Q: I recently had some veneers done. I liked my temporaries, but the final porcelain ones looked totally different. This was upsetting. Why would this happen?
A: I am depressed. In the last few years my favorite doctors have either passed away or retired. More important than my doctors; my computer repair guy just told me he is closing up shop and moving out of state! I panicked. When I asked him why, he said: “Millennials in the workforce know how to fix the computers at their workplace, Apple based products rarely get infected with viruses such as MAC’s, iPhones and iPads, and so many use laptops that they can drop them off at local computer repair stores.” (Which, if you haven’t noticed are actually taking payments by swiping your card through a cube plugged into their cell phones. (Hello George Jetson and Jane his wife!)
To avoid the problem above and wind up with veneers or crowns that looked exactly like what you wanted, the office must be set up with some really high-tech stuff as should the dental lab they work with. Here is what we do:
1. Bring in pictures from magazines of smiles you like or old photos of you when your date wore a Members Only Jacket. These will be digitized and sent to the lab to aid in design.
2. Before any work is done, we take digital 3D scans of your current teeth, not goopy gagging impressions. These and pre-op photos are used to create a “diagnostic wax-up”; a mock-up of how your new teeth will look for you to examine and for us to make temporaries that you will wear for three weeks while the lab is making your final work.
3. At the end of the prep visit, after the enamel reduction is performed, we place beautiful temporaries that you already approved.
4. Another visit is to critique your temporaries for final design lab notes and to photograph them and take a quick mold of them so the lab knows exactly what to copy for your final ones.
5. At the installation visit, after they are cemented, we can still tweak the final shape to your liking.
And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (And, no, I am not retiring and plan to live another 50 years; I’m still waiting for the flying car.)