Do chipped, stained or crooked teeth keep you from smiling? Does the thought of major cosmetic dentistry make you uncomfortable? Then porcelain veneers might be the answer for you, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, and organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.
Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic material, which are bonded to the front of teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth….
Why porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size or shape. Porcelain veneers can mask undesirable defects, such a teeth stained by tetracycline, by an injury, or as a result of a root-canal procedure, and are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may consider porcelain veneers. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.
What happens during the procedure?
It usually takes two visits to prepare and place veneers. In the first visit, your dentist will discuss the shape and size of your teeth and remove a tiny bit of tooth material, to make room for the veneer to fit over it without sticking out. This includes shortening the incisal (biting) edge, and sanding a tiny bit of material off the face of the tooth. The dentist will then make an impression, or mold of your teeth and send it to the lab, where laboratory technicians will create the veneers from strong, natural looking porcelain.
On the second visit, your dentist will check the veneer’s fit and color and permanently place them over your teeth. This appointment will take about one or two hours. First, the dentist places the veneers with water or glycerin on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, view the esthetic results, and pay particular attention to the color. At this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of cement to be used. The color cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once the special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth, a visible light beam initiates the release of a catalyst to harden the cement.
While veneers are strong and long lasting, they require proper oral hygiene and the same care you would show your natural teeth. (No opening bottles with your teeth or chewing ice!)
Keep in mind that a veneer’s color cannot be changed after it is placed. So if you plan to whiten your teeth, you should do it before getting veneers, as the porcelain cannot be altered through bleaching.