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Inside Dental Technology
January 2013
Volume 4, Issue 1

Full-Mouth Reconstruction Using IPS e.max® Press

Successful functional and esthetic outcomes as result of dental team collaboration.

Matt Roberts, CDT; Amanda Seay, DDS

Color schematics have always been a challenging and daunting process for laboratory ceramists. Natural dentition is irregular and rarely monochromatic, often possessing different shade distributions, degrees of color, hues, and texture that vary depending on individual cases.1 For instance, in cases requiring a reduction in opacity and creation of a suitable incisal translucency, the lingual cutback may be implemented to provide the opportunity to recreate esthetics of the adjacent teeth.

Modern dental standards require the implementation of smile design principles and esthetic results that mimic a patient’s natural dentition. Advanced materials and technology have evolved and simplified this process over the years. Ceramists now have at their disposal visual communication techniques, such as identification molds and esthetic prescription forms that coincide with the Shade Indicator Chart system. These communication methods facilitate visualization of the expected outcome and enable the ceramist’s artistic expression to create intrinsically vital-appearing restorations that synchronize with the patient’s natural dentition.2

In implant and restorative cases, a consistent problem facing ceramists and clinicians is how to meet smile design principles and achieve optimal esthetics that blend seamlessly with natural dentition. The answer lies in using highly esthetic abutment materials. However, this material selection is determined by several factors, including implant position, alignment, and angulation.3

This process sometimes can be further complicated when patients lack the proper gingival architecture necessary for maintaining gingival health and obtaining a natural and esthetically appealing smile.4 This can only be accomplished when hard and soft periodontal tissue surrounding each tooth are properly managed. In many of these restorative cases, periodontal smile sculpting is performed and can be beneficial in determining both the pre-restorative treatment for dentition and for creating a blueprint to enhance the patient’s esthetic treatment results.5 All gingival architecture cases vary; for instance, in implant cases, gingival recession is typically a factor. Research shows that 80% of these cases exhibit gingival recession on the buccal aspect. Patients presenting with a high gingival smile line require the construction of interdental papillae.6

Before papillae can be constructed or maintained, an esthetic triangle of adequate bone volume, proper soft-tissue thickness, and esthetic-appearing restorations is compulsory.7 In order to frame the restoration and give the illusion of natural papillae, pink porcelain is frequently used due to its ability to imitate the color, shape, and health of the surrounding tissue8 and complement white esthetics for a natural-looking smile.9 A nonsurgical option is tissue-colored porcelain used for hard- and soft-tissue replacement and to provide lip support, in addition to restoring symmetrical gingival architecture and replacing lost papillae.10

Esthetic restorative cases require comprehensive treatment planning and a multidisciplinary approach that necessitates a collaborative partnership and communication between the dentist and ceramist in order to achieve the goals of the case and attain optimal results. High-quality restorations that are durable, functional, long-lasting, and esthetically pleasing are predictably produced by implementing these communication techniques,11 especially within esthetic zone cases.12

The following case describes a full-mouth reconstruction using lithium disilicate abutments (Ivoclar Vivadent, IPS e.max® Press, The presentation elaborates on the communication materials and techniques that facilitated the successful completion of the case.

Case Presentation

A 58-year-old woman presented with existing amalgam buildups underneath worn bridges, in addition to extremely dark and discolored teeth. The patient explained she had tetracycline-stained natural dentition, but because all of her teeth contained existing restorations, this could not be verified. The patient’s mouthful of restorations had been placed by an assortment of dentists over a 30-year period. At first, the patient underwent single-tooth dentistry, but over 3 decades, almost every tooth required a crown or veneer. As a result, the patient was constantly forced to repair broken restorations. Another underlying issue was symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) pain and discomfort due to a misaligned bite.

Treatment Planning

After the initial consultation, a full-mouth rehabilitation was presented to the patient, agreed upon, and planned. The longest part of treatment would be the tissue grafting necessary for the area surrounding an anterior bridge the patient had, which spanned teeth Nos. 6 through 9, in order to prepare for implants in the Nos. 7 and 8 positions. Implant placement was needed for teeth Nos. 7 and 8. A joint consultation between the periodontist and clinician determined there would still be a tissue deficiency, even with applied tissue grafting. Consequently, the use of pink porcelain and/or splinted implants was discussed and ultimately agreed upon.

Material Selection

A chief concern in this case was the need for a material that would mask the dark, tetracycline color of the natural underlying tooth structure, while concurrently being as conservative as possible and providing a natural translucency. The challenge lay in matching and maintaining an even color transition among the entire combination of restorations in the patient’s anterior region—which consisted of veneers, crowns, and implants—that would seamlessly blend with her smile.

Clinical Protocol and Laboratory Perspectives

The patient presented with previously restored dentition and a maxillary cant on her right side (Figure 1) with which she was dissatisfied. The patient desired an improved cosmetic appearance and better function (Figure 2).

A preoperative model was constructed and mounted with a centric relation bite. The first point of contact was between Nos. 11 and 21 (Figure 3). A diagnostic wax-up was completed in order to address esthetic and functional concerns (Figure 4). A photograph with a shade tab of the patient’s expectations was taken and sent to the ceramist (Figure 5). The old restorations were removed, and the patient’s teeth were prepared for lithium disilicate restorations. Once the teeth were prepared, another photograph with the stump shade was taken and sent to the laboratory (Figure 6).

A silicone matrix of the diagnostic wax-up was constructed and used to fabricate the provisional restorations. A gingival deficiency between teeth Nos. 7 and 8 required the use of pink ceramic to create the illusion of papilla. A pink composite piece was fabricated chairside to meet the desired color and size objectives (Figure 7). The use of pink porcelain required shade imaging to aid the ceramist in visualizing the actual color being used and photographed in the mouth. The ceramist would also receive a physical sample of the pink composite for use.

A photograph of the patient and the provisional restorations was taken for visual representation and sent to the laboratory. The new restorations would model the provisional restorations in shape and arrangement (Figure 8). A provisional stick bite photograph was taken. It was crucial for this photograph to be taken from a straight-on view to indicate that the stick bite was level with the patient’s facial features. This would help to avoid any angular distortion in the picture (Figure 9). The provisional stick bite was used to verify the vertical midline of the initial wax injection (Figure 10).

Laboratory Protocol

Once the ceramist received all diagnostic tools—including preoperative photographs and impressions, master impressions, bite registrations, a horizontal plane reference (ie, stick bite), and an eyebrow-to-chin photograph of the patient with a stick bite in place on the lower incisors—work began for fabricating the case.

A silicone matrix of the provisional restorations was placed on the working model. A wax injection mold process was used to transfer the shape, form, and position of the provisional restorations for the final wax-up. The injection was then refined to achieve the final contour wax-up (Figure 11 and Figure 12).

Restorations for the implants were waxed over the tissue to replicate the emergence position of the adjacent prepared teeth (Figure 13). The gingival silhouette of the wax over the implants was scored into the stone using a sharp blade over a very fine red pencil (Figure 14). The wax-up was completed on the titanium abutment base, and was contoured to create the shape of the area where the initial full-contour wax-up contacted the tissue (Figure 15). A silicone matrix of the diagnostic wax-up was used to evaluate room for restorations over the abutments (Figure 16).

A matrix of the full-contour wax-up was used to evaluate the shape of the wax abutments. The wax abutments were pressed from a high-opacity lithium disilicate (Figure 17). The lithium disilicate abutments were then shaded to match the color of the adjacent prepared teeth (Figure 18) and then bonded to the titanium abutment bases using a universal cement (Multilink-Implant, Ivoclar Vivadent) (Figure 19).

A matrix was used to recreate the full-contour wax-up over the pressed lithium disilicate abutments (Figure 20). The incisal area was cut back in wax to allow room for micro-layering of the incisal edges (Figure 21). A reamer was used to align the access hole with the screw path in the abutment (Figure 22), and screw access holes were created in the wax-ups (Figure 23). The restorations were then pressed from Opal 2 IPS e.max ingots (Figure 24).

The incisal effect layering was carefully segmented using various enamel and mamalon effect ceramics (Figure 25). The effect buildup was fired and then built to full contour with OE1 enamel, fired at 750° C. The internal effects and natural opalessence of the lithium disilicate restorations were visible when backlit (Figure 26). After firing, the facial lobes and surface texture were created using an 863 012 diamond bur.

The finalized restorations were placed on the working models (Figure 27 and Figure 28) and determined to replicate the natural tooth structure (Figure 29 and Figure 30). The restoration surfaces were glazed and polished, after which the final case was delivered to the dentist’s office for placement (Figure 31 through Figure 35).


Achieving optimal esthetic results and fulfilling patient desires in restorative, implant, and gingival architecture cases dictates the use of a combination of advanced technology and materials. Additionally, successful functional and esthetic outcomes are predicated on collaborative teamwork between the dentist and ceramist.


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About the Authors

Matt Roberts, CDT
Laboratory Ceramist
CMR Labs
Idaho Falls, Idaho

Amanda Seay, DDS
Private Practice
Park West Dentistry
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

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