Teeth are one of the first things people notice when they smile or engage in conversations. It is
natural to want a beautiful and confident smile.
When a patient walks in being plagued with crooked or misshapen front teeth, I often advise
the patient to first consider orthodontic treatment. With orthodontics, teeth are shifted and
reoriented in the bone to achieve the ideal shape and location. It is essential that a team
approach is taken involving the patient, general dentist, and the orthodontist to perform the
best treatment result. It is prudent to ensure that everyone is on the same page working
towards the same goal. If the tooth shape is undesirable, orthodontics is used to provide
appropriate space so that the tooth can be crowned or veneered.
There are patients who straightaway opt for crowns and veneers to have a nice smile due to a
time constraint or because they want to avoid the inconvenience of wearing braces. This will be
done by the irreversible change of the tooth structure. Each patient needs to invest the effort and
time in order to pursue the best result possible. This is especially crucial in esthetic dentistry
where the patient’s desired final result may not be what the dentist has envisioned. Rather
than assuming that the dentist will take care of everything, the patient should try to picture
what they want and engage in discussions and give input to the dentist.
To change the patient’s smile, the dentist creates the final outcome using diagnostic wax up on
the cast model. Using the visualization of after treatment, the dentist will discuss the desired
smile line, teeth shape, lip contour and profile, possible limitations, and any other factors with
the patient so that the treatment goal could be made together.
The diagnostic wax-up is used to form temporary crowns. The temporaries are placed on the
teeth for a test period of a few months to evaluate not only esthetics but also function and
comfort. Adjustments could be made as needed by cutting or adding the material on the
temporaries. Patients who grind or clench their teeth should carefully go through the testing
period to avoid fractures and other complications with the crowns.
Following the testing period, if the shape and functions are all satisfactory, the final crowns or
veneers can be fabricated. Due to the thorough evaluation, the patient should be able to enjoy
the final prosthesis with minimal adjustments. I often recommend using a night guard to
minimize the chance of fractures of the new teeth.
If there are any questions regarding the above content or dentistry in general, please call (661)
253-3030 and ask for Dr. Jangsook Kim. Together with my friendly staff, we will do our best to
address your needs.