What are Veneers?
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.
Are Veneers Right For Me?
You’ll often hear people say that celebrities have veneers and this may seem like the best way to replicate picture perfect teeth, but each mouth is different and veneers need to be carefully researched.
The first step in deciding if veneers are right for you is to make a consultation with your dentist to discuss what you do not like about your smile. Communication with your dentist about what you want corrected is critical for a successful result and you should ensure you spend plenty of time clearly identifying what cosmetic improvements you want to accomplish.
You should also check with your dentist the process to be followed in creating your veneers. Not all dentists follow the same techniques or achieve the same results.
How are Veneers Made?
Veneers should be made over a series of appointments. Initially, your dentist should begin with a smile analysis (to determine what steps are necessary to achieve the smile you desire). Then he should take some “wax up” impressions which will be sent to the laboratory in order to create a diagnostic “mock-up” of your future teeth, which will then allow you to “try on” the veneers using a temporary resin to see if you are happy with the shape and size etc before the final veneers are made.
Your dentist may also show you a photo of how your new smile will look. This is called cosmetic imaging.
Deciding that porcelain veneers will create the look you want is only one step in the process. There is much more to learn before proceeding further.
The Hows and Whys of Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers, which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.
The bond between your original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the aesthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond, which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between your original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.
Porcelain veneers are a very successful option if your original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice if you have fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and if the position of your tooth is compromised or you have minor bite related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a porcelain veneer may be the best option.
The Benefits of Veneers
Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high tech materials.
With veneers, as opposed to crowns, your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer.
Potential Veneer Downsides
How Should i Take Care of My Veneers?
Because a portion of your original tooth enamel is reduced, a veneer is not considered a reversible treatment. Although adjustments and even new veneers can be made, you can never reliably return to the original condition of the tooth.
What to expect after my veneers are fixed?
After the porcelain veneers are attached you will probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to the removal of that thin layer of enamel. This typically disappears within a few days.
In a healthy mouth, properly treated with porcelain veneers, and where destructive forces are minimized or eliminated, you should be able to use porcelain veneers like your own teeth.
Although veneers are very strong, they are also brittle. You should avoid the same excessive stresses you would avoid with non-veneered teeth for example, don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles with your veneers!
Will they Look Like Normal Teeth?
When bonded to the teeth, the ultra-thin porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to coffee, tea, or even cigarette stains. For strength and appearance, their resemblance to healthy, white tooth enamel is unsurpassed by other restorative options.
Maintaining porcelain veneers is actually quite simple. Treat them as you would your natural teeth, with routine brushing and flossing.
One week after your veneers are placed, you will be required to return to the office for a follow up visit and evaluation so your dentist can see how your mouth is reacting to the veneers. Even if you feel the veneers are a success, this appointment is vital to your future oral health.
If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, your dentist may fit you with a night time bite guard so you do not damage your veneers.
You should also return to your dentist for regular professional maintenance because porcelain veneers should be checked for signs of failure and polished with a specially formulated, non-abrasive paste.