Porcelain veneers, sometimes also referred to as laminates, are cosmetic tooth ‘covers’ made of tooth-colored porcelain that are applied to the outer surface of teeth. The veneers are custom made to fit over existing teeth to completely cover the teeth and change the appearance.
Veneers can be made of porcelain or a dental resin composite material. Most dentists will opt for porcelain because it is more stain resistant, more durable, and has a more natural appearance than dental resin. Additionally, porcelain veneers can last up to ten years!
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers
Patients choose porcelain veneers for a number of reasons that may include the following:
- Tooth discoloration
- Worn down teeth due to grinding
- To have more a more uniform shape to their teeth
- To repair chipped or broken teeth
- To fill gaps between the teeth
- A general improvement in their smile
Let’s face it, if we look at magazines or watch TV, rarely do we see models or actors with imperfect teeth. It’s highly likely that most ‘high watt’ smiles, or ‘grills’ as we sometimes hear them referred to, are the work of an excellent dentist. That’s not to say that some people aren’t simply born with a beautiful smile, but rather to say that sometimes in order to achieve such a brilliant, perfect smile, porcelain veneers may be helpful. Also, here’s some helpful dental hygiene tips.
What are some examples of where porcelain veneers can be useful? We use Veneers for some of the following dental circumstances:
These days, we know that tetracycline and other drugs can cause permanent tooth staining. Unfortunately, in the past, this wasn’t a consideration, and many children who were treated with such drugs were left with unsightly stains on their teeth. No amount of good dental hygiene or bleaching can remove these stains – they’re permanent.
Diastema – Gappy Smile
A Diastema is the technical term for a gap between two teeth. Everyone has what is usually an unnoticeable space between each of their teeth. This allows for proper dental hygiene including brushing and flossing. However, some people may have wider gaps. And while to some, these gaps might be considered attractive and unique, most people who actually have them find them to be unsightly.
Chipped or Broken Teeth
While most people will experience a chip in at least one of their teeth throughout their lifetime, it’s not usually to a degree that cosmetic repair would be necessary. For example, it’s common to bite down hard on something and chip one of your back teeth. You’d want to have it repaired, but not necessarily in a cosmetic manner, because most people can’t see that far into your mouth. However, if you chipped or broke a front tooth, perhaps due to an accident or a sports related injury, you would want to fix the damage and restore the appearance of the tooth or teeth involved.
Porcelain Veneer Application Process
If you feel that porcelain veneers are the right choice for you, you’ll need to have a series of appointments with your dentist.
During the first appointment, you’ll work out a diagnosis and treatment plan that will include the following:
- Diagnose and repair existing dental issues such as cavities before the application of the veneers
- Discuss what your expectations are in terms of shape and color
- Decide how many teeth will have veneers applied (some people choose just the front visible teeth, others may choose a full arch)
- Have X-rays taken
- Have models or impressions made of your mouth and teeth
During the second appointment, your teeth will be prepped to receive the veneers. The following will occur:
- The dentist will remove the outer half millimeter or so from the surface of each tooth that will receive a veneer.
- Another set of models or impressions will be made.
- If discussed as part of your treatment plan, temporary veneers will be placed over the teeth.
- The models will be sent to the lab for creation of the veneers. This will usually take about one to two weeks.
Once your dentist receives the veneers from the lab, you’ll have another appointment where the veneers will be placed over your teeth to ensure the correct fit and color. The dentist will perform a series of adjustments to the veneers to get the fit and appearance just right.
Once the fit is perfect, your teeth will be cleaned and etched. Etching will help the cement adhere to the tooth. Then, the veneers will be placed over your teeth. The dentist may perform additional adjustments to ensure proper placement, then the final bonding process will occur. This will permanently bond the veneers to the teeth.
Finally, the dentist will remove any excess cement then check your bite to ensure you will not have any problems chewing. Otherwise, you are now the proud new owner of a beautiful perfect smile!