Jun 30, 2010



The idea of a Bellevue Cosmetic Dentist fixing a single front tooth so that it gives a person a beautiful smile would seem to be a very simple process as opposed to restoring multiple front teeth to accomplish that incredible smile. It seems that one tooth would be much less challenging and time consuming than doing multiple teeth. However, the opposite is really the case. Restoring a single front tooth is a very large challenge from a cosmetic dentistry perspective. The reason for this is that the single restored tooth, either a porcelain veneer or crown, must match or have a highly compatible relationship to the teeth adjacent to it in all aspects. These aspects would include tooth size, shape and color as well as spatial perspective and relationship to each other. Patient portrait photo is shown after bleaching and completion of a single upper anterior veneer.

A cosmetic dentist easily can control all of these aspects and relationships of the restored teeth when six or more teeth are involved in the cosmetic smile changes. These would all be done at the same time by the laboratory making the crowns or veneers for the dentist. Therefore, the size, shape and color of all the teeth can be controlled in the laboratory. The overall spatial relationships can be controlled when the final restorations are placed in the patient’s mouth in a much easier fashion because the size, shape and color have all been accounted for by the laboratory.

However, with a single anterior porcelain crown or veneer, all of these things have to be accounted for at the time of final placement by the Bellevue Dentist. Often the surrounding natural teeth will be bleached and then the single anterior tooth is matched to that color. However, with the single tooth there is very little margin for error, since the natural teeth will be very prominent in their position next to the newly restored tooth. If the laboratory does not get a near perfect color match the family dentist may have to send the tooth back to the laboratory. This can lead to lost chair time for the dentist and possibly an upset patient. For this reason, many cosmetic dentists prefer to restore at least four teeth in the front and more preferably six teeth to get a really good match from the laboratory. Photo at left shows closeup of the patient with a single upper anterior tooth that needs cosmetic restoration, while the photo below shows a closeup of the same patient after tooth bleaching to whiten teeth and a single upper anterior porcelain veneer.

At Brookside Dental Bellevue, we have an on-site porcelain artist who does our porcelain veneers, crowns and bridges. This is a great advantage in getting that perfect match with single tooth restorations on front teeth. Of course, it also is fantastic to have him for the larger 4, 6, 8 and 10 unit anterior cosmetic cases. With our on-site porcelain artist who can beautifully match single crowns and veneers, we are able to be conservative in our cosmetic dentistry approach and save the patient some money and still deliver a fantastic new smile.