August 15, 2018

Planning Your Smile Makeover

If you are embarrassed to show your teeth when you smile, it may be time to consider a smile makeover. Today’s cosmetic dentistry techniques, materials, and technology can address virtually any flaw that is compromising the look of your smile – including cracked teeth, stained teeth, uneven teeth, broken teeth, and gaps between teeth.

Our experienced Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner has been helping patients throughout the Laguna Niguel area transform their smiles for decades. When planning your smile makeover, we will consider several different factors, including:

  • The specific cosmetic dental problems you want to correct
  • Your own goals for your smile
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your budget

There are usually many different ways to fix a certain smile flaw, which gives you flexibility when choosing the treatments and procedures you want to include with your smile. In some cases, only a single treatment (such as porcelain veneers) may be necessary for a full smile makeover. Other patients may need a combination of treatments – such as teeth whitening, dental crowns, and porcelain veneers – in order to achieve the results they are looking for.

Dr. Huefner will examine your teeth and make a personalized recommendation based on the factors discussed above. The most effective options will be presented to you through our advanced patient education software. If porcelain veneers will be part of your smile makeover, Dr. Huefner can fit you with a “trial smile” of temporary restorations so you can test out your new smile design before we make it permanent.

If you are ready to discuss your smile makeover options in more depth with an experienced Orange County cosmetic dentist, please contact Huefner Sensational Smiles today or call (949) 495-6322 to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, and surrounding areas of Orange County, California.

Combining Teeth Whitening with Porcelain Veneers

Teeth whitening and porcelain veneers are two of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures we perform. Alone, each procedure can dramatically transform the appearance of your smile. However, for certain candidates, they are most effective when used together.

Porcelain veneers are generally used on the teeth that show when you smile (called your “smile line”). Different people will show a different number of teeth when they smile; for example, some only show six or eight, while others with wider smiles – such as Julia Roberts – show twelve.

Choosing the right number of porcelain veneers is important to ensure a uniform smile line; if you place too few veneers, there may be a significant contrast between the color of your natural teeth and the color of your veneers, unless you deliberately tint your veneers a duller shade.

Since most people want the brightest smile possible, using teeth whitening first – before veneers are placed – is often an excellent option. Teeth whitening can improve the shade of your natural teeth, allowing you to tint your veneers a brighter shade of white while ensuring your smile line is seamless.

However, it’s important to note that some teeth contain deep intrinsic stains that cannot be removed by teeth whitening. If this is the case, you may need to place more porcelain veneers to mask these stains. Our experienced Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner will discuss all of your options with you in detail after carefully examining the condition of your teeth.

If you have further questions about teeth whitening or porcelain veneers, 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.

Sensitivity after Tooth Whitening

After getting professional tooth whitening, you may experience tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity may be at its most intense a few hours after the treatment, and then should begin dissipating.

For some people, some degree of sensitivity lasts up to 24 hours after tooth whitening. If you experience sensitivity for more than 48 hours, you should contact our office. There may be an underlying dental problem requiring treatment.

If you want to change your tooth shade or color without tooth whitening, you should ask our dentist about porcelain veneers. Veneers improve the shape and overall appearance of your teeth, and they can be used to achieve long-term whitening.

To use veneers as a tooth whitening method, you’ll choose the color and other features of your smile design. Veneers allow you to customize the shade and qualities of your smile.

Once your veneers are placed, their tooth-whitening power can last many years, often as long as 10 years. Tooth whitening with bleach tends to last only one to three years. Veneers are highly stain resistant.

To find out what your options are for Orange County tooth whitening, please contact Dr. Norman Huefner, General and Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a consultation.

Mission Viejo cosmetic dentist fixes brown teeth with porcelain veneers

As a youth Lynn fell, chipping off part of her front tooth. After a root canal and composite filling the tooth was no longer chipped, but was dark brown in color. After thirty years of not having a nice smile Lynn finally decided to get great looking teeth with cosmetic dentistry by Dr. Huefner.

Lynn from Mission Viejo had a dental problem.  No, her teeth didn’t hurt, nor were they infected.  It was the way her teeth looked, especially the brown front tooth.  That really bothered her! Since she lived in Mission Viejo she first went to another Mission Viejo cosmetic dentist, but she said “that didn’t work out” and came to see Dr. Huefner.

It seems like every patient who comes in to see us has “a story”, and Lynn certainly had hers.  When she was a youngster she was playing with her friends and tripped, falling down on her face and chipping her front tooth.  “It really hurt”, she said.  A few days later the tooth started turning dark so her mother finally took her to the family dentist who did a root canal treatment and then a bonded filling.  The bonded filling and root canal relieved her pain and fixed the chipped tooth, but her tooth “never looked right after that”, she said.  Her front tooth was still dark and she went through the rest of her youth and early adult life with an ugly front tooth and without a pretty smile.

It was obvious that this had bothered her for so many years that before Dr. Huefner would treat Lynn he needed to know if she just wanted him to fix the one front tooth or to fix several of her teeth and make her a much nicer smile?  What end result was she really seeking?

Lynn said that she has waited for over thirty years to finally get her tooth fixed, but now that she was ready to finally get cosmetic dentistry she wanted to know what else Dr. Huefner could do for her to really get nice looking teeth and a great smile?

porcelain veneers mission viejo

Lower photo: Lynn hated her brown front tooth that had been fixed with composite bonding when she was a child. She wanted all her teeth to be the same color and to have straight, white teeth. Upper photo: Lynn got the beautiful smile with straight, white teeth that she had always wanted. Dr. Huefner bleached her lower teeth and placed ten porcelain dental veneers on her upper teeth.

Dr. Huefner asked her what exactly she meant by a great smile?  Lynn told him the following:

  • she wanted the brown tooth to match all her other teeth
  • she really wanted all her teeth whiter
  • her teeth were crooked because she never got braces as a kid, she would like her teeth to be straight

Mission Viejo cosmetic dentist offers Lynn solution to solve her dental problems

After attentively listening to Lynn and then examining her teeth and smile Dr. Huefner suggested that he do two things for her, and by doing both of these things she would have beautiful teeth and a great looking smile.  First, he would bleach Lynn’s lower teeth with Zoom teeth whitening.  Second, he would place ten porcelain veneers on Lynn’s upper teeth.   The porcelain veneers would correct all the problems that she listed, making her teeth much whiter, all matching in color and straight without needing to do any braces.  Furthermore, Lynn’s entire treatment with teeth bleaching and porcelain veneers could be completed in less than a month’s time!

Mission Viejo cosmetic dentist

Lynn's new smile with porcelain veneers on her upper teeth and Zoom teeth whitening on her lower teeth. Her entire treatment was completed in under a month's time.

After discussing the whole process with Dr. Huefner Lynn said that it all sounded really good but she would first have to discuss it with her husband.  A few days later Lynn called back and she was very excited.  “My husband wasn’t too keen on the idea of cosmetic dentistry for me at first, but when he finally realized how much it meant to me he said OK, it would be my birthday gift!  What a great guy.”

Lynn returned the following week to begin her teeth bleaching and porcelain veneer treatment.  Everything went smooth and kept on schedule.  She got her new smile with straight, white teeth in under a month, just as Dr. Huefner had promised her.

Dr. Norm Huefner, Orange County and Mission Viejo cosmetic dentist

Orange County Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Huefner Fixes Bugs Bunny Teeth with Dental Veneers

A professional dancer, Dana thought her Bugs Bunny teeth and gummy smile were hindering her professional career.

Dancer doesn’t like her Bugs Bunny teeth

Dana came to us with a special problem.  She is professional dancer and very conscious about her appearance.  She puts in hundreds of hours of practicing, has a great stage presence and gives great performances but her appearance on stage was diminished by her lackluster smile.  Her goal was to be the best that she could be and it was time for her to make her smile the best that it could be too.  She had already had consultations from a couple of dentists but didn’t have the confidence in either of them to proceed with their treatment recommendations.  She had heard from others that Dr. Huefner was a very reputable Orange County Cosmetic Dentist so came to see us for another opinion.

dental veneers oranger county and laser gum reshaping

Lower photo: Dana, a professional dancer, didn't like her crooked Bugs Bunny teeth and gummy smile. Upper photo: After lower teeth whitening, laser gum reshaping and eight dental veneers Dana had a beautiful, soft, feminine, well balanced smile with white teeth to enhance her dance career.

Before making any recommendations Dr. Huefner always wants to know the patient’s goals.  What is it that they are striving for?  What don’t they like about the way their teeth and smile currently look?  If Dr. Huefner could give her precisely the teeth and smile that she wanted, what would that look like?  Dana has studied her teeth very carefully and was quick to list the things about her teeth and smile that she didn’t like:

  • “My front two teeth stick out, I feel like I have Bugs Bunny teeth”
  • her teeth were too short
  • too crooked
  • too yellow
  • she showed too much of her gums

What she wanted was a bright, white smile that had beautiful straight teeth and less of a gummy smile.  When she was smiling on stage she wanted her teeth to enhance her image rather than detracting from it.

orange county dental veneers and gummy smile correction

Dana chose the color of her new dental veneers, shade BL2 from the tooth shade guide. Her smile makeover with laser gum reshaping and eight dental veneers by Dr. Huefner eliminated her Bugs Bunny smile and gave Dana much more confidence on stage.

Dana was delighted that Dr. Huefner felt her situation was relatively straight forward to accomplish her goals.  He recommended starting by doing tooth bleaching on her lower teeth and doing a relatively easy and uncomplicated cosmetic procedure called laser gum reshaping to make her gums even and reduce her gummy smile.  Then Dr. Huefner recommended placing eight dental veneers.  He would make her dental veneers whiter, which would make her smile look much better on stage. Dr. Huefner agreed with Dana about the Bugs Bunny look and that her teeth were a little short and crooked, and the dental veneers would correct that as well.  One of Dr. Huefner’s biggest goals was to make her very tiny lateral incisors (the teeth next to the two front teeth) a little bigger, as they appeared very tiny and disproportionate to the rest of her teeth.

After carefully listening to Dr. Huefner Dana really appreciated the well thought out course of treatment.  She was thrilled that her entire smile makeover would be completed in less than a month’s time, so she started her treatment right away.  Her teeth bleaching and laser gum recontouring with the dental gum laser went very smooth.

Orange County cosmetic dentist Dr. Huefner creates beautiful smile for Dana

During the course of treatment Dr. Huefner and Dana had many discussions about the color of her new dental veneers.  Since she really wanted great stage presence Dana chose a more white tooth color shade for her new dental veneers, BL2 from the tooth shade guide.  Although slightly lengthening her teeth with the dental veneers, Dr. Huefner made the dental veneers that were going to be placed on the six smaller teeth a little larger and longer, so they would be better proportioned to her front two central incisors and eliminate that Bugs Bunny look that she hated.  He also gave her a softer and more feminine smile design from the tooth shape catalog.

Dana’s smile makeover with dental veneers was completed on time and a great result achieved.  Afterwards, when asked what she liked best Dana said, “I just feel much more confidant when I smile on stage now.  I don’t know why I was so hesitant to have the treatment because it really went much easier than I ever thought.”

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentist

Patrick Gets Irvine Dental Veneers for Perfect Looking Front Teeth

Irvine dental veneers for perfect looking front teeth

four dental veneers Irvine to fix chipped discolored teeth

Lower photos: Patrick had chipped discolored teeth and had very high expectations for a perfect smile. Upper photos: We bleached his teeth to make them whiter, evened the gums on his two front teeth with the dental gums laser to make them symmetrical and then made Patrick four dental veneers. Patrick was extremely pleased with how perfect his front teeth looked.

Patrick, a patient who comes to us from Irvine was very discouraged.  He had chipped his front two teeth and his teeth had stained and darkened over the years.  “I used to have such a great smile, why is this happening to me and what can I do about it?” asked Patrick.  Knowing more about him helped us make our recommendations.  Patrick was a perfectionist.  Everything in his life had to be done a certain way and that way was usually the best way possible.

chipped front teeth before treating with either composite or porcelain veneers

Patrick had high expectations of a "perfect smile". His teeth were discolored and his front four teeth were chipped and slightly crooked. Many questions needed to be addressed before choosing the best treatment for him.

Answering Patrick’s question, Dr. Huefner explained that there were two things going on, the chipped teeth and the color.  The question of color had to be addressed first and fortunately was easy to fix.  His teeth had just aged and along with years of coffee (he definitely did not smoke), they darkened somewhat over the years.   We explained to Patrick that we could just whiten his teeth with teeth bleaching, which would whiten and brighten his smile a couple shades lighter.  Or if he really wanted white teeth, and to choose and control the desired color he could have dental veneers on the eight or ten upper teeth that he shows when he smiles.

Irvine dental veneers for front teeth

By combining three treatment modalities, teeth whitening, laser gum reshaping and dental veneers, Dr. Huefner created the perfect, natural looking smile that Patrick demanded.

“I want my teeth whiter and cleaner,” said Patrick, “but I certainly don’t want Chiclet white teeth.  They have to look very natural.”  So we suggested that Patrick first start by whitening his teeth with teeth bleaching and after seeing the results we could discuss what solutions we have to correct his chipped front teeth.  Patrick agreed with this, we started him on a home bleaching regimen and he returned a couple weeks later happier that his teeth were whiter, but anxious to discuss his chipped front teeth problem.

Composite or porcelain veneers

“How do you like your teeth now?” we asked Patrick.  He told us he was very satisfied with the color and all his other teeth, but just wanted his front teeth to looks as perfect as the rest of his teeth.  We offered Patrick two solutions to his chipped front tooth problem.  The first was just to do composite bonding onto the edges of his two front teeth, but that would still leave the other two front teeth a little crooked.  There were challenges with composite bonding directly onto the edges of his teeth, they oftentimes don’t last a long time and sometimes the color won’t match exactly.  The second treatment option was to do dental veneers on all four of his upper front teeth.  That would give Dr. Huefner and the most control over making Patrick’s teeth strong, long lasting and looking perfect.

Cost dental veneers

Patrick thought about it for a few minutes, but said he really wanted to know the cost of the dental veneers.   We explained that dental veneers actually cost several times more than composite bonding because it made out of porcelain rather that plastic, it requires two visits rather than one and it actually made by an extremely skilled ceramist in a dental lab.  That made sense to Patrick and he came to a quick decision.  If Dr. Huefner felt that dental veneers would give him the best results and hopefully perfect looking teeth, then he would have dental veneers done.

However Dr. Huefner mentioned one more thing.  The gums on Patrick’s front two teeth were not shaped the same.  If he wanted both teeth to appear the same shape and length then Dr. Huefner should reshape the gums around his two front teeth with the dental gum laser.  Then when he got his dental veneers he would have two perfectly symmetrical front teeth!  Patrick looked carefully at his uneven gums and agreed to Dr. Huefner evening out his gums with the dental gum laser.

Patrick proceeded with the laser gum recontouring and four dental veneers by Dr. Huefner.  The laser gum reshaping went very smooth.  He had a little discomfort the first 24 hours, but didn’t need to take any analgesics for pain, nor did he have to miss any work.  Also his four dental veneers were done in a period of just two weeks.  Patrick got the perfect looking teeth and smile that he always wanted.  Dr. Huefner had the dental veneers made with a masculine shape from the tooth shape library and slight natural texture to match his adjacent teeth.  The results was exceptional; no Chiclet looking dental veneers for Patrick.  Most importantly, the natural look really pleased him!  Look closely at the photos of Irvine dental veneers for Patrick and see if you agree?

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentist

Long Overdue for a Great Smile, Kirk from Irvine Now Looks Like a Million with New Porcelain Veneers

irvine porcelain veneers

After over twenty years Kirk was sick and tired of the yellow, unnatural look of his plastic veneers (lower photo). We replaced them with eight porcelain veneers utilizing a BL2 tooth shade and an masculine smile design (upper photo).

Kirk from Irvine was long overdue

An ambitious dynamo might rightly describe Kirk.  A very competitive, hard working businessman, Kirk always appears enthusiastic, energetic and positive in his attitude.  He quickly worked his way up the ladder and now is the head of his department.

As a youngster Kirk always had very discolored unattractive teeth and he was always very embarrassed and self conscious about what others were thinking about him.  When bonding first came out in the early 1980s Kirk had his family dentist cover over all the defects in his teeth with composite (plastic) veneers.  Looking much better, he was happy with the results for a while.  Then, several decades past and Kirk started comparing his smile with his peers.  “You know,” said Kirk, “I realized that my smile still needed a lot of help and I am really overdue for an upgrade.  It’s time for me to get serious about my appearance and replace my old veneers with new ones and give me the nice smile that I didn’t get the first time around.”

Listening careful to Kirk’s concerns, he pointed out that he thought his teeth looked “fake” and unnatural.  He wanted them to be whiter, not so thick and look like real teeth. And most importantly, he hated the way his teeth were discolored near his gums.

discolored composite veneers

Kirk was dissatisfied with the color, shape and thickness of his old plastic veneers. He also hated the way the plastic veneers were discolored around his gums.

After examining Kirk’s teeth and smile at his cosmetic dentistry consultation, we explained to him that although he most likely had a huge improvement with his old style plastic (composite) veneers, that today he could really benefit with porcelain veneers instead.  They could certainly be made whiter and more natural looking, and over time porcelain veneers wouldn’t darken and discolor over the years like his old plastic veneers did.   Another point was that he had only had six plastic veneers, and that if we were going to whiten his smile and truly give him more natural looking teeth that we would really need to make him eight porcelain veneers this time around.

Kirk agreed, he was really ready for a smile upgrade.  So, to give him the smile he really wanted we first whitened his lower teeth with Zoom in-office teeth bleaching, followed up by a supplement of one week of home tray bleaching.  Then we placed eight porcelain veneers for Kirk.  He chose a BL2 tooth color from the tooth shade guide and a masculine smile style from the tooth shape catalog.

beautiful porcelain veneers irvine

A major improvement in Kirk's facial appearance was achieved with his new porcelain veneers. The color, shape, natural color and translucency were all a major upgrade compared to his old, discolored fake looking plastic veneers.

The results were a killer smile for Kirk from Irvine with eight porcelain veneers

What were the results?  A killer smile!  Kirk got the great looking smile that he wanted his entire life. “Wow,” he said after viewing his porcelain veneers for the first time on his teeth.  “I love them!  The color, shape and realness of them are a hundred times better than my first set.”

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

Making Your Face Look Younger with “Anti-Aging” Cosmetic Dentistry Mission Viejo

cosmetic dentistry mission viejo

Judy wanted a younger, more attractive smile. We accomplished her goals by bleaching her lower teeth and replacing her old yellow colored porcelain fused to metal crowns with whiter colored all-ceramic Empress crowns. We also made her teeth slightly longer and gave them the shape of younger, more feminine teeth.

It’s a pretty certain fact that in this country most aging adults, who care about their appearance and try to look their best, would like to look years younger then they actually are.  The majority of people in their 40s, 50s and 60s don’t want to try to look like a teenager again, but most certainly wouldn’t mind taking 5,10 or 15 years off of the way their face looks!

Judy from Mission Viejo was one of those people.  She is a medical professional, takes her career very seriously and knows the value of looking her best to the public she serves.  However, approaching her 60s, Judy’s teeth and smile just weren’t helping her.  She had had a lot of dentistry over the years and numerous “caps” (actually porcelain fused to metal crowns) on her upper front teeth.  The problem was that she had very yellow lower teeth, so her dentist made all of her upper teeth match them…..YELLOW TEETH again!  Sure her dentist took care of her cavities and made her teeth look better than they were.  But Judy wanted a nicer, better looking smile.

After having those crowns done ten years ago Judy finally broke down and came to us to see what we thought about it.  Could we give her a beautiful smile, that complimented her professional image, and at the same time “maybe” take 5 or 10 years off of her face?

Actually what Judy was asking of us was very straight forward, something we incorporate into our cosmetic dentistry on a regular basis.  Making teeth look younger and improving the appearance of the smile is what most of our cosmetic dental patients want, and something we told Judy we could do for her as well.

We explained to Judy that there were three main things that we do to restore teeth than make the teeth and smile look younger:

  • Teeth yellow and discolor with age, so we make them whiter to make them look younger
  • Front teeth shorten with wear over the years, so if they are worn we making them slightly longer, or as long as they originally were
  • The actual shape of the teeth change with years as well.  They usually get thinner, smoother and most importantly, front teeth appear more squarish or chipped over the years.  To make the actually shape of the front teeth non-squarish, without sharp corners, rounding the corners like younger, unworn teeth, is usually our goal.
before teeth whitening and replacing old dentistry mission viejo

A health care professional, Judy knew the importance of looking her best with the public served and in dealing with other professionals. Her dentistry was done ten years ago and she felt it was finally time to upgrade the appearance of her teeth and smile.

We took photos of Judy’s teeth and smile and showed her how we would treat her smile.  First, we suggested bleaching her lower teeth to make them whiter.  After than, we advised replacing her old, yellow colored porcelain fused to crowns on her upper front teeth.  We would make them much whiter than they were, probably a bit whiter than her lower teeth would bleach out to.  Also, we would increase the length of her front teeth and make the shapes of her teeth a much more youthful and feminine shape.

Judy followed our recommendations, started bleaching her lower teeth almost immediately.  After doing the Day White home tray bleaching for one hour a day for ten days, Judy had gotten a pretty good result.  Then we replaced her old upper porcelain fused to metal crowns with all-ceramic Empress crowns.  We made her upper teeth whiter as we had planned, and also changed the length and shape of her teeth as well.

The end result? Did we make Judy’s teeth and smile look years younger?  You  be the judge.  How much did we accomplish?  Five, ten or fifteen years?  Judy was happy, we exceeded her expectations about what could be done for her with cosmetic dentistry.

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

Dingy Blackish Teeth Gets Beautiful Smile Makeover with Porcelain Veneers Orange County

dark gray-black teeth

Evelyn grew up in Texas where the natural well water had a very high minteral composition that was incorporated into her teeth while they were forming, severely discoloring her teeth and caused her to be very self-conscious about her smile. She wanted to get rid of the darkness of her teeth, and get a whiter, brighter smile. A combination of tooth bleaching and porcelain veneers were utilized to successfully treat her "dingy" smile.

Evelyn grew up in a rural town in Texas where the natural water supply had a very high mineral level in it.  Thus, as a child when her teeth were forming the high minerals were incorporated into her developing teeth, resulting in the very dark, grayish-black color.

She had heard about dental bleaching, and came into our office for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, hoping that just bleaching her teeth would solve her tooth-color problem.  We explained that bleaching is pretty effective whitening the color on teeth that are more yellowish in color.  Unfortunately, bleaching is not as effective or predictable with gray teeth, like she had, or teeth discolored due to tetracycline therapy as a child (i.e. tetracycline discoloration).  We also pointed out that she had numerous old worn and leaking fillings in between her upper front teeth, and those fillings will not bleach out and would replacement anyway.

porcelain veneers orange county

Bleaching Evelyn's lower teeth and placing ten porcelain veneers on her upper teeth transformed Evelyn's smile. She got the beautiful bright, white teeth that she had always wanted. A more opaque color porcelain was required to successfully block out the underlying dark tooth color.

Evelyn said she still wanted to try teeth bleaching so she did the Day White tray home bleaching technique (one of the most popular methods utilized by cosmetic dentists in the U.S. today).  After several weeks her lower teeth did well with the tray bleaching and became much whiter, but as we predicted her upper teeth did not.  She came back in to discuss other options with us.

For Evelyn and most people with severe tooth discoloration porcelain veneer treatment is often the treatment of choice.  It is much more conservative than “capping”  (utilizing “full crown” restorations) and gives the cosmetic dentist very good control at hiding the dark underlying tooth color.  However, when wanting white teeth while the underlying teeth are extremely dark it generally requires that the dentist use a more opaque porcelain to block out (hide) the dark color.  This deviates slightly from our normal technique whereby we use a semi-translucent porcelain that has very natural life-like and enamel-like qualities to it.  If semi-translucent porcelain were used with the underlying tooth is very dark, then the color would not be blocked out and the teeth would still have somewhat of a dark color.  Once Evelyn understood that we had to compromise slightly to achieve her goals, she said she wanted us to proceed with porcelain veneers.  “I don’t expect perfection,” she said.  “As long as my teeth look better and aren’t black anymore, I’ll be happy!”

We discussed how many teeth to place porcelain veneers on.  This was really dependent on how many teeth Evelyn showed when she smiled.  Since when she smiled wide she didn’t want to show black teeth on back bicuspids, Evelyn chose to do ten porcelain veneers.

Evelyn’s treatment went very smooth and was completed in under three weeks time.  She chose a BL2 opaque shade from the tooth shade guide and an “enhanced” smile style from the tooth shape library.

The end result for Evelyn was like night and day, a beautiful transformation from dark, blackish teeth to a bright smile!  Looking at the before and after photos, you can see why Evelyn was so happy with the final results of her smile makeover with porcelain veneers.

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

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

all-ceramic bridge and porcelain veneers orange county

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

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

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

inflamed gums around bridge

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

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

rancho santa margarita cosmetic dentistry

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

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

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

orange county cosmetic dentistry

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

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

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

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

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