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Porcelain Crowns & Veneers

A closer look at two innovative techniques and strategies to improve your smile

By Dr. Tyler P. Lasseigne


Making Them Stick

The insertion or cementation of laminate veneers and crowns may be similar. They are placed with a light-sensitive resin and hardened with the use of a blue or ultraviolet light source. The ultra-thin porcelain veneer achieves its optimal strength when it is adhesively bonded to the underlying tooth enamel. In addition, the overall retention of an “all-ceramic” crown is increased especially when bonded to enamel rather than to dentin.

Back to Basics — Smile Analysis and Other Tools of the Trade

A comprehensive assessment and diagnostic evaluation are often critical prior to any restorative procedure. These elective procedures not only ensure proper esthetics and functional capabilities, but also allow individuals to assess the end result prior to any permanent change. Remember, you always want to look at the car before you buy it. This conservative approach will involve you in the decision-making and will enhance your comfort with the process and outcome.

Making a “Mock-up” — Can Really Be a Good Idea

Envisioning the end result before it is finalized is a tool almost unique to dentistry. Whether to improve the appearance of one front tooth or a larger group of front teeth, a “mock-up” in association with a thorough dental examination is a critical tool.

Trial smile.
Figure 6: A photograph showing a “trial smile” which is created by applying tooth colored materials on top of the patient's teeth for them to see their “new look.” Figures 7-10 show the patient's veneer makeover from start to finish.

What is a diagnostic mockup? You may go to see your dentist with one or more issues to solve. A few examples may include tooth decay, small or large spaces between teeth, broken edges or corners of teeth, unsightly stains or discolorations of teeth, severely rotated or twisted teeth, or unleveled gum lines impairing your smile line.

A mock-up is the creation of a “trial smile” — allowing you the exciting prospect of actually being part of your own smile transformation [Figure 6]. This simple procedure allows your dentist to apply tooth-colored filling materials to temporarily improve the shape and form of your teeth, to close spaces between teeth, or to simulate the ideal balance between the gum line and the teeth. In turn it allows you time to try out the newly created tooth shapes, with lips at rest and at full smile. This also gives you time to decide how the changes appeal to you and those viewing your new look. This approach is the most realistic way of experiencing the whole host of improvements that you and your dentist have envisioned.

After photographing your dental appearance before and after the “mockup,” your dentist can easily remove the tooth-colored material returning the teeth to their original condition [Figure 7].

At the next office visit, you can examine and compare the photographs of these transformative changes. By actively participating in your own treatment, you can discuss and evaluate the proposed changes and make further recommendations and possible improvements. After all — it's all about you, so with this knowledge and awareness you can and should be your own best advocate.

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