What We Do: Veneers

Below is a testimonial written by one of our patients about his experience with replacing four of his front teeth with porcelain veneers:

My New Front Teeth: A Testimonial

I have been a mouth breather all of my life. Because of this, and perhaps other reasons, my teeth were heavily stained as I was growing up and the best cosmetic approach for a growing boy was to simply have the teeth bonded. This didn’t completely erase the evidence of staining, but it was a noticeable improvement. The bonding meant having to receive a re-bonding procedure every year or two to polish up and maintain the quality of the bonding, which wasn’t a problem in itself, but Dr. Ehrlich had been telling me for years that one day porcelain would be the way to go. At least, it would be once I stopped growing.

Well, low and behold, one day I stopped growing and Dr. Ehrlich and I agreed that it would be the perfect time - as I was transitioning between the life of a university student and that of a full-time employee - to consider removing the bonding I had grown accustomed to in favour of a full porcelain veneer.

This would be considered the “before” picture, with the staining on my teeth before we started the whole process (most noticeably on the upper four fronts):

We talked about what I’d like done, specifically which teeth would need the veneers applied and which didn’t, as well as how much of a change in tone I’d like in order to have the new porcelain teeth match the rest of my teeth. We at this point decided to replace the upper front four teeth, the ones with the most obvious discolouration noted above.

The first step in the process was to have molds taken. These would be later be sent out to a lab to have mock-ups made. The molds are made of a silicone that captures an incredible amount of detail.  Here’s what they looked like before we sent them off to the lab:

I then had to visit the technician team developing the mock-up (and eventually final veneers) at their lab in Woodbridge. Here, they used an optical device to guage the current brightness/colour of my teeth (both the ones being replaced as well as the ones that would remain and would need to be colour-matched).

Back at Elm Tree, the lab supplied Dr. Ehrlich with a plaster mock-up of how much shaping and adjusting (preparing) needed to be done to my teeth in order to fit the resin temporaries/final veneers over them. Preparing is necessary in order to allow the end-product to match the original profile/contour of the teeth when the new veneer is cemented on top of it.

Shaping the teeth was the step in the process that made me the most squeamish, but it really wasn’t anything to be worried about and there was very little sensitivity or discomfort.

We then lightly bonded a temporary set of resin teeth to cover up the newly-prepared fronts. These would give me an idea of the size/shape (not so much the colour) of my ideal teeth, and Dr. Ehrlich asked me to think about the shape and return to him later in the week to re-form the resin into a shape that would be perfect. I thought that the front two teeth were a little bit too long, and the teeth to either side were a little to round and short.

It took a few weeks for the final veneers to get to Elm Tree. The temporary resins held up fairly well - there were admittedly a few problems, with the resin becoming slightly loose or chipping off - but Dr. Ehrlich was always really quick to have me come in for a quick fix. The molds were already there, so it didn’t take too much time to completely replace the temporaries.

Finally, the final veneers came in:

Then the veneers were carefully (you could say lovingly, that’s the sort of treatment Elm Tree is known for) cemented into place, and set permanently. A small amount of correction/filing was done to get those beauties down to an ideal shape, as well as a slight amount of buffing in order to remove the artificial-looking sheen of the smooth porcelain, and voila! Gorgeous teeth and a smile proud to show them off:

Overall the process was well worth it. It spanned just over a month, but there was never really any downtime. The temporaries were less of a hassle that I expected, and the beauty and permanence of the final porcelains far outweigh any cons to the process. I really love them.

More resources:

Here is another excellent article in New York magazine, written from the patient’s perspective, about getting a full smile change. It will open up a new page on your browser.

Smile Analysis: This site has a good example of a Smile Analysis that patients can use to evaluate their current smile. It is an office dedicated to cosmetic dentistry: Atlanta Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry