Ever since we started doing six-month braces about five years ago, the number of smile makeovers that we’ve done with porcelain veneers has dropped dramatically. This is because we can create beautiful smiles much more conservatively with six-month braces than we can with veneers, simply because there is no drilling on the teeth. There are times however, when porcelain veneers are an excellent option. Caroline’s case is a perfect example of how the two can work together: we first used six-month braces to straighten her teeth, then whitened them. Finally, we used our CEREC CAD/CAM machine to make to 2 porcelain veneers right in our office, in a single appointment to complete the smile makeover by matching her peg lateral incisors to match the rest of her smile.
If you are interested in learning more about either porcelain veneers or 6MonthSmiles, please contact us at either 704-364-7069, or Request an Appointment Online.
A Full-Mouth Smile Reconstruction
Quite some time ago, I showed this case as an example of how badly teeth can be damaged by grinding them, whether at night, in the daytime, or both, and why something as simple and inexpensive as a nightguard (my recommendation is a NTI-tss). It is especially inexpensive in comparison to the cost of rebuilding a smile that is so broken down. This gentleman came to us in 2008, looking for options to feel good about his smile again for various reasons. After plenty of discussion, we agreed that the only option that would truly give him the smile that he wanted was a Total Smile Makeover/Reconstruction with porcelain crowns. After showing the Before-After pictures of his smile, I’ll discuss some of the issues you need to consider if you are thinking about significant cosmetic dentistry for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions about Smile Reconstruction
When rebuilding a smile such as this, it is crucial to establish a proper bite relationship of the top and bottom teeth. Sometimes this can take a little while to figure out, because – when the teeth are so worn, the patient has long since adapted to a very bad bite relationship. The muscles have to be relaxed, accurate records taken, and excellent communication is necessary among the patient, the doctor, and the lab, to ensure that the crowns are made to look good, feel good, and last a long time. However, in severe wear cases, we always remind the patient that s/he already did a pretty good job destroying their natural set of teeth, so a nightguard is an absolute requirement as “insurance” to protect their investment, and even then they are more likely to break or chip the porcelain than others who don’t have that history. Simply put, these cases are far more complicated and require a great deal of time to get right, so you need to be absolutely committed to proceeding and working closely with your dentist to get a good result.
How Much Does a Smile Reconstruction Cost?
It’s not unusual for a patient to ask why it costs so much to do a Smile Reconstruction like this; it often seems like there should be a “volume discount,” so-to-speak, when doing a lot of crowns instead of just 1 or 2. The difference between such scenarios is the amount of time involved, the skill, training and experience required to successfully diagnose, complete, and treat, and that your dentist will have to work with a highly knowledgeable lab to make the crowns to not just look good, but fit properly and work smoothly in eating motions. Your dentist will likely spend at least a couple hours just in the planning stages! It’s usually a case of “You get what you pay for.” IOW – if you want a cheap smile makeover, you should reasonably expect a cheap outcome. To get excellence……it won’t come cheap. Depending on various factors, a case such as this will be the equivalent of buying a fairly nice car. The main difference, of course, is that you should expect to be “driving” your smile for a lot longer than most people keep a car!
- How Long Will This Take to Finish?
When doing so many teeth, you need to plan on a minimum of several appointments that could take 1/2-day to a full day each, as well as several other appointments to refine, modify if needed, polish, etc. From beginning to end, if everything goes perfectly, you might be done in as little as 1 month. That would be somewhat rare; more likely, you should plan on the entire process taking at least 2 months, and maybe many more. Extremely complex cases that involve implants, different specialists, and very complicated lab work may take a year or more due to the time needed for healing, verifying each stage is correct, and even just the time needed for lab technicians to do the custom work.
- What kind of Crowns will/should you get?
Due to improving materials and with the right techniques, in most cases nowadays you can have all-porcelain crowns made to rebuild a smile. The crowns used in this case are made of E.max porcelain, which is extremely strong and resistant to breakage. Numerous studies now show that this type of porcelain will likely last for 15-20 years, and quite possibly longer. For certain cases, though, and for patients who are even worse grinders than this gentleman was, gold crowns might still be necessary for the back teeth, simply because they are the strongest, longest-lasting crowns available. They can also take more abuse than any other material. Porcelain-to-metal crowns are also an option and have a long track record, but it is very important for the lab to be highly skilled so that you don’t see dark grey lines at the gum from the metal showing through.
- How Do I Choose the Right Dentist?
This is one of the trickiest questions, because the public doesn’t usually know enough about the training necessary beyond dental school that trains dentists to handle complex full-mouth reconstructions with skill and confidence. But here’s my recommendation: ask to see pictures of their other cases that might be similar to yours. That’s one of the reasons digital photography is such an instrumental and daily part of our dental practice – you will be able to see similar cases and know how the outcome will be before ever committing. The large majority of dentists who are well-trained in these cases also use digital photography, both for communicating with you as well as for documenting and tracking their own work over time. If you meet a dentist who can show you pictures of cases that were completed 5-10 (or longer) years ago AND s/he has recent follow-up pictures to show how well it has held up, THEN you should feel very confident that your dentist can take good care of you.
And then start imagining how much better you’ll feel when you can smile like Wayne does now!
Please feel free to ask questions or post a comment below, or to share with your friends! If you’re interested in a Complimentary Consultation in our office, please call 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment Online.
One of my absolute favorite things to do, is to see patients for their Complimentary Portrait Session after they finish some type of cosmetic dentistry, whether it is Six-Month Braces, Porcelain Veneers, Teeth Whitening, or some combination of those. There is such a level of satisfaction when a patient LOVES to smile for pictures instead of hide their smiles because they’re embarrassed. Caroline is a perfect example of this; when she first came to see us, she was really unhappy with her crooked teeth. Given what an amazingly cheerful person she is, hiding her smile was not something she wanted, but — like so many others — she assumed that braces would take 2-3 years, and as an adult, she simply was not interested, but she also didn’t want to have her teeth ground down for porcelain veneers, nor did she want to spend that much. So, with a combination of Six-Month Braces, 2 Porcelain Veneers with our 1-Visit Crown system (CEREC), and Whitening Trays, we dramatically transformed her smile in about 10 months total. Just look at her smile now!
This is really what Cosmetic Dentistry is all about, really — it’s about helping you feel good and confident about yourself, about your smile. If you would like to smile with the confidence that Caroline now does, give us a call at 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment Online!
Linda came in to our office today with 1 serious issue: a broken porcelain dental veneer on her upper right lateral incisor (second from the middle). Naturally, since she’d been through the process of getting veneers done previously, she was expecting that she would leave with a temporary (aka provisional) veneer after we’d taken a mold of the tooth, and she’d have to come back in a few weeks to have the real one bonded in. However, she was pleasantly surprised by the end of her appointment today, because thanks to the CEREC AC Bluecam, we were able to make a brand-new porcelain veneer in just ONE visit! No second appointment to bond the veneer in, no temporary veneer, no tooth molds, no second time getting numb……..NONE of that! So judge for yourself…..how did we do?
If you are looking to transform or fix your smile, and convenience is important to you, then give us a call at 704-364-7069 or
Oh yeah…….almost forgot to mention, too….since Linda signed up with our Quality Dental Plan, she saved 20% on her work today!
Interestingly, this porcelain crown was done on the same patient as the last gold onlay that I posted. So why a porcelain crown on this tooth instead of gold? Simple — this one is more visible in his smile, and he wasn’t interested in having “bling” in his smile. LOL Given that strength and durability of his porcelain crown is also very important, as is obvious by his choice of gold for his second molar on the other side, we did use what is currently the strongest porcelain crown available today, whether made by a lab or with our CEREC, and it is called Emax. This ceramic is incredibly strong, far superior to the old Porcelain-Fused-to-Gold (PFM) crowns that have been used for decades. And, of course, we did it in a single appointment.
Just to review the advantages of CEREC 3D CAD/CAM Porcelain Crowns, and why we’re proud to offer them at our Southpark Charlotte NC dental office:
- Just 1 Appointment
- No temporary (provisional) crown
- No worries about the temporary crown falling off
- Incredibly strong
- Very natural-looking and blend in beautifully
- LESS sensitivity afterward because the tooth is immediately bonded and sealed
If you need a crown and are looking for the convenience and excellent result we can provide with our CEREC 1-visit crowns, call us or visit our website:
It’s been reported by the media recently that some dental crowns, made in China, have been found to have excessively high lead content. Generally, these crowns come from very low-priced laboratories, but the full extent of the problem is not yet known.
However, I want ALL of my patients (and potential patients) to know that we do not use any labs in China, and in fact, we rarely use crowns that have metal in them. That’s not to say that we are a “metal-free” dental office; by no means! There are a number of very good reasons to use gold, silver, and mixed metals for different situations, but none of those require that we use cheap crowns from cheap labs that might put you at risk.
In fact, my patients can be reassured that they aren’t getting any metal the huge majority of the time because of our CEREC 3D CAD/CAM system that allows us to make incredibly strong, very natural-looking, beautiful crowns in just 1 appointment. You can literally watch your crown being made!
In those instances that we do have to use a dental laboratory, we can still avoid metal most of the time, but even then……all the labs that we use are proud to say, “Our dental lab work is made in the USA!”
Just so you know it’s perfectly safe to make an appointment for a crown with us, knowing there’s no chance of lead in your crowns or bridges.
In our office, as I’ve demonstrated many times before, we use the power of digital dental photography to improve patient understanding of what’s going on in their mouths. Truly, as the 2 sayings go:
- Seeing is Believing, and
- A Picture is worth 1000 words.
I’ve added a new page to our website along these lines, and I hope you’ll enjoy it: Smiles by Payet Dental Photography
It’s still a work in progress, so please bear with me – more to come!
OK, I know that most people don’t think that going to the dentist is fun, but it sure can be a lot more interesting than it used to be for sure. The advent of digital dentistry, particularly CAD/CAM dentistry that allows us to make all-porcelain crowns in just 1 visit, is just pretty darn cool, and that’s even according to my patients who’ve benefited from it. We brought the CEREC 3D system into our office at the end of December 2007, and in that time we’re approaching our 200th CEREC crown. In the beginning, I didn’t take many pictures because I was really concentrating on learning how to make the crowns beautiful, fit well, and happen smoothly and quickly. Now that we’ve become more comfortable with the technology, I’m taking the time to really take quality photos to show off just what we can do, and yesterday just was the perfect opportunity.
This gentleman had these porcelain-to-metal crowns placed about 4-5 years ago, but he is a major grinder and started breaking the porcelain off within a year. That’s one of the potential problems of adding porcelain on to metal like that. They obviously needed to be replaced, and he drove all the way from Asheville, NC for us to do this in 1 appointment; since we clearly needed very strong porcelain, we chose EMAX, which has truly remarkable strength. Take a look and see the results for yourself after the crowns were glazed in our oven:
Obviously, the single biggest advantage for patients with our CEREC machine is the ability to have beautiful, all-porcelain restorations completed in a single visit. Here’s an example of how nice that can be. This patient had 10 porcelain veneers done about 2 years ago; due to her grinding habit, she had knocked off and broken one of the veneers. Rather than make a yucky impression and send it to the lab, while she had to wait several weeks with a temporary veneer, we made it right in the office. One visit porcelain veneer, no temporary, no second visit, and her smile was back to beautiful! See if you can guess which one was done by us on CEREC and which were done by the lab?
If need your any tooth fixed, not just if it’s a porcelain veneer, CEREC CAD/CAM can do it for you. Call our office 704-364-7069 or Request an Appointment Online.