August 19, 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.

Beautiful Smile and Perfect Teeth with Orange County Porcelain Veneers

Former Mrs. U.S.-Globe beauty pageant winner Jill Frick gets smile makeover by Dr. Huefner with Orange County porcelain veneers

The other day I had a conversation with former Orange County resident and Mrs. U.S. Globe beauty pageant winner, Jill Frick.  I had made Orange County porcelain veneers for her over ten years ago.  I was so pleased to see how beautiful her smile still was, and how beautiful the Orange County porcelain veneers I made her still were and how well they were still holding up.  Since then I’ve done smile makeovers with Orange County porcelain veneers for over a dozen beauty pageant winners, along with several models and actresses.  But Jill’s story is typical of someone who was beautiful to begin with, but after having Orange County porcelain veneers becomes even more beautiful and attractive.

Jill had composite bonding that over the years had been chipping away and discoloring. After discussing her goals with Dr. Huefner Jill decided it was time to upgrade her smile with a more permanent and better looking treatment, Orange County porcelain veneers.

It started out very simply, Jill had had plastic composite bonding on her front teeth that was done to overcome some of the cosmetic issues with older fillings and darkened teeth.  But plastic bonding, also called composite bonding, has certain limitations compared with the Orange County porcelain veneers that we use today.  Her plastic bonding wasn’t as strong and started chipping and discoloring.  It was at the point that she knew it was time for her to had her smile makeover redone, but this time with modern Orange County porcelain veneers instead of the composite bonding.

Before we started Jill made it very clear to me that this time she wanted her teeth to look much better than the composite veneers she already had.  She wanted her new teeth to be whiter, natural looking, and very elegant looking.  You see Jill had been a national spokesperson for the Women In Need Foundation’s abuse recovery program.  She was often on stage, speaking to groups about the program she was so dedicated to.  It was very obvious that Jill wanted me to give her my very best.  Without hesitation, I assured her that I would do just that!

This is the “trial smile” that Jill wore on her teeth after Dr. Huefner removed her old composite bonding. Dr. Huefner used these temporary composite veneers to determine Jill’s final smile design, specifically the shape, length, proportion and color of the final Orange County porcelain veneers that master ceramist Dave Stohlman would be making for her.

So, the first thing I did for Jill was bleach (whiten) her lower teeth and remove her old composite plastic bonding and place temporary veneers.  We call this phase of treatment “the trial smile”.  In one visit I custom made Jill ten plastic veneers of the color, length and shape of the Orange County porcelain veneers that I envisioned for her.  This was a very important step, a “test drive” so to speak, because if Jill liked the shape, length and color of her trial smile I would then duplicate that design in her final Orange County porcelain veneers.  The trial smile would serve as a template for them.  However, if Jill didn’t like the design, or wanted one or more elements changed, we would do that, or make note of the changes, before making the Orange County porcelain veneers.  I was very pleased that after wearing her trial smile Jill returned to my office a few days later loving the smile design I had done for her and gave me full written approval to move forward with the actual Orange County porcelain veneers following that design.  We did add a couple minor elements in the final design that wasn’t possible in the trial smile plastic temporary veneers.  We added natural incisal translucency to the tips or edges of her Orange County porcelain veneers, whitened the color slightly, and also added some very slight surface texture that imparts a real natualness to the Orange County porcelain veneers, especially when light is seen reflecting off of the surface.

I sent all of the very specific design information to Dave Stohlman, the master ceramist I use for most of my Orange County porcelain veneers.  It took Dave a couple weeks to complete Jills final Orange County porcelain veneers, but there was no rush.  Jill was very comfortable wearing the beautiful trial smile temporary veners, as after all, they looked almost perfect themselves.

Jill’s final smile design with Orange County porcelain veneers done by Dr. Huefner and master ceramist Dave Stohlman. Jill was extremely pleased with the final results, especially the color and shape of her new porcelain veneers. Many people would argue that Jill’s smile makeover gave her a perfect smile. You be the judge.

When we finally got the Orange County porcelain veneers back from Dave Stohlman, we had Jill return so that we could remove the trial smile temporary veneers, and try in the Orange County porcelain veneers for her approval.  Jill absolutely loved them!  We then bonded on the Orange County porcelain veneers utilizing our dental laser and a translucent bonding cement that gave her final Orange County porcelain veneers a very natural and life like look to them.

As a dentist who absolutely loves doing cosmetic dental treatment and all of the very specific minutia necessary to get a superlative result like with did for Jill with her Orange County porcelain veneers I could go on and on, describing countless aspects of all the details done for Jill.  And (laughing to myself), if you’ve gotten this far reading this post, you certainly know that I could do just that.  However, I will let the final photos of Jill’s Orange County porcelain veneers speak for our treatment more than any words could.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County cosmetic dentist, serving Newport Beach, Irvine and Laguna Niguel, CA


Trial Smile temporary veneers help patient and dentist design teeth

trial smile porcelain veneers and crowns

Bottom photo: There were many things about her teeth that Collette didn't like and wanted improved. Middle photo: Dr. Huefner designed Collette's "trial smile" based on what she had told him and what he thought would look best. However she wanted several changes made to the "trial smile" before she would approve of the design. Upper photo: The final smile makeover with porcelain veneers and a porcelain crown based on Collette's goals. Notice that not only is the color whiter than the "trial smile" teeth, but Collette also asked for slightly longer and more slender shaped front teeth.

Trial smile temporary veneers and crowns eliminates guesswork and enhances success and patient satisfaction

The anxiety of not knowing what the final results of cosmetic dentistry will be, either with dental veneers or porcelain crowns, is  a huge aspect that hinders many patients from having cosmetic dentistry done.  At least with clothes, a TV, car or house you know what it’s going to look like before you buy it.  With cosmetic dentistry you know you want nicer looking teeth, but do you and the dentist have the same end results in mind?  What if you go through the entire process and don’t like the teeth and smile that your cosmetic dentist has designed and made for you?

When cosmetic dentists do smile makeovers with porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns there is much for your dentist to determine.  What color will the new teeth be?  How long will they be?  What shape will each tooth be?  How thick or thin? How much to lean the teeth outwards or inwards? How much of the gums show?  Are the gums uneven or would the patient benefit from adjusting their shape with the dental gum laser? A skilled cosmetic dentist who has years of training and experience in cosmetic dentistry takes all this into consideration when designing the new smile and communicates this with the patient.  But what if the cosmetic dentist does everything that he or she is taught and designs the new smile according to normal standards and the patient doesn’t like the result?  This is a legitimate fear that many patients  and dentists have, but fortunately many cosmetic dentists will now incorporate a unique and very helpful procedure that eliminates much of the fear of the unknown before the final dental veneers are made.

What am I referring to?  Cosmetic dentists call this first stage of treatment the “trial smile” or the “provisional temporary” stage.  Actually the way we treat our cosmetic patients is to make two sets of veneers or crowns.  The first ones we’re referring to here are made of composite plastic.  We do this after carefully listening to the patient about their likes and dislikes and then evaluating the patient’s teeth, gums, lips and face the cosmetic dentist designs teeth that he/she think will give the patient the results they are seeking.  But what if the patient doesn’t like the newly completed porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns?  What if they aren’t the right color or shape?  Or if the patient wants the new teeth longer or shorter?  Wouldn’t it be a lot better to find out these things and make appropriate adjustments before the final dental veneers or crowns are made of porcelain by the lab?

This is the beauty of the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns. The patient gets to wear the “trial smile” for a few days or possibly weeks if they prefer to evaluate how the teeth look, feel and function and then make those corrections in the “trial smile” stage and/or before the final porcelain crowns or porcelain veneers are made by the lab.  And also very importantly, if the teeth are made longer are there any problems with speech?  Front teeth that are too long may challenges speaking certain sounds like the “V” or “F”.

As an example, if a patient thinks he wants shade BL4, and the cosmetic dentist makes the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns in shade BL4 and then the patient changes his mind because he thinks that he still wants “whiter teeth”, then with considerably more confidence the cosmetic dentist can make the final dental veneers or porcelain crowns lighter than the “trial smile“, possibly shade BL2 or BL1.  Important, see tooth shades or color.  By the way this happens a lot!  In our experience more than 50% of the time patients choose a color, wear it in the “trial smile” and then choose the final color for the porcelain one or two shades whiter.

What if the teeth are too short or too long?  If too long the dentist can shorten the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns.  If too short the cosmetic dentist can add to the length of the “trial smile” teeth.  This is an extremely important aspect in the smile design process,  getting the length of the patient’s  new teeth perfect and along with that, a written approval of that length from the patient.

crooked teeth and mismatched porcelain crown before smile makeover

Collette had crooked short teeth and a mismatched porcelain crown on one of her front teeth. She wanted straight, white teeth that were longer. Her problem could be solved with porcelain veneers and a new porcelain crown. However in order to eliminate guess work and best create a new smile for Collette that she really liked the "trial smile" technique was utilized.

How about the shape?  What if the patient asked for square front teeth but when seeing them in the mouth didn’t like them?  Then the dentist can round the teeth on the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns to give a softer more feminine look.  Important, see tooth shapes.  In essence the dentist can make adjustments in the “trial smile“, or note changes to be made in the final design.  All this takes away much patient anxiety about getting the kind of smile that the patient wants and dramatically reduces the number of porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns that would have to be remade due to patient dissatisfaction.  Nobody, neither patient, cosmetic dentist nor lab ceramist likes it when a patient is unhappy with the cosmetic dentistry and the only thing left to do is redo the entire treatment.  This is a huge waste of everyone’s time and effort.

Of special note one third of all the cosmetic dentistry we do in our practice is redoing porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns done by other dentists who did not use the “trial smile” technique and ended up with a patient unhappy with the final result.  Proper use of the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns technique and great communication with the patient dramatically reduces the problem of having dissatisfied patients and needing to redo cosmetic dentistry.

Collette's beautiful new smile with porcelain veneers and a new porcelain crown. She chose a BL2 shade and asked for longer, more slender teeth. By utilizing the "

Collette with her beautiful smile makeover with porcelain veneers and a new porcelain crown. After wearing the "trial smile" she changed her mind and requested a BL2 shade teeth. Also, she wanted her front teeth a little longer and more slender. If we hadn't used the "trial smile" technique with patient approval we wouldn't have been able to fine tune her final smile design to match her desired results.

Collette’s treatment illustrates trial smile temporary veneers and crowns success

To illustrate how this all works let me share share the story of Collette’s treatment.  She lives in Rancho Santa Margarita and came to our cosmetic dental practice referred by her plastic surgeon, Dr. Juris Bunkis.  There were a number of things that Collette didn’t like about her teeth.  She had a crown on one of her front teeth that didn’t match the color of the rest of her teeth.  Her teeth were crooked and she wanted them straight.  Her side teeth leaned in and this oftentimes causes the front teeth to appear larger and the side teeth to appear darker.  Collette had also worn down her teeth, and concerned that short worn teeth make her appear old, wanted her teeth to be longer and more youthful in shape.  She also wanted whiter teeth, and after looking at our tooth shade guide, chose a BL4 tooth color, which was four shades whiter than her teeth were.  Dr. Huefner recommended doing nine porcelain veneers and redoing the one mismatched porcelain crown.  Collette agreed with Dr. Huefner’s recommendations and proceeded with her cosmetic dental treatment.

Dr. Huefner prepared her teeth and placed the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns, making her temporary veneers and crowns longer, straight and more full on the side teeth.  Collette wore her “trial smile” for several days and returned to Dr. Huefner to discuss the design before Dr. Huefner would make her final porcelain veneers and crown.

The first thing she said to Dr. Huefner was that she was wrong choosing the BL4 shade.  Is there any way she could change the color of her final porcelain veneers, as she still wanted slightly whiter teeth?  When Dr. Huefner said “yes”, she asked Dr. Huefner to make her final porcelain veneers and porcelain crown shade BL2.  With regards to the length, yes the new “trial smile” teeth were longer, but she still wanted them a little bit longer.  “Is there anything else that you would like changed?” Dr. Huefner asked Collette.  After very close inspection Collette told Dr. Huefner that she’d like the front four teeth to be a little  thinner and a bit narrower near the gums.  Dr. made or note all the changes that Collette wanted and then she gave her written approval of those modifications that she wanted for her final porcelain veneers and porcelain crown. 

Then Dr. Huefner’s ceramist made the final restorations according to Collette’s approved “trial smile” or otherwise noted modifications and changes.  The major point here is that there was not any guesswork.  Dr. Huefner’s ceramist knew exactly what the patient and Dr. Huefner wanted him to do because so many significant things were worked out and determined during the “trial smile” stage.

The end result for Collette was a beautiful smile with nine porcelain veneers and one porcelain crown.  The final smile design would have been much different without utilizing the trial smile temporary veneers and crowns and getting Collette’s input.  Instead of being elated with the results, she might have even been dissatisfied.  How lucky we are in this day and age of modern cosmetic dentistry to take out so much of the mystery and guesswork and have a successful proven way to effectively provide results that achieve such high patient satisfaction with our porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns.

Dr. Norm Huefner, Laguna Niguel cosmetic dentist, serving Orange County and Rancho Santa Margarita


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