Q: I am thinking of having some cosmetic dental work (veneers and some crowns), but I am afraid they will look fake. I see a lot of people with very artifical looking teeth. How can this be prevented?
A: Nobody wants to look like they swallowed a piano or a box of Chiclets. Many of the techniques we use in cosmetic dentistry to create natural looking veneers and crowns involve the artistic communication between the doctor and his dental lab technicians.
Firstly, the shade that one chooses should be appropriate for their skin, eye and hair color. Olive skin patients should not pick a ‘refrigerator’ white shade of porcelain, but those patients with fair skin, blue eyes and light blond hair can often get away with “Regis Philbin” white teeth.
Secondly, when we design a case, we don’t like a bowling ball surface texture. We prefer an irregular, pebbled surface to break up the light for a more natural appearance. We call these subtle “waves” in the front surface of the porcelain: facial lobes or flutes. Natural teeth have these irregularities that form during the embryonic development of the adult teeth.
And thirdly the shape of the teeth is paramount in creating a natural smile and is dependent on the patients age, personality and facial contours. A square face, a heart shaped face and a round face might dictate a completely different shape and contour of the veneers or crowns.