Porcelain veneers allow us the ability to completely transform your smile into one that you can be proud of for years. Advanced technology in the field of cosmetic dentistry has allowed us the ability to fix teeth with veneers and to give patients white, straight, and natural looking teeth without the use of braces or surgery.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic dentistry procedure that involves wafer thin shells of tooth colored material designed to be placed over the surface of the teeth, typically the ones that show when you smile. Each custom made shell is bonded to the front of the teeth, which completely changes their appearance, color, shape, size, or length.
Porcelain veneers are designed to resist stains better than other types of veneers and appear more natural because they mimic the way light naturally reflects off of the surface of the teeth. Veneers usually last between seven to ten years before they need to be replaced.
The placement of porcelain veneers usually requires three visits to the doctor. The first is a cosmetic dentistry consultation appointment in which the doctor will examine the teeth and discuss the results that you hope to achieve. The doctor will discuss the procedure with you as well as the results that you can reasonably expect when you choose to fix teeth with veneers.
The second appointment is to prepare your teeth for the veneers. Your doctor will remove about 0.5 millimeters of enamel from the surfaces of the teeth, which is approximately the thickness of the veneers. After the enamel is removed, the doctor will take an impression of the teeth. The impression is used to create your porcelain veneers.
The third appointment will take place approximately two to three weeks after the second and will be when your veneers are placed. The doctor will hand shape and trim the veneers to fit perfectly as needed to achieve a natural look. Your teeth will be cleaned, polished, and etched to ensure that the veneers can strongly bond to your teeth. The veneers are then applied to the teeth using a special cement that bonds only when the doctor uses a special light beam that activates the chemicals in the cement. This ensures that the veneers are placed in exactly the right spot before they bond to the teeth. In all, the procedure usually takes a few hours, depending on the number of veneers you are receiving.
Am I a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers can be used to fix a multitude of cosmetic dentistry issues. Issues such as those below can be reversed very quickly and with no surgery or braces.
- Worn enamel
- Wear and tear
- Uneven teeth
- Permanent stains, such as those caused by antibiotics administered in childhood
- Teeth that are dissimilar in color or contour
Patients of all types may wish to fix teeth with veneers and benefit from the placement of porcelain veneers. However, those who smoke or have weak teeth may not be candidates. Additionally, those who have periodontal disease, decay, missing teeth, or who need major orthodontic work may require additional treatments prior to having veneers placed.
The removal of any natural tooth structure, including enamel, is permanent. Thus, your doctor may suggest that you seek alternative forms of treatment rather than fix teeth with veneers if your teeth are still functionally and esthetically adequate.
How do I care for my porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers act much like your natural teeth. However, you must take care to not abuse the veneers, as they can be broken or damaged. Your doctor may suggest that you avoid biting into foods that are hard or firm with your veneered teeth to minimize shock to the veneers. You may also be asked to wear a night guard to protect your teeth if you grind your teeth in your sleep.
Continuing to follow good oral hygiene procedures will also help to lengthen the lifespan of your veneers. Continue to brush and floss twice daily, and maintain regular dental visits for cleanings and exam.