December 11, 2017

Trial Smile

In cosmetic dentistry, the “trial smile” is one of the most fundamental concepts “in getting it right” and having a happy, satisfied patient who loves the new smile the cosmetic dentist has created for the patient!

before porcelain veneers

Jill had plastic bonding on her teeth that was failing, and wanted it replaced with porcelain veneers.

Simply put, the “trial smile” is the temporary veneers or temporary crowns placed by the cosmetic dentist prior to fabricating the final porcelain veneers or crowns.  These temporaries allow the patient to “test drive” the smile design for a period of time, which the patient needs to approve of  in writing before the dentist has the final porcelain veneers or crowns  fabricated.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is!  The patient is involved in the trial smile, the cosmetic dentist and patient work together on refining the final design and then there are no surprises at the end.  The patient gets the design of the veneers or crowns that he/she approved of.

The “trial smile” is actually the prototype for the final design and is created by the dentist based on his vision of the type of smile that will make the patient look his/her very best, and its made following the wishes and concerns expressed by the patient.

The “trial smile”  is usually worn for several days before the patient and cosmetic dentist makes the final decisions as to the final smile design.  But depending on the patient’s comfort level, this period can be weeks or even months in rare cases.  It’s imperative that the final veneers aren’t fabricated until the patients feels comfortable with the smile design in the “trial smile”.  Again, in our we require that the patient give his/her written approval before our ceramist goes ahead and follows that design and fabricates the final restorations.

porcelain veneers in the trial smile stage

Jill wore her "trial smile" for five days, then returned to finalize the design. She accepted the final design as was originally done by Dr. Huefner, but changes were made as to the color, surface texture and incisal translucency.

A very important concept is that by wearing the “trial smile” first, the patient is given ample opportunity to accept or change key components in the design of the smile, especially the color, shape of the individual teeth, length of the teeth, etc. But, if the dentist does a great job with the “trial smile” rarely are anything other than minor adjustments made.

The important point here is that the patient isn’t surprised by the final result because he/she has already approved of the design of the “trial smile”.  And if the patient does not approve of one or more aspects, those things can be changed or addressed prior to the fabrication of the final smile design.  For instance, if the patient thinks the teeth on the “trial smile” are too long, the cosmetic dentist can shorten them for patient verification and acceptance.  Likewise if the patient thinks they are too short, the teeth in the “trial smile” can be lengthened as well.  If the patient doesn’t approve of the shape of one or more of the teeth, the dentist can usually reshape them to the patient’s liking.  And of course the color or shade of the trial smile is very important in this process as well.  Most patients are going from darker or more yellow teeth, and wanting a much more whiter smile.  The “trial smile” allows them to see that.  And, if the patient wants the final veneers whiter than the “trial smile” the patient can choose a whiter color from the dentist’s shade guide and the lab will make the necessary adjustments.

final porcelain veneers that followed trial smile design

Jill with her final porcelain veneers. Note how Dr. Huefner followed her approved design, especially with regard to length, shape and proportion.

In our cosmetic dental practice we have been doing porcelain veneers since they were first introduced to dentistry in 1985 and we have found that the “trial smile” is without a doubt a key component in whether the final treatment is a success and the patient feels that the cosmetic dentist gave  him/her what he/she wanted.  Nothing is more discouraging to patient or dentist than placing new crowns or porcelain veneers and then having the patient say they don’t like them, color, shape, length, etc.  The “trial smile” for the vast majority of cases eliminates that being a problem.

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