Porcelain veneers allow us the ability to completely transform your smile into one you can be proud of for years. Advanced technology in the field of cosmetic dentistry has allowed us the ability to give patients white, straight, and natural looking teeth without the use of braces or surgery.
Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells of tooth-colored material that are designed to be placed over the surface of each tooth. 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 better mimic the way light naturally reflects off the surface of teeth. Veneers will usually last between 5-10 years before they will need to be replaced.
Am I a candidate?
Veneers can be used to fix a multitude of cosmetic issues. Issues such as these 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 and contour
Patients of all types may qualify for porcelain veneers. However, those with who smoke or who have weak teeth will not qualify. 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 dentist may suggest that you seek alternative forms of treatment if your teeth are still functionally and esthetically adequate.
The placement of porcelain veneers usually requires 3 visits to the dentist. The first is a consultation appointment in which the dentist will examine the teeth and discuss the results you hope to achieve. The dentist will discuss the procedure with you as well as what results you can reasonably expect.
The second appointment is to prepare the teeth for the veneers. Your doctor will remove approximately ½ millimeter of enamel from the surface of the tooth, which is approximately the thickness of the veneer that will be added to the surface of the tooth. After the enamel is removed, the dentist will take an impression of the teeth. The impression is used to create your veneers.
The third appointment will take place approximately 1-2 weeks after the second and will be when your veneers are placed. The dentist will hand shape and trip the veneer to fit perfectly and will adjust the color as needed to achieve a natural look. Your teeth will be cleaned, polished, and etched to ensure that the veneer can strongly bond to your tooth. The veneer is then applied to the teeth using a special cement that bonds only when the dentist uses a special light beam that activates the chemicals in the cement. This ensures that the veneer is placed in exactly the right spot before it bonds to the tooth. In all, the procedure usually takes several hours.
Porcelain veneers act much like your natural teeth, however you must take care to not abuse the veneers because they can be broken or damaged. Your dentist may suggest that you avoid foods like raw carrots to minimize shock to the veneer. You may also be asked to wear a sleep guard to protect your teeth if you grind your teeth in your sleep.
Continuing to follow good oral hygiene procedures will also lengthen the lifespan of your veneers. Continue to brush and floss twice daily.