chose the BL2 shade from the tooth shade guide.

Teri was congenitally missing teeth, both of her upper lateral incisors.  Embarrassed to walk around with two front teeth missing, her parents took her to the family dentist who placed two bonded bridges and six porcelain veneers.   Now having no missing teeth showing Teri was relatively happy with her appearance during high school and early twenties.  But when she graduated from college and entered the work force, she started rethinking how she felt about her two bridges.  She realized they just didn’t look as good as she hoped that they would be.  She liked her old dentist and thought he did the best that he could for her, but couldn’t help but feel that in this day and age, cosmetic dentistry probably offers new technology that could give her a much more attractive looking smile.  It was time for Teri to see a cosmetic dentist to discuss her alternatives.

After hearing Teri’s story, Dr. Huefner asked her specifically what didn’t she like about her old dentistry?  Teri said she wanted whiter teeth, that the bridges were too thick, that there was brown staining between each of her teeth and the edges of her teeth were shorter on her left side compared with her right side.

EMax all porcelain bridges

Upper photo: Notice how Teri’s right central and lateral incisors are shorter that the teeth on her left. Ideally the teeth should be symmetrical, the same length and the edges of the incisors follow the curve of Teri’s lower lip when she smiles. Lower photo: By Dr. Huefner making Teri’s bridges the proper length she had a much more attractive and natural looking smile.

Dr. Huefner was happy to tell Teri that there was an alternative available today that he thought would give her a much more attractive smile.  Rather than do bonded bridges for two teeth replacements, and then porcelain veneers for six teeth, or porcelain fused to metal bridges, Dr. Huefner advised using a new type of all-ceramic bridges called EMax along with two porcelain veneers also fabricated out of the EMax material on her bicuspid (side) teeth.  By doing this she wouldn’t have that unattractive staining line between each of her teethand they wouldn’t be bulky and thick like her present dentistry was.  Also, Dr. Huefner would make the edges of the teeth even and symmetrical in length and follow the curve of her lower lip in a natural way.  But one thing that really excited Teri, Dr. Huefner said that she could actually choose the color of her new dentistry, so she could get the white colored teeth that she had always wanted.  She chose shade BL2 from the Dr. Huefner’s tooth shade guide.

Teri was excited to hear Dr. Huefner’s recommendations and began her treatment almost immediately.  Her entire treatment, EMax bridges and veneers went smoothly and just as Dr. Huefner had planned.  Teri’s new smile makeover with two all porcelain EMax bridges and two EMax porcelain veneers was completed in just under a month’s time.  As you can see from the photos, Teri got a terrific result and her new smile looks much more attractive by using a better design and all porcelain EMax material rather than traditional porcelain fused to metal bridges that dentists have been using for the past three quarters of a century.

For patients not able or willing to have dental implants to treat their congenitally missing teeth, EMax all porcelain bridges should be given much considerations based on its many advantages and superior esthetics.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Laguna Niguel cosmetic dentist serving Orange County and surrounding cities of Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Irvine and Newport Beach

John Gets a “Wow” Smile

John is a professional man, an x olympic athlete and is a competitive roper.  After years of seeing his smile show signs of wear and not helping him “look as good as he could” he decided it was time to have his mouth restored with cosmetic dentistry.  Dr. Huefner restored John’s smile with emax porcelain (Ivoclar NA), shade BL2, masculine smile design.  Dr. Huefner’s ceramist is Dave Stohlman, at L.K.Dental Studio.


John was handsome before having his dentistry, but now he has a "wow" smile.

John was handsome before having his dentistry, but now he has a “wow” smile.

Full mouth reconstruction with cosmetic dentistry.

Full mouth reconstruction with cosmetic dentistry.

Better shaped teeth, whiter in color transformed John's smile!

Better shaped teeth, whiter in color transformed John’s smile!

Q: Is it a wise choice to replace white fillings with porcelain inlays?

Hi Doctor, I have white fillings in 5 of my molars. Will it be better to replace them with porcelain inlays to assure longer durability? And another question: how long have inlays been available? Are they new in dentistry? Why not always resort to them instead of root canal treating the teeth or as a preventative of root canals? Thank you.

Dr. Huefner’s answer:
I would say that it would depend on the size and condition of your existing white (tooth colored) fillings.  Typically if the filling is just a single surface (the top of the tooth) and less than 1/2 to 1/3 the width of the top of the tooth, tooth colored fillings are very adequate and will last for years.  However, realize that tooth colored fillings are a type of plastic and not nearly as durable as porcelain restorations used in inlays, onlays and crowns.
Without seeing your teeth, I would generally say that it is better to have porcelain inlays and onlays rather than large tooth colored fillings, or fillings that are done on 3 or more surfaces of the teeth.
Inlays and onlays have been in dentistry for decades!  However, they were done in gold.  In the 1980s and 1990s porcelain restorations that can be bonded to the teeth started to be the treatment of choice over gold, and remain so today.  Of particular note, my favorite porcelain material is EMax porcelain, which is extremely strong, and as such, can expected to last a very long time, if not a lifetime!

Lumineers vs. Regular Porcelain Veneers: What’s the Difference?

If you are considering porcelain veneers to enhance your smile, you may be curious about Lumineers and other name-brand variations that are advertised as an alternative to traditional veneers. The main difference between regular porcelain veneers and brands like Lumineers (along with Vivaneers, Nano, Emax, and Durathin) is their relative thickness. These ultlra-thin varieties usually require no preparation of the teeth before they are applied, which is appealing for many patients. Additionally, they tend to require less reshaping than traditional veneers.

However, ultra-thin Lumineers may not provide the best aesthetic results for some patients. If they are placed on teeth that are already sufficiently thick, you may be left with a smile that looks and feels overly “bulky.” Most people require some preparation of the tooth to ensure the veneer fits and looks as natural as possible.

Another factor to consider with ultra-thin veneers is their transparency. The thickness of our Empress porcelain veneers at Huefner Sensational Smiles easily conceals any stains and discoloration on the supporting tooth. In contrast, Lumineers are so thin that the darker color of a tooth may still show through to a degree, making your smile less bright than it could have been. However, if significant discoloration isn’t a concern in your case, then Lumineers may be a good option to consider.

To find out which type of porcelain veneers is right for you, please contact Huefner Sensational Smiles today or call (949) 495-6322 to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation. We serve patients in Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding areas of Orange County, California.

“I hate my ugly caps” – New Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers and crowns rescue Sarah’s smile

Sarah hated these two caps recently placed by another dentist. She said they looked awful and ruined her smile. Specifically she thought the two caps were too thick, too big, too white and didn’t match her other teeth or look real.

This is a true story on how Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers and crowns changed Sarah’s life.  Sarah, a beautiful mother of two children from Laguna Niguel, came to our cosmetic dental practice in distress, almost in tears.   “I hate my front caps,” she exclaimed! Sometimes as an Orange County cosmetic dentist the best thing I can do when meeting a new patient for the first time is just listen.  She went on to tell her story.

When she was a teenager Sarah chipped her front two teeth, so her dentist placed two porcelain veneers over them.  She was pretty happy with them.  But ten years later, as she changed from being a teenager to young woman, her gums changed a little and one of her porcelain veneers chipped.  She then went to a new dentist to redo the two porcelain veneers, but he said that there wasn’t enough tooth structure to do porcelain veneers, and that he had to do porcelain caps instead.  She consented to the treatment he recommended and he removed the two old porcelain veneers and made her two porcelain caps.  The results were devastating!  “I hate them!” she told us.  “They are too big, too thick, they look like chalk, they don’t even look like real teeth.  When I look at my smile in the mirror I cringe, all I see are two very ugly teeth sticking out!  Can you help me Dr. Huefner?”

Top: Sarah’s teeth before cosmetic dentistry. Middle: Sarah’s “trial smile” temporary crowns and veneers. This was her “test drive” to determine the shape, size, proportion, length and color of her new porcelain crowns and veneers. Bottom: The new porcelain crowns and veneers were tried in for Sarah to preview and approve. Sarah loved them and no changes or adjustments were made prior to cementing them into place.

When I examined her two caps it was easy to see what had happened.  Even though the two caps had recently been done, the dentist had not taken advantage of newer, more esthetic materials that are now being used by most cosmetic dentists.  Instead of using an all-porcelain material for the crowns, he used a combination of a white metal called zirconia that was layered over with porcelain.  The result was a restoration that was way too thick and didn’t transmit light naturally, like many of the newer all-porcelain crowns do today.  I explained to Sarah that if I replaced the two crowns that she had just had done with the newer material and technique, that her two front teeth would then match the rest of her teeth and they would be thinner and have a more natural shape.  She felt so much better knowing that there was a solution for her problem and she wouldn’t have to go around the rest of her life with to awful looking caps.

Then I brought up a very important point by asking Sarah if there was anything else she didn’t like about her teeth?  Because if there was anything else she wanted changed we should do it now.  It didn’t take Sarah very long to bring up two other things she didn’t like.  “Well, my other teeth are kind of small and lean in, and I have always wanted whiter teeth,” she told Dr. Huefner.

She was correct in her assessment, but what I learned is that Sarah didn’t just want her two front teeth to look better, Sarah wanted a beautiful smile.  With that in mind I suggested cosmetic dental treatment that would achieve her goals by redoing the two crowns she didn’t like with all-porcelain EMax crowns, and then placing six Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers (also utilizing EMax porcelain) on her other upper front teeth.  The color of all the eight teeth would therefore be the same, and the new crowns on the front two teeth would be made thinner than the other ones were, and the Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers would be made slightly larger but in proportion with her mouth.  Most importantly, she would end up with a beautiful smile.

Close up of Sarah’s new smile makeover with six Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers and two all-porcelain EMax crowns one week after final placement.

After discussing the recommended treatment with her husband Robert, Sarah called a few days later and scheduled her appointment.  Dr. Huefner gently and carefully, removed the two crowns that she hated and prepared her teeth.  He then made Sarah her “trial smile” with plastic crowns and veneers to “test drive” the new smile design.  This would enable her to make sure we made her new smile white enough and that she was hapy with the design of the shape and length of her teeth.  Sarah chose a BL2 shade for her final porcelain crowns and Laguna Niguel porcelain veneers, but asked for lateral incisors (the teeth next to the two front teeth) to be a little longer and slightly more squarish.  We communicated all of the design aspects to our ceramist Dave Stohlman at L.K.Dental Studio and he fabricated Sarah’s new smile.

Sarah continued to wear the “trial smile” for two more weeks.  Then she returned, the “trial smile” was removed and the new porcelain crowns and Laguna Niguel veneers were tried in for her final approval prior to cementing them into place with our Argon curing laser.

The final results for Sarah’s smile makeover was amazing! Perfectly proportioned teeth, beautiful natural color, a smile that she is extremely proud of! Clearly this is an example of cosmetic dentistry at its finest.

The end result?  An absolutely beautiful smile for Sarah and no more tears over the appearance of her teeth.

Dr. Norman Huefner, serving Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo and Irvine

The Real Housewives of Orange County Brooks Gets New Teeth

Vicki Gunvalson and Brooks Ayers of The Real Housewives of Orange County after Brooks' smile makeover with porcelain veneers by Dr. Huefner

In early November The Real Housewives of Orange County star, Vicki Gunvalson, called me on the telephone regarding her boyfriend, Brooks Ayers. If you follow the reality show, you know that Vicki is going through divorce and that Brooks is the new man in her life. Brooks, who is sharing his time between Mississippi and Orange County, didn’t, in his own opinion have a great smile. As a matter of fact, in Vicki’s words, “Brooks’ smile definitely needed some HELP”! Vicki went on to say, “Brooks is a great man. He’s smart, hard working, successful, handsome, and a lot of fun to be with. His teeth and smile just didn’t fit with the Orange County image. Brooks and I think that he really needs an Orange County smile!” Vicki informed me that she chose me to do a smile makeover for Brooks in order to transform his teeth into the great looking, straight, white, “Orange County” teeth. Vicki also told me that she would like to have a film crew in our dental office during parts of Brooks’ smile makeover to document the procedure which would air on The Real Housewives of Orange County show in the early summer. “Could you do that?” she asked me. My answer was, “Yes… absolutely!” I knew we would have to work fast because his cosmetic dental treatment would have to be completed within a month in order to be filmed for Season 7 of The Real Orange County Housewives which was to begin airing February 7th, 2012.

Brooks had very crooked teeth and his upper right lateral incisor was in cross bite. His teeth were worn short and his upper lip was slightly longer than normal, masking much of his teeth when he smiled. Vicki wanted Brooks to have an "Orange County Smile", with straight, white, perfectly aligned teeth. We had less than a month to accomplish this, as we had to complete his new smile before the last week's filming of "Real Housewives of Orange County."

Vicki brought in Brooks for his first appointment with us, accompanied by The Real Housewives of Orange County film crew. We interviewed Brooks to find out what he didn’t like about his smile and what he wanted to accomplish. He was quick to point out that he was embarrassed about his smile, that his teeth were extremely crooked and that he was not able to get braces as a child like his children have been fortunate to receive. Vicki contributed to the conversation by explaining that since Brooks is now living in Orange County and that they are a couple portrayed on a reality show, it is important that he look “the Orange County” part. That is when the fun began. Seeing the drama of Brooks and Vicki banter back and forth about his teeth, his lips, his jaws and all his little “flaws” that I needed to correct, I realized our biggest challenges were neither Vicki nor Brooks, but the short time span we had to complete Brooks’ treatment and the correction of the cross bite he had on his upper right, lateral incisor. I explained to them both that ideally he should have braces to move the tooth in cross bite into a normal position, but that would take several months to accomplish. The other alternative would be to remove the tooth in cross bite and make a bridge. Although we prefer not to remove a healthy tooth, doing that would allow me to have the best control over giving him the “Orange County smile” that he wanted as well as staying within his time restraints. They both agreed that if removing one tooth would enable me to create beautiful, straight, white teeth for him within a month’s time that they would do that. So off Brooks went to the oral surgeon and the tooth was removed.

At the "trial smile" (temporary veneer phase), Brooks and Vicki got to preview the smile design Dr. Huefner created for him. Specifically, the "trial smile" is used to determine if the patient likes the length, shape, contour and color of the "new teeth." If he (or Vicki?) didn't approve, then Dr. Huefner would change the design until it met their approval. From the "trial smile" design, Dr. Huefner's ceramist, Dave Stohlman from LK Dental Studio, would make Brooks' final porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges.

A couple days after Brooks had the tooth extracted he returned to our office without Vicki. We prepared his teeth for four porcelain veneers and two porcelain bridges. Then we created Brooks’ “trial smile” which are temporary veneers and bridges that we used as our template for his final porcelain veneers and bridges. This was a very important step, as the “trial smile” is used to verify that we are designing his new teeth to his liking in regards to the size, shape, length, color and alignment of his new teeth. It’s kind of like a “test drive” of the new smile. If you didn’t like the “test drive” on a car, of course you wouldn’t buy it! Good cosmetic dentists use the “trial smile” as a “test drive” of sorts, making sure that the cosmetic dentist and patient are all on the same page before the final cosmetic dentistry is made duplicating the basic design of the “approved” trial smile.

After wearing the “trial smile” for a few days, Brooks was asked to return with Vicki to give his approval. Of course, in this situation, I needed to get approval from both of them. I gathered that Vicki would want to be on board with the design, too. Without Vicki’s approval, I am very sure that both Brooks and I would get our own “reality check” from her. If there was something Brooks and/or Vicki wanted to change, I would make (or note) those changes and finalize the design before sending it to our ceramist, Dave Stohlman, at L.K. Dental lab to adjust.

Two days later, we saw Brooks, Vicki, and The Real Housewives of Orange County camera crew again in our office to film for the show. We proceeded to take photos of Brooks’ “trial smile.” After which, the three of us looked at the photos and discussed our goals. Were the teeth long enough? Straight enough? Was the shape a masculine smile design that worked well with his lips and face? Did the edges of his teeth nicely follow the contour of his lower lip when he smiled? Once we were in agreement regarding Brooks’ smile design, the actual color needed to be selected. They definitely wanted his “new teeth” to be whiter than the BL4 tooth color of the “trial smile.” I pointed out that since Brooks has a longer upper lip that naturally shadows his teeth, we should over compensate by making his teeth at least one or two shades lighter than they originally requested. Using a custom shade guide by LK Dental Studio made of actual EMax porcelain, Vicki and Brooks chose the whitest natural looking tooth color, BL1.

EMax custom shade guide LK Dental Studio

In choosing the color for Brook's "new teeth," we utilized a custom shade guide of EMax porcelain made by our ceramist, Dave Stohlman at LK Dental Studio. Right, top to bottom: A1,B1. Left, top to bottom: BL4, BL3, BL2 and BL1. Brooks and Vicki chose BL1 for his new porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges.

Now that the details of the smile design were agreed upon, there wasn’t any guesswork for our ceramist, Dave Stohlman, at LK Dental Studio to follow. Once I gave Dave the specific details that Vicki, Brooks and I required, he added in the artistic details – that master ceramists like him do – to make the cosmetic dentistry look exceptionally beautiful and extremely lifelike. Brooks was instructed to wear his “trial smile” (temporary veneers and bridges) for another week while Dave was completing his porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges.

Brooks had an amazing transformation with his smile makeover with porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges. We not only made his new teeth considerably whiter and slightly longer, but they were now straight, without any cross bite. The shape of the teeth created a very masculine smile and improved his self confidence.

The following week, Brooks returned without Vicki. We gently removed his temporary veneers and tried on his porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges for his approval. He loved the BL1 tooth shade and the masterfully created porcelain veneers and porcelain bridges that Dave made for him. We then bonded Brooks’ cosmetic dentistry into place with a porcelain bonding laser and he left very happy with his new smile. The real test would be the following day….”the reveal”…..when Vicki would see Brooks for the first time with his “Orange County Smile.”

The before and after photos of Brooks' teeth show an amazing transformation. One might think that orthodontic braces would have been the only way that crooked teeth could be made straight. However, it was clear that a patient with as many dental problems as Brooks, that cosmetic dentistry is oftentimes the treatment of choice. Can you see which tooth had been removed and replaced with a porcelain bridge?

The next day Brooks returned for his normally scheduled post-insertion adjustment accompanied by The Real Housewives of Orange County camera crew. We took our final photos of Brooks’ completed smile makeover while anxiously awaiting Vicki’s arrival. Once Vicki arrived, we brought her back to our studio/consultation room and for the first time she saw Brooks with his new smile. I’m not going to spill the beans about the drama of “the reveal” visit – you’ll just have to tune in and watch Season 7 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. I will spill the beans about one thing, Brooks and Vickie were both so delighted with the results that they both returned together the following week and we did a “couple’s photo shoot” for them (see photo collage at top of the blog).

Brooks Ayers, Vicki Gunvalson's boyfriend and one of the "stars" on the Real Housewives of Orange County reality show needed an "Orange County Smile." We transformed his "crooked, discolored, Mississippi" smile into a stunning "Orange County Smile." No longer is Brooks self-conscious about his teeth and smile.

This professional quality portrait photo shoot that my assistant, Kathy, and I did for Brooks and Vicki is a gift we actually have been doing for most of our smile makeover patients over the last eight years. These photo portraits serve to celebrate our patients’ “new smiles” and new beginnings that their beautiful teeth and improved appearances have created.

In a cosmetic dental practice like ours, we deal with complex smile makeovers like we did for Brooks all the time. But for us, having a film crew in our office while doing such intense dentistry in an extraordinarily short period of time was a new and challenging experience. As you might imagine, there was definitely some stress involved, but we love taking on new challenges and we certainly enjoyed our experience with The Real Housewives of Orange County reality show. In the end, Vicki was pleased with the results and we were pleased to have met her high level of expectation. I’m also very sure that if she wasn’t pleased, she certainly would have communicated that with me.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of San Clemente, Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita and Lake Forest, CA.



Orange County Lumineers Correct Tooth White Spots

tooth white spots

Lower photo: Courtney had white spots and blotches on her front teeth and very translucent tooth edges that showed as a grayish-black band. Needless to say, as a young lady in college she was very embarrassed and displeased with the appearance of her teeth. Upper photo: Dr. Huefner placed four ultra thin porcelain veneers to cover over her tooth discolorations, giving her even colored teeth with a very attractive natural color.

Courtney from Orange County is a beautiful young lady attending college in Northern California.  She went through braces as a youngster, so had straight teeth, but that wasn’t her dental problem.  She was very self conscious and unhappy because her teeth had some severe discoloration problems.  She came to our Orange County cosmetic dental practice in Laguna Niguel to see what recommendations Dr. Huefner had to get rid of her tooth white spots and gray tooth edges and make her front teeth beautiful.

At a glance one could see what Courtney was concerned with.  She had large tooth white sports in her teeth along with very grayish black edges.  Before making recommendations Dr. Huefner explained to Courtney exactly what those tooth white spots discolorations were.  She had two different types of tooth white spots, which were actually enamel hypocalcification marks.  One type of tooth white spots, the largest offender, occurred during the actual forming of the tooth way before her teeth erupted into her mouth around age 7-8.  Most likely it was due to some metabolic disruption, possibly due to a fever, trauma to her baby teeth or having too much fluoride.  The second type of tooth white spots occurred around the areas where she had her braces.  She didn’t brush her teeth well back then, plaque built up around her braces and started the first phase of cavities, acid from the plaque started dissolving the surface calcium out of her teeth.  Fortunately she got out of braces early enough before severe decay occurred, which would have turned the tooth white spots around the braces into brown spots.

Orange County Lumineers

Lower photo: Discolored teeth before cosmetic dentistry. Middle photo: Courtney with her four temporary veneers. Upper photo: Final smile makeover with four Lumineers on her four front teeth and buffing out the superficial tooth white spots on several of her other teeth.

The other type of discoloration that occurred in the edges of her front teeth was actually a variation of normal enamel translucency of the edges of the teeth.  In Courtney’s case she had much more translucency of the enamel than most people and that translucency shows up as a grayish black color.  Many children have this when their teeth first come in, but as they get older the edges wear down naturally and that enamel translucency around the tooth edges disappears.

After understanding what the tooth white spots and blackish-gray discolorations were Courtney asked what Dr. Huefner could do to solve her tooth-color problem and make her front teeth all one color, a natural white tooth color?  The solution for Courtney was to make four ultra thin porcelain veneers.   Lumineers, Durathin Veneers and Nano veneers and Emax ultra thin veneers are all variations of the ultra thin veneers used by cosmetic dentists when appropriate.  Courtney’s situation ultra thin veneers were definitely Dr. Huefner’s treatment of choice!

Since her severe discoloration problems were confined to just the front four teeth, Dr. Huefner only had to place Lumineers on those four teeth.  The smaller white spots on the side teeth were very shallow and superficial and to Courtney’s delight Dr. Huefner was able to remove those by just some gentle buffing out with his dental polishers.

In making Courtney’s Lumineers to hide her tooth white spots a two step process was utilized.  First Dr. Huefner prepared her four incisors for ultra thin Lumineers , impressions of her teeth were taken and sent to the lab and Dr. Huefner make Courtney four temporary veneers.  Two weeks later Courtney’s Lumineers were completed by the ceramist, she returned, Dr. Huefner gently removed her four temporary veneers, then tried on the four Lumineers to get Courtney’s approval, and then they were permanently cemented into place with the dental bonding laser.

The results Dr. Huefner achieved for Courtney was superb and she returned to college a very happy young lady with a beautiful smile!

Dr. Norman Huefner, Laguna Niguel cosmetic dentist, Orange County, CA


Dental Implant to Replace Laguna Niguel Man’s Missing Front Tooth

Laguna Niguel dental implant with zirconia abutment and all porcelain crown

Lower photo: After the dental implant had healed a tooth-colored zirconia abutment was attached to the dental implant. Upper photo: On top of the zirconia abutment an all-porcelain crown was placed that matched Mark's adjacent teeth.

Dental Implant solves missing front tooth problem for Laguna Niguel man by Dr. Huefner

Mark, a Laguna Niguel businessman in his 40s had injured his front tooth playing football as a youth.  It abscessed and he had to have a root canal treatment to save it.  Over the years it just never “felt right.”  Finally one day he had pain and swelling around the front tooth and after taking an x-ray of the tooth we determined that the tooth had fractured all the way down the root and had to be extracted.  Mark was devastated! “Oh no, I can’t believe it.  All the rest of my teeth are great and now I’m going to lose my front tooth.”  We assured Mark that he is so fortunate to have been able to keep that injured tooth for so many years and now, with modern dental technology, he has two great options to replace his missing front tooth.

x-ray of dental implant and zirconia abutment

This is an x-ray of the dental implant after it had healed and the tooth-colored zirconia abutment was attached to it. The next step was to place the all-porcelain crown onto the abutment.

This was very good news to Mark.  “So what are my options?” asked Mark.  We explained that he could either have a dental implant or and all ceramic bridge.  We explained that if he chose the dental implant then we wouldn’t need to do any treatment to his other teeth and could actually use an all-ceramic crown over a tooth-colored zirconia abutment that fits into the dental implant.  His other alternative was doing a porcelain bridge, either the traditional porcelain-fused-to-metal porcelain bridge or the new all-ceramic non-metal EMax bridge.  However we went on to explain to Mark that by doing a fixed bridge it would also mean that we would have to place crowns on each of the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth.  After fully understanding his options Mark was adamant, he didn’t want to have to have crowns placed on his otherwise good front teeth that would be necessary if he chose to have a porcelain bridge, so a dental implant was definitely the way he wanted to go.

Upper front tooth with dental implant Laguna Niguel

The end result for Mark was a very natural looking smile that didn't even hint that he was missing a front tooth and had a dental implant.

So now that we knew which treatment Mark wanted to solve his missing front tooth dilemma we needed to do two other things.  First, make a temporary replacement tooth so that Mark didn’t have to walk around with a tooth missing in the front of his mouth.  We did this by making a removable appliance for Mark called a “Maxillary flipper”.  Second, we would schedule Mark’s visit with our oral surgeon to remove the infected broken tooth and place the dental implant.

Mark’s treatment went really smooth.  Our oral surgeon extracted the broken front tooth and placed the dental implant and the Maxillary flipper.  Mark left the oral surgeon’s office wearing the temporary replacement tooth (i.e. Maxillary flipper) so it was not apparent to anyone that he was actually missing a front tooth.  After several weeks his infection had gone away and the implant had healed.  Our next step was to place a tooth-colored zirconia abutment into the dental implant.  The abutment would serve the purpose of the natural tooth, allowing us to place the all-ceramic crown over the zirconia abutment.

The end result really pleased Mark!  His infection and pain were gone and he now has a great looking replacement for his  missing tooth and got back his great looking smile.  When looking at Mark the implant and crown matched his other teeth so well that one wouldn’t even imagine that he is actually missing one front tooth.  This Laguna Niguel man is very pleased with his natural looking dental implant and the treatment we provided him at Dr. Huefner’s dental practice.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentist

How much do porcelain veneers cost in Orange County, CA

Orange County Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers by Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County, CA

Connie wrote, “How much do dental veneers cost in Orange County, CA?

Connie, this is probably one of the most frequent cosmetic dentistry questions I’m asked.  But before can answer it there are some things I need to know from you.  First, what type of veneers are you referring to?  Hand sculpted composite (plastic) veneers or porcelain veneers made by a lab?  If the former, are you needing a veneer on just one tooth, custom matching all the other teeth, or multiple teeth and choosing a color from the tooth color shade guide?  If porcelain veneers, are you referring to just one tooth and requiring that our ceramist from our lab custom match your adjacent teeth, or again are you wanting multiple teeth porcelain veneered and would we be able to choose the color from a standard tooth shade guide?

Another question pertaining to porcelain veneers is are you referring to no-preparation veneers like Lumineers, minimal preparation veneers, standard preparation veneers or moderate-plus preparation as would be necessary when there are large cavities or fillings or the teeth are significantly out of normal alignment?

Again, if referring to porcelain veneers, are you referring to feldspathic veneers or stronger and generally longer lasting veneers like pressed-ceramic Empress or EMax veneers?

Another question is what are your personal expectations?  Do you expect an absolute “ideal” result of “perfection” ?  Do you have a good foundation of teeth and gums to work with?  Is your mouth asymmetrical? How many teeth do you see when you smile? How difficult will your treatment be?  In addition to all the aforementioned questions how skilled is your dentist and in what city are you located also influences the fee? Are you wanting your treatment to be covered by insurance or is this elective cosmetic dentistry?

In addition to the actual porcelain material, the skill, expertise and artistic ability of the cosmetic dental lab which actually makes the porcelain veneers for the dentist greatly impacts the fee.  A cosmetic dental lab with considerable experience that specializes in cosmetic dentistry and porcelain veneers, will charge the cosmetic dentist more for their work than if he/she uses a general dentistry lab or a discount lab?

I’m sorry to ask you so many questions before answering yours, but the reality is all those things go into consideration when dental fees are determined for cosmetic dentistry.  The range of fees is considerable, and we’ve seen dentists in Orange County, CA, advertise veneers for as low as $600 while some of the “movie star cosmetic dentists” in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills charging as much as $2,000-3,000 per veneer.  Obviously not only are the fees considerably different, but I am absolutely sure that the results achieved will be different as well.  My point is that “a veneer” is not a veneer, apples are not oranges, and the two types of porcelain veneers will not be the same and neither will the fees be.  Like many other purchases you will make, cars, TVs, vacations, clothes, houses or electronics, porcelain veneers can be high end, in the middle or low end economy.  Some patients would be happy with a basic porcelain veneer that looks reasonably decent, while others want a result that not only looks great, natural and improves their appearance, but also is of the quality that will last them for many years to come.  I think you will agree by looking at our photos of porcelain veneers in our blog that we have made for our patients that our cosmetic dental practice strives to create beautiful, natural looking, strong and long lasting porcelain veneers.

Connie, the most important thing is that you get the results you want and that you’re given a fair fee based that will fit into your budget that is based on the time, effort, training, expertise, skill level and final results YOU EXPECT from your cosmetic dentist.  Yes, the amount of the fee is important but I suggest that you not make your decision as to the dentist on fee alone.  Many times affordability and payment plans offered by the dental office will enable patients on a budget to still get the best cosmetic dentistry to meet their goals.

BL1 BL3 tooth shade

Alicia didn't like the appearance of her porcelain veneers done by another dentist (lower photo). She wanted whiter teeth, smoother front surface, thinner teeth and a more "perfect" smile. We replaced her BL3 shade feldspathic veneers done by her previous dentist with BL1 shade Empress veneers (upper photo) done by master ceramist Dave Stohlman at LK Dental Studio. To Alicia's delight, we achieved her goals of a "perfect" smile.

In our cosmetic practice at least one third of all the cosmetic dentistry we do is REDOING work done by other dentists that have not achieved the results that their patient wanted or expected.  Many of these patients based their initial decision on fee alone and they were subsequently disappointed.  As a cosmetic dentist who has been in practice here in Orange County for over thirty years I can state categorically that doing dentistry right the first time is much easier than redoing another dentist’s work the second time around.  You would best served to have your dentistry satisfy your expectations THE FIRST TIME!  Choose your cosmetic dentist well.

Complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation

Connie, in order to do that I strongly suggest that you interview your cosmetic dentist, explain your goals and expectations, have him/her evaluate your smile and discuss with you the proposed treatment, answer many of the questions I’ve previously asked you, and give you an estimate of the fee for the cosmetic dentistry and/or porcelain veneers.  Get a couple opinions, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.  Since you are in Orange County we would be happy to offer you a complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation.  At that appointment we will answer your questions, discuss what type of porcelain veneers, how many would be indicated and the costs to achieve your goals. This is really the best first step to determine if cosmetic dentistry and/or porcelain veneers are for you!

Good luck, and again, sorry to give you such a long-winded diatribe about how much porcelain veneers cost in Orange County to what at first would seem to warrant a one-word answer.

When a Front Tooth is Missing and It’s Time to Replace an Ugly Porcelain Bridge and Make a Younger Looking Smile

enhanced smile style and non-metal all-porcelain bridge orange county

Sara chose the best treatment to restore her older, ugly bridgework with obvious black lines around her gums and give her a more attractive and younger looking smile. We replaced her old porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge with a non-metal all-ceramic bridge and also placed seven porcelain veneers. She chose a BL2 shade from the tooth shade guide and "enhanced" smile style from the tooth shape catalog. The end result was she got a whiter, more youthful looking smile; a beautiful result to help make an incredible lady look her very best.

Sara knocked out one of her front teeth as a teenager.  In her twenties her family dentist made her a porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge.  Twenty-five years passed and the bridge served her well.  It was very functional and wasn’t obvious that she was missing one of her front teeth.

However, the appearance of her teeth and smile did change.  Sara’s gums receded around all of her teeth, but it was particularly noticeable around the two teeth that anchored her porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge.

Now approaching fifty, decades had its toll on Sara’s teeth, gums and porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge. When she smiled everyone could see black lines around her bridge at her gum line and the dark roots underneath were also very noticeable.  Sara is an attractive lady and her porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge was now greatly detracting from her smile and appearance!  She was now motivated to replace her old bridgework that had served her so well for almost three decades.

Sara wanted us to replace her old porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge.  But before making any specific recommendations it was important that Sara tell us her expectations.  Did she:

  • just want to replace the bridge, matching the color to her other teeth?
  • if so, did she want another porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge or one of the newer types (EMax or Porcelain pressed to Zirconia, both non-metal all-porcelain bridges) that wouldn’t ever have any black metal lines showing and would look more like natural teeth
  • or, did she want to have her smile greatly improved by covering up all the areas of recession and erosion around her gum line with porcelain veneers?
  • if she did both porcelain veneers and a non-metal all-porcelain bridge then instead of matching the older, yellow color she could have them all done with a whiter more attractive and natural-looking color and end up with a smile that could look 20-30 years younger than she currently has

After talking in great length about all of these options Sara that she definitely did not want another porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge and really liked the idea of a non-metal all-ceramic bridge and porcelain veneers on her other teeth.    “I’ve been waiting to fix my teeth again and get a nice smile for years now,” Sara said.  “If I’m going to do it again, I want it to look really good.  I want the best you can do for me!”

It was very obvious that Sara getting a “new smile” was very important to her.  We were able to work out a convenient payment schedule that allowed her to get the treatment she really wanted,  seven porcelain veneers and a non-metal all-ceramic bridge.  Sara chose a BL2 shade from the tooth shade guide and an “enhanced” smile style from the LVI tooth shape catalog.

And the results?  Look at the before and after photos and judge for yourself!

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
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