One the most difficult procedures to do in dentistry would have to be the single porcelain veneer. The challenge is matching a single porcelain restoration to the surrounding teeth that are made of enamel and dentin. How do you make something that is artificial, like porcelain, look like Mother Nature’s creation? Color is a wide spectrum that varies in translucency, fluorescence and opalescence. The varying thicknesses of materials will also affect the color we see. To look absolutely natural, porcelain must exhibit the correct shade family and possess the translucency, fluorescence and opalescence, as well as shape, form and contour. If the porcelain does not reflect light the way the natural teeth do then it will be obvious.
BEFORE: Patient has a congenitally undersized lateral incisor that had an old veneer. The old veneer lacked the luster and translucency of like her other teeth. It was monochromatic in color with visible rough margin.
AFTER: I removed the old veneer and placed a new veneer for a beautiful result.
AFTER: Note the light transmission through the porcelain is exactly the same as her natural tooth. This is key in making a restoration look real.
BEFORE: Patient had a very flat white color to her tooth after having a root canal treatment. This was a tricky case in that the shade was not the issue so much as the flat, opaque color that we wanted to make more translucent. The patient also wanted to close the small space between her teeth (called a black triangle) in the process.
AFTER: Notice the identical shape to her other central incisor. The tooth is the same color as the other central incisor but now displays the same translucency and opalescence. The black triangle is also eliminated.
BEFORE: Patient had an old porcelain fused to metal crown that was one single shade, flat in color and unaesthetic.
AFTER: I replaced the crown with an all porcelain crown. Note the many variations in color throughout the porcelain to mimic his natural teeth. It blends is harmoniously.
So how do I communicate these color concepts to the lab technician? Simple, yet complicated….. photos! Not just any photos but quality photos taken with calibrated flash and using good technique. I have to be able to capture what I see exactly as it is so my technician can see the photos as well. Have you taken a picture of some place you vacationed and some object of interest and the photo just does not capture the intricacy or nature of what you actually saw? Well it is the same with dentistry only we are working in millimeters! I take on average 5-100 pics on the average case and use many different angulations and views to capture the unique qualities of teeth.