I love porcelain veneers! I know of no other procedure that can so totally transform a person’s smile and literally change their life. And of course it is no accident how this happens. It comes from painstaking planning and designing on the dentist’s part in combination with a talented laboratory that builds their veneers more like artistic creations, so that they look beautiful and natural for that particular patient. The alternate possibility is that the dentist “slaps” veneers on a patient in a cookie cutter manner that have been pressed out by a factory style lab that reveals an artificial look at best. I sincerely believe that patients deserve the finest dental work possible and my office strives every day to make this belief a reality.
So let’s take Sherrie’s case as an example. Sherrie has been a patient of mine for 25 years and she always hated her smile – she felt that her teeth were too yellow, that the side teeth were too “pushed in” and that the gums had receded somewhat, revealing the root surfaces. We had talked about several options over the years- tooth colored bonding , bleaching… but porcelain veneers was the one option that could give her the color, shape and tooth arrangement that would result in the dazzling smile that she so desired. The final decision was made after I did a “mock up” in her mouth- this is where I use bonding material to simulate what the veneers can look like so that she can actually visualize the potential result. Sherrie LOVED what she saw and was ready to go to the next step.
From there, I took study models, pictures and a detailed description of what Sherrie was hoping to achieve. In my lab, I transformed the model of her teeth to what I thought she would like, using wax to create the new teeth. From that wax up, I was able to make temporary veneers that Sherrie could wear after the tooth preparation appointment. As you can see from this description, a stellar result comes from very careful planning and an attention to meticulous detail at every step along the way.
The tooth preparation appointment is always the most exciting, trans formative event because it is where the patient walks in with his/her normal teeth and leaves with the smile that they have wanted for a long time. In Sherrie’s case the excitement was over the top! Now you have to realize that she is a fairly sarcastic person who lost her husband last year; she is not usually one to shower compliments and,even though I feel I know her fairly well having treated her for over 25 years, I have never seen her too up or too down. So imagine my surprise when , at the end of the appointment when she went to the bathroom to see her new teeth, she returned in tears and gave me a big hug. She was so thrilled with the temporary veneers that she could barely contain herself- it’s truly what makes my job the best in the world!!!
But, in truth, we were only halfway there. The remaining challenge is to utilize a high level dental lab that mirrors my office in terms of its own meticulous attention to detail and artistic talent to be able to create amazing porcelain veneers. For Sherrie’s case, I used the Winter Lab in Scottsdale, AZ ( www.thewinterlab.com ) which is associated with the Spear Institute where I am a Visiting Faculty member. The careful planning theme is continued in this laboratory phase of the Veneer creation by my meeting with the actual lab technicians and exchanging valuable information such as Sherrie’s desired outcome, shade possibilities as well as any concerns I have about her bite. The Winter Lab really came through and created veneers that struck the perfect balance between nature and fantasy.
The last step is the try in appointment and bonding of the finished veneers. Sherrie and I did this final step this week and it was a real pleasure. As much as she loved the temporary veneers, she was equally blown away by the final result. When she returned after 2 days for a quick bite check she shared how everyone at work commented on how good she looked but could not pinpoint why. And this is exactly what we strive for- a cosmetic result that enhances the patient’s best features without drawing attention to having had dental work done. Sherrie was very, very pleased and I couldn’t have been happier- to be able to create a vision, plan carefully, execute that plan, work with a premier dental lab and end up with beautiful teeth, as well as a sincere hug…… well it just doesn’t get any better than that!