Natural-Looking Porcelain Veneers
What makes porcelain veneers look natural?
What is wrong with the teeth of the upper image?
Why do the teeth in the lower image look much more natural and youthful?
This example above shows a patient who had old porcelain veneers (lumineers) that needed to be replaced. Just a cursory glance let's us become aware of the unnatural appearance of the lumineers in the upper image. The teeth look over-contoured, monochromatic, and misaligned. Their overall appearance is unnatural, boring, and in fact faulty. The new veneers look both youthful and natural.
First, it needs to be clarified that natural-looking teeth have different optical characteristics depending on the age and wear of teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry does not just place a single layer of porcelain on the top of worn or aged teeth. A sequence of diagnostic steps and conversations with the patients determines the aesthetic goals. It is not enough to simply make teeth white. Natural teeth do not just have one color. Their natural layering of dentin and enamel creates unique optical properties that change with age and wear. While young teeth are covered by enamel that is thicker and more translucent, older teeth are covered by enamel that is thinner and more opaque. The dentin of younger teeth is lighter. These changes reflect the varying natural optical properties of teeth for the individual age group. The incisal edges of young teeth are more rounded, while the incisal edges of older teeth have sharper line angles. Old teeth are commonly darker and more opaque at the incisal edges.
Young natural-looking teeth frequently display a playfulness that is characterized by a translucency of the incisal edges and the visibility of underlying dentin mammellons under the thick enamel layer. When rejuvenating a smile, these natural characteristics, rather than the natural characteristics of older teeth, may be incorporated. The result is shown in the lower image (after delivery of the new porcelain veneers).