August 19, 2018

Orange County Porcelain Veneers for Mrs. Globe Tracy Kemble

Orange County porcelain veneers

Tracy Kemble, former Mrs. Globe Pageant winner and current director of the pageant and Women In Need Foundation had smile makeover with twenty porcelain veneers by Dr. Huefner

Tracy Kemble is a former Mrs Globe pageant winner and current director of the Mrs. Globe Pageant.  She is an amazing woman, stunning and beautiful with many accomplishments including author, public speaker, model, nationally recognized authority on domestic abuse and director of the Women In Need Foundation.  One would think that she had everything she ever wanted, but she didn’t.  She didn’t have the beautiful smile that she had always wanted because her teeth were discolored, crooked and short.

Lower photo: Tracy’s teeth were crooked, short and discolored. Upper photo: Dr. Huefner placed ten Orange County porcelain veneers on Tracy’s upper teeth, giving her an incredibly beautiful new smile. Several months later Tracy returned to Dr. Huefner and had him place ten more Orange County porcelain veneers on her lower teeth to complete her smile makeover.

Orange County Porcelain Veneers fix Tracy’s crooked, discolored teeth

Tracy speaks from the heart and one of the principles dearest to her is self improvement.  Tracy was introduced to  Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner by Jill Frick, a previous Mrs. U.S.-Globe pageant winner whom we did a smile makeover for with Orange County porcelain veneers.  After seeing Jill’s beautiful smile, Tracy asked us to do cosmetic dental treatment for her as well.  Tracy was a perfect candidate for Orange County porcelain veneers.  Her teeth were great conditions with no cavities or fillings, they were just discolored and crooked, both things that are easily treatable with Orange County porcelain veneers.

Mrs. Globe Tracy Kemble cover model on AACD Journal

After completing Tracy’s Orange County porcelain veneer treatment she was featured as the cover model for the AACD Journal which included Dr. Huefner’s article describing her cosmetic dental treatment.

Before Dr. Huefner began her treatment he had a heart to heart conversation about her goals and what she expected of us.  First on her list was straight white teeth like Jill’s, but Tracy was very specific that she was also very concerned about having teeth that were “too white” that might look unnatural when she is on stage and has the spot light on her.  Dr. Huefner assured Tracy that he would do two things that made her feel very comfortable about proceeding with Orange County porcelain veneers. First, Dr. Huefner told Tracy he would be using a very natural “lifelike” porcelain that has enamel-like translucency, definitely not fake or artificial looking like some opaque veneers or crowns.  Second, that he would let Tracy choose the actual color of her new veneers.  That being said, Tracy had Dr. Huefner makeover her smile with ten Orange County porcelain veneers on her upper teeth.  With much discussion and pondering over the color of her new porcelain veneers, Tracy chose a BL3 shade from the tooth shade guide.  Along with Dr. Huefner’s recommendation, an “enhanced” smile style for the tooth shape library was used.  The “enhanced” smile style is one of Dr. Huefner’s favorite designs for women who want a feminine and youthful look.

Tracy’s new smile with Orange County porcelain veneers was spectacular!  She was so thrilled that several months later she came back to Dr. Huefner to have him treat her lower teeth also with ten more Orange County porcelain veneers.

After Tracy’s smile makeover was completed she became the cover model for the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Journal which also featured Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner’s article about Tracy’s Orange County porcelain veneers.

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


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.



Perfect Porcelain Crown and Porcelain Veneer Tooth Shapes Personalized for Your New Smile

Personalized Porcelain Veneer Tooth Shapes Major Factor in How Your New Smile Will Look

Enhanced Smile design for porcelain veneers or crowns

This is one of our most popular smile designs, the Enhanced Smile Style. The original design came from the LVI Smile Catalog by Dr. William Dickerson which was utilized as a template and then customized by Dr. Huefner and his ceramist Dave Stohlman from LK Dental Studio.

If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth and smile and are considering porcelain veneers or crowns beware!  If you want your smile to look real and natural, and fit your face and personality, then “cookie cutter” or “one type fits all” porcelain veneers or crowns very likely won’t do that for you.  Make sure to discuss your goals with your cosmetic dentist, to make sure that he can and will customize your smile in a manner that will give you the best results and meet your expectations.

natural length central incisors

This young lady in her mid twenties did not have any dentistry done on her central incisors. Note the length and shape of the central incisors, that they are longer than they are wide and that the corners are slightly rounded. Her central incisors are unworn and beautiful. Dr. Huefner did two porcelain veneers on her lateral incisors though. This is a very youthful feminine smile design.

When designing a smile there are three approaches your cosmetic dentist might utilize by themselves or in combination with each other in their goal for the perfect porcelain crown and porcelain veneer tooth shapes for your new smile.  This all depends on the training, experience, and of course very important, the artistic ability of the dentist.  But most important is how the dentist actively listens to YOU and then his effort striving to create an individual smile that achieves your goals.  This process is called smile design.  But understand that cosmetic dentistry is a true art form, and rarely would two different cosmetic dentists create identical smile designs for the same patient.

worn teeth restored with porcelain veneers

Lower photo: This lady in her 60s had severely worn and darkly discolored teeth. She wanted a bright, white, more youthful and feminine smile. Upper photo: This is the same lady after having porcelain veneers. The shape and length of her teeth were restored to the way they were when she was much younger. Specifically note that the veneered incisors are longer than they are wide, compared to the lower photo where they are shorter than they are wide. Also notice the veneered teeth have slightly rounded corners, where as her worn teeth has square corners. The color she chose for her veneers was a bleaching shade BL1, much whiter light natural colored teeth.

Several important things that the experienced cosmetic dentist should be specifically concerned with are obviously the tooth color and length of the teeth.  Also important are the types of restorations, all porcelain dental veneers, partial coverage crowns or all porcelain full crowns.  Things like specific type of porcelain material used, amount of translucency and surface texture are also of concern that effect the naturalness and end results.  However one of the very most important things that you and your dentist need to discuss and consider is the porcelain crown or porcelain veneer tooth shapes. Let’s discuss this very important aspect of individualizing porcelain veneers and crowns and the creation of an individualized “personality” by varying tooth shapes.

soft femine incisors

This lady in her early 60s has not had any cosmetic dentistry. Her teeth have discolored a little over the years but have hardly shown any signs of wear. Note that there aren't any sharp corners on her incisors and they are all slightly rounded. Her lateral incisors are shorter and much smaller than her central incisors and have a very feminine appearance. Cosmetic dentists try to keep these concepts in mind when designing porcelain veneers or crowns for women.

You probably haven’t ever thought about it, but the shape of each of the upper front six teeth play a different role in smile design. The front two teeth, called the central incisors, have the role of the perception of tooth age. The teeth next to the central incisors, the second tooth on each side from the front teeth are called the lateral incisors. They are the teeth that impart gender to the smile design. The next tooth back from the lateral incisors, the “eye teeth” or canine teeth, impart personality. I will explain how each of these teeth perform their respective roles.

masculine porcelain veneers

Three men with masculine smile designs. Note that the lateral incisors are almost the same length as the central incisors. Also that all four incisors have more square corners compared to the feminine smiles. Interesting footnote is that we have generally found that most women prefer to have whiter porcelain veneers than most men.

Rectangular central incisors with rounded corners appear more youthful than shorter teeth with square corners

First, the central incisors, which are the most obvious teeth to be seen.  Or if they are very short teeth and/or if the patient has a long upper lip sometimes these teeth are not even seen. In a young person the central incisors appear rectangular, longer than they are wide, with rounded corners, and are usually 10.5 mm to 11.5 mm in length. However, with age and wear these teeth shorten over the years, sometimes as much as 1-5 mm by the time one gets to middle or late age. Along with shortening, the central incisors oftentimes become more square in shape, so the tooth width and tooth length are almost the same.  If severe wear, the length will be less than the width.  Usually these short teeth have worn down to the point that they have square corners rather than the normal round corners of younger teeth. Thus, for someone who is concerned with their appearance and the perception of their age we need to specifically be concerned with how we make the length and shape of the front two teeth.  Personally, I tend to always try to make my patients look at least a little younger. That’s a good idea, isn’t it? I have yet to have a patient tell me they want to look older, however I don’t discount the fact that somewhere in this country there are a couple patients who might think that way.

pointy cuspids made less aggressive looking with porcelain veneers

Lower photo: This patient not only had very crooked incisors but his long pointed cuspids gave him a very aggressive smile. Upper photo: We placed porcelain veneers to straighten his crooked teeth, but also toned down his cuspids making them shorter and less pointed, giving him a more passive looking smile.

The important concept here is that by changing the length and shape of worn central incisors with porcelain veneers or crowns cosmetic dentists can give their patient a much younger looking smile. Also, teeth in general usually darken with age, so to compliment this goal when doing multiple porcelain veneers or crowns we almost always make the new porcelain veneers or crowns lighter in color than the teeth were before treatment.  How much we do to change the color and lengthen and change the shape of the teeth depends a lot on the wishes of the patient.

orange county porcelain veneers

Lower photo: This young lady had two main concerns. She hated her pointy cuspids and felt her lateral incisors were way too short and rounded. Upper photo: Note how we improved her smile with porcelain veneers. The shape of the cuspids veneers was less pointy and the shape of the lateral incisor veneers was longer and less round. She also wanted whiter teeth, so obviously we did that with the porcelain veneers too.

Shape of lateral incisors make smile appear more masculine or feminine

Next, varying the shape of the lateral incisors porcelain veneers can make a smile look more feminine or more masculine, imparting some gender characteristics. Thus for women, we shape the lateral incisors porcelain veneers to be more rounded at the end, and also slightly shorter than the central incisors. We call this a “gull wing” silhouette.

For men, we usually lengthen the lateral incisors porcelain veneers to be almost the same length as the central incisors and make them more square in shape, which makes their teeth look more masculine.

This genderizing of the teeth is very important for someone who wants a personalized smile.  Think how horrid it would look if the cosmetic dentist made feminine lateral incisors for a very masculine guy.  Or if the dentist made masculine incisors for a very feminine lady?  What is sad is that too many dentists do cookie cutter dentistry, making every smile the same and don’t personalize or genderize the smile design.  This whole process starts with the dentist and patient working to a common goal, and then their decision has to be communicated to the ceramist who actually makes the porcelain veneers and crowns.

porcelain veneers orange county shapes

These are a number of patients that Dr. Huefner has treated in his practice with porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns. Notice the variations in size, shape, length, color and proportions of each tooth. Which smiles are your favorites and why? Customizing and personalizing each smile design to the individual patient is extremely important.

Shape of the cuspid teeth influence the perception of personality – generally avoid aggressive or passive extremes

Considerations for porcelain crown and porcelain veneer tooth shapes do not end with the central and lateral incisors.  Probably the most interesting is the choice in shape of the canine teeth, as these are the teeth that most imparts “personality” to the smile design. Cuspids that are pointy, more prominent, and longer than their adjacent teeth impart a more “aggressive” smile. This is used most often when a patient wants to appear “more powerful” with their new smile. The opposite can be created by flattening or rounding the tip of the cuspids and making them less prominent, giving the patient a more “passive” appearance. This design would be used most often with a large person or one with many strong, dominant facial and body features who wants to soften their appearance with their porcelain veneers or crowns. Most patients prefer that we create for them a more normal cuspid, not leaning to either the “aggressive” or “passive” cuspids in our smile design.

I should point out again that this is all “dental art form” and much depends on the training, skill, experience, and most importantly the artistic ability of the cosmetic dentist.  There is no one “right” or “wrong” smile design, but what is most important that the cosmetic dentist discusses smile design options with the patient and that the patient have their input as to their preferences. Sometimes these are subtle differences with regard to shape, length and color of their new porcelain veneers and other times the changes can make a dramatic difference.

 Tooth shapes from LVI Smile Catalog by Dr. William Dickerson

This is the LVI Smile Catalog by Dr. William Dickerson, founder of the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies in Summerland, NV. It is advisable to just look at the general shapes and disregard the names and tooth colors.

But if you truly want natural looking teeth and smiles, one that goes with your face, personality and age you want to project, then definitely avoid cosmetic dentists with a cookie cutter one size fits all approach.  Interview your cosmetic dentist and take special note on whether or not the dentist listens to your concerns.  What recommendation does he have and what approach will he use.  Ask to see photos of his work.  In your discussions note any recommendations your dentist has as to smile and tooth design and any specific concerns about the length or shape of the porcelain veneer or porcelain crown teeth.

Choosing crown and porcelain veneer tooth shapes from a smile library

The Loren Library

This is Loren Library, another very popular tooth shapes library for porcelain veneer or crown shapes.

There are many cosmetic dentists who don’t prefer to personally design the smiles themselves and utilize another very popular and acceptable technique, choosing a smile design from one of the recognized smile libraries.  In our experience the two most popular libraries are the LVI Smile Catalog and the Loren Library.  From these libraries either the dentist, patient or both together can choose the desired tooth shape designs.  The upside of utilizing these catalogs are that virtually every combination of tooth shapes can be seen.  The downside is that with so many it can really be confusing.  Also, the names of the smile styles can often influence the decision.  For example the “Hollywood smile style”.  Many people with either hate or love that style just because of the name.  I caution against looking at the extreme styles.  In general either pointed or flat cuspids aren’t as popular, where slightly rounded cuspids are.  Also very flat incisors with very square corners or very rounded incisors aren’t as popular either. Slightly square or slightly rounded incisors tend to be better accepted by patient.  The most important function for these smile libraries are that they are a starting point, a place to begin the discussion with your cosmetic dentist.  Tell your cosmetic dentist your preferences and what you like about each individual style.  But also take heed and listen to your cosmetic dentist if he or she think that a particular style won’t look good or be appropriate for you and your type of face.  However the bottom line is that the final decision on the tooth shape should be yours.

As a cosmetic dentist there is nothing more exciting to me than creating the perfect smile for one of my patients who has old, worn out, crooked or otherwise unattractive looking teeth.  The right smile can give one more confidence and enhance business and personal relationships.  We have had many patients who got a smile makeover with porcelain veneers or crown that actually changed their life! The selection of the best porcelain crown or porcelain veneer tooth shapes is a huge part of this success.

Dr. Norm 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.

Orange County patient is a very clear example that demonstrates the life changing aspect of porcelain veneers

extremely discolored teeth before porcelain veneers

Thao had braces treatment which had straightened her teeth. But her old fillings, cavities and extremely discolored teeth had produced such an unattractive smile for her that she was very self conscious and ashamed to smile.

Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry

Thao, who recently moved to Orange County, was ashamed by her smile.”My teeth are ugly,” she said.  “I just finished braces and had some periodontal treatment, so they are straight now, but I want pretty teeth.”
After speaking with Thao for a while we learned that she immigrated to the U.S. from a country that had very little opportunity for dental care when she was growing up.  As an adult, she had huge discolored fillings and existing decay.  The result was that the appearance of her teeth showed straight, but unfortunately very discolored and extremely unattractive teeth!

She had learned that our dental practice is one of the leading cosmetic dental practices in Orange County and came to us to solve her “ugly discolored teeth problem.” Before making our recommendations we asked Thao what she had in mind?  Did she just want the fillings replaced and cavities repaired with new fillings or was she really looking for a more perfect smile?  She told us she wanted white teeth and all her life she wanted a pretty smile, so she ready now to get dentistry that gives her that.

Porcelain Veneers Often Treatment of Choice for Severely Discolored Teeth

As a cosmetic dentist, it was quite obvious to us that the best way to treat Thao’s severely discolored teeth problem was with porcelain veneers.   Although many dentists might place full porcelain crowns, in our opinion that would have required too much drilling away of Thao’s teeth.  Porcelain veneers are a much more conservative treatment that retains much more of ones tooth structure and has a much lower incidence of possible root canal treatment, especially on teeth like Thao’s with a history of periodontal disease and bone loss.

trail smile temporary veneers orange county

This is the "trial smile" of Thao's temporary veneers which enabled her to "test drive" the smile design that Dr. Huefner had planned for her. She was very pleased with the length and shape of her "trial smile", but wanted the color to be just a little bit whiter.

Test Driving Veneers with The “Trial Smile”

When we explained our recommended treatment with Thao, she quickly understood the benefits of porcelain veneers and how and why in our opinion that would be the best treatment method to give her the teeth and smile that she has always wanted.  The biggest problem that Thao had was that she didn’t know how she wanted her new smile made, but yet wanted to make sure that she would like her new smile.  She didn’t have any idea what color she wanted her new porcelain veneers, but definitely wanted them much whiter than her dark, dingy teeth were.  Also, how long would we make her new teeth?  And what shape?  She looked a many of the photos of the thousands of cosmetic dentistry patients we’ve treated over the past three decades in Orange County, which seemed to confuse her even more.

We explained to Thao that we had the perfect method to overcome her concerns, allowing her to become more involved in the design of her porcelain veneers and getting to see what she was going to get, and approve of the smile design before her new porcelain veneers were made.  The method we were referring to is one we use for almost every cosmetic dentistry patient that we make porcelain veneers for, the “trial smile” phase of porcelain veneers.  We would make preliminary temporary porcelain veneers for Thao, called the “trial smile“, with the shape, color and length that we felt would best fit her face, lips, skin color, age, etc., and let her “test drive” the design for several days.  Then she would come back to our office and we would evaluate her “trial smile” together.  If she wanted them longer or shorter, we would make those changes.  If the color was too light or dark, we would be able to tell the lab specifically what color she wanted.  Also, that we wouldn’t even have her new porcelain veneers made until Thao gave us her written approval of all the aspects of the smile design…the teeth shape, color, length, etc.

porcelain veneers orange county

Per Thao's instructions, her porcelain veneers were made just a little whiter than her "trial smile".

Now Thao was becoming more and more comfortable with having chosen Dr. Huefner for her cosmetic dentist and the whole process of having porcelain veneers made for her eight upper front teeth.
From then on out, Thao’s porcelain veneer treatment was a breeze.  We made her trail smile and she like the design so much that only made on change in the design, she wanted her teeth to be just a little bit whiter.  She signed off on all aspects of the smile design, so now our ceramist knew very specifically what she wanted and then proceeded on fabricating her new porcelain veneers.

Thao continued to wear her “trial smile” for two more weeks, then returned to get her new porcelain veneers.  We gently removed the plastic “trial smile” veneers, and then placed her new porcelain veneers on her teeth to preview and get her final approval.  She loved them!  After signing her final approval, stating that she accepted the porcelain veneers, we bonded them into place and she finally got the beautiful new smile that she had always dreamed of!

life changing porcelain veneers orange county

Thao never thought she was pretty. But after replacing her "distracting and unattractive" teeth with beautiful porcelain veneers it was obvious how really pretty she is!

This brings up an important question, what if Thao didn’t like the porcelain veneers that we made for her?  Well, the truth is that by going through the very detailed process as we do that that is rarely the case.  We do so much planning and communicating with our patients, that almost all of the guess work is over before the porcelain veneers are ever made.  But, if any or all of the porcelain veneers did not meet her expectations, we would have placed her back into her “trial smile” temporary veneers, and then had the lab make any changes that Thao specifically requested.  You can clearly see from Thao’s final photo that was not the case.  She loved her new smile!

Life Changing Cosmetic Dentistry

One of the most rewarding things about cosmetic dentistry that we really love is that by fabricating beautiful teeth we make beautiful smiles.  And, of course, this greatly enhances the appearance of the face and can be life changing for the patient.  No one could ever dispute that in Thao’s case this certainly is true.
A month after Thao’s porcelain veneer treatment she came back to our office and we did a portrait photography photo shoot for her.  When we showed her the best portrait of her she was almost in tears.  “I never thought I was ever pretty,” she said.  “I definitely feel pretty now!”

before and after porcelain veneers orange county

With her new porcelain veneers nobody would ever suspect that Thao's teeth were as discolored as they were. The homogenous white color of her porcelain veneers dramatically effected her facial appearance.

Words like that are what motivates us to be the best cosmetic dentist that we can be and to go the extra mile for our patients, to create for them the beautiful teeth that gives them an amazing smile.  We are so pleased that Thao got the beautiful smile that she had always wanted and we were integrally involved in this life changing process.

But Thao’s story doesn’t end there.  She just came back to our office a few weeks ago with some great news.  She is engaged!!!!  What a beautiful bride she will be.  There is no doubt in our minds that she will be smiling much differently for her bridal photos than she would have a year ago with her teeth the way they were then.  Congratulations Thao, you are a beautiful woman with a pretty smile!  You are very deserving and we are confidant that you will be a great wife to your new husband.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions about Thao’s porcelain veneer treatment.

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 and Rancho Santa Margarita

Actress Model with Spaced Peg Teeth Jump Starts Her Career with Porcelain Veneers Orange County

orange county porcelain veneers

Actress model Andrea after getting ten porcelain veneers. Cosmetic dentistry and photography by Dr. Huefner

Andrea from Laguna Niguel, Orange County, was aspiring to be an actress and model.  One big problem stood in her way, she had huge gaps and spaces between her teeth!  It was very obvious to her that needed to solve this problem if she was going to achieve her goals and “break into the film and modeling industry.”

spaced teeth peg incisors

Andrea felt that he malformed incisors with spaces between them would hinder her in her chosen career of modeling and acting.

Committed to her career and not afraid of hard work and doing “whatever it takes”, Andrea was very diligent in researching cosmetic dentistry.  When she came to our office for her cosmetic dentistry consultation she knew precisely what she wanted to accomplish.

“I need to fix the spaces between my teeth,” Andrea told us.  “When I smile my teeth look like a picket fence.”  She went on to explain her career goals and how important having a nice smile was to her career and future.

Upon evaluating Andrea’s teeth and smile it was very obvious what she was talking about.  She had moderate spaces between her teeth, but not because her teeth were too small, which it looked like at first glance, but because her incisors were malformed.  Malformed teeth such as she had are also referred to by many as “peg teeth” or “peg incisors.”

Many people get braces to try to close the spaces between their teeth, but in Andrea’s case that wasn’t even an option.  The treatment of choice for someone with malformed teeth such as Andrea had was porcelain veneers. When Andrea learned that her “peg teeth problem” could easily be corrected in just three dental appointments by placing porcelain veneers she was ecstatic!

enhanced smile design porcelain veneers

A very attractive and natural looking result was achieved for Andrea with ten porcelain veneers. The "enhanced" smile style was utilized and a BL3 tooth shade. The malformed incisors with spacing between the teeth was solved.

“Wow, that sounds great”, Andrea exclaimed!  “How many teeth would I need to have porcelain veneers,” she then asked?”  We explained that the four front teeth were the only upper teeth that were malformed, so a minimum of four porcelain veneers should be done.  However, if we only did four porcelain veneers for her we should match the color of her other visible teeth or it would be very obvious that she had porcelain veneers.  If she wanted whiter teeth, then at least eight, or possibly ten porcelain veneers would be the best way for her to be treated.

After carefully looking at her teeth and understanding the problem Andrea said that she really hated the yellow color of her teeth and definitely wanted whiter teeth.  After looking at how many of her upper teeth showed when she smiled she decided to have ten porcelain veneers placed.  Now that she had decided to do that the next decision for Andrea was to tell us how white she wanted her new teeth (porcelain veneers).

“OK, I know I want them whiter,” she said.  “But if I’m being photographed, on stage or in a film it’s really important that my teeth look natural, like real teeth,” she exclaimed!  After listening very attentively to Andrea’s objectives and requests we now had enough information to design the perfect smile for her.

porcelain veneers for model actress

Now with a beautiful new smile Andrea pursues her modeling and acting career with confidence.

In three visits we made and placed ten porcelain veneers for Andrea’s new smile.  We filled the gaps, as she requested.  We fixed the peg teeth (malformed incisor) problem as well.  Her porcelain veneers were made slightly longer than her natural teeth were.  We utilized the “enhanced” smile style for the shape of her teeth from the tooth shape library.  She chose the BL3 tooth shade from the tooth shade guide.  The BL3 tooth color is lighter than most natural tooth colors, but not an over the top white color that might look “too white” or artificial.  Slight surface texture was incorporated into the smile design, which imparted a very natural look, especially when light is reflected off the surface of the teeth.  Since Andrea is obviously young we also incorporated some slight incisal translucency, also a characteristic of younger people’s teeth.  All and all, a very natural and attractive smile design was achieved.

Andrea was extremely pleased with the end result of her new smile.  She has since moved to Hollywood and to date has modeled, been in a TV series on the Disney Channel and co-stared in film.

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

Congenitally Missing Lateral Incisors – Treatment with Conservative Bonded Bridges

congenitally missing teeth implants bridges

Above, Allie with two conservative bonded lingual bridges. With this treatment none of the front surfaces of Allie’s teeth required any drilling or tooth preparation. Below, Allie before her bonded bridges were placed. Implants were ruled out as being an acceptable choice for her treatment.

Congenitally missing lateral incisors

Congenitally missing lateral incisors, both of them, Allie was faced with tackling a major cosmetic problem that affected her smile and her face.  Her orthodontist straightened her teeth and when her braces came off at age 14 he attached two “false teeth” to her retainer. Thus when she wore her retainer it appeared that she wasn’t missing any teeth, but that meant she also had to always wear her retainer. Her orthodontist’s strategy was that at an appropriate age Allie could get dental implants or bridges. Over the next three years Allie got very tired of wearing her retainer all the time.  The “false teeth”, although looking better than having no teeth there, didn’t look good.  It was obvious to those who looked at her that they weren’t her “real teeth.”

Finally, as a seventeen year old senior high school senior, Allie came to us to discuss what options she would have to give her some “permanent teeth” before she went away to college.  Along with her parents, Allie was thinking that dental implants would be the way to go to replace her congenitally missing lateral incisors. Unfortunately there were two reasons why dental implants would not work in Allie’s case.  First, there was not enough room in the bone to place a dental implant. The area between the adjacent teeth on both sides where the tooth was missing needed to be wide and thick enough for the implant.  It wasn’t!  The second reason is that her orthodontist could not confirm with certainty that all of her vertical facial growth had been completed. If an implant is placed and the patient is still growing, then the natural teeth and gums grow with the face, but the dental implant does not!  A horrible esthetic result could occur.  So dental implants was not the solution to correct Allie’s congenitally missing teeth problem.

congenitally missing teeth bonded bridge

Allie had beautiful looking teeth without any decay, fillings or defects. It would have been very hard to justify conventional bridges that require that the front of her anchor teeth be prepared to accept full crowns that anchor the false teeth. One of the main advantages of modern, bonded “lingually retained” bridges is that the fronts of her teeth do not require any tooth preparation (drilling).

Fortunately there was a permanent solution to Allie’s congenitally missing lateral incisors problem.  Since she was missing two teeth, she could have two dental bridges. The conventional type of dental bridge is a porcelain-fused-to-metal bridge, and this requires that her adjacent teeth be shaped to accept dental crowns that anchor the false tooth in place. Since Allie had beautiful teeth without any cavities, blemishes or flaws whatsoever, it would be very hard for both the patient and cosmetic dentist to justify shaping those teeth to accept crown coverings.

Conservative bonded winged bridges were the solution

But the great news is that in Allie’s case she did not have to have  conventional dental bridges!  She was a great candidate to take advantage of modern, ultra conservative bonded cosmetic dentistry.  Allie could get two bonded bridges that would not require that the fronts of the adjacent teeth be shaped or prepared in any way.  Other names for this conservative type of bonded bridge are “bonded winged bridges“, “non-metal Maryland-type bonded bridges” or “lingually retained bonded bridges“.

The main point here is that as an Orange County cosmetic dentist treating Allie with new techniques I did not need to drill any of the front surfaces of any of Allie’s teeth to accept the lingually retained bonded bridges.  These conservative types of bonded bridges can be done with just very minimal tooth preparation on the back sides (dental term “lingual”) of the adjacent teeth.  The new bonded bridges are made without any unsightly metal (as the old type of “Maryland bridges” were), and are fabricated completely from natural looking tooth colored materials which are bonded onto the back sides of the teeth with the dental curing laser.

congenitally missing teeth treatment

Allie’s beautiful smile with two conservative “lingually retained” bonded bridges. From the photo one can see that she got a superlative result and this was without drilling any of the front surfaces of her teeth.

Allie and her parents were excited that we could offer her this new strategy of conservative bonded cosmetic dentistry.  They absolutely loved the fact that her natural teeth didn’t have to be drilled (shaped) to accept crowns that covered the entire tooth. They also were thankful that we were able to give her a permanent solution and at the same time circumvent her treatment without the need for surgical dental implant treatment.

Just a note here: We are strong advocates of dental implants, use them often in our practice, as dental implants are in many situations the best treatment choice for the patient.  However,  most cosmetic dentists will agree with me that in Allie’s case it was not the best treatment choice.

And, the results for Allie congenitally missing later incisors treatment ?  Absolutely beautiful!  No description necessary, see the photos and see for yourself.  This beautiful young lady from Orange County is now away in college enjoying her freshman year without showing that she’s congenitally missing her lateral incisors.

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 and Rancho Santa Margarita
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