Porcelain veneers allow us the ability to give many patients white, straight, and natural looking teeth without the use of braces, surgery, or full coverage crowns.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of porcelain which is custom made to esthetically improve the color, shape, size or surface texture of a tooth. Each veneer is individually bonded to the front of the tooth.
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 8-10 years before they will need to be replaced.
The placement of porcelain veneers usually requires three visits to the dentist. The first is a consultation appointment in which we will examine the teeth and discuss the results you hope to achieve. Your doctor 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 front 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, an impression will be taken of the teeth. This impression is used to create your veneers. Temporary veneers made from composite will then be temporarily cemented.
The third appointment will take place approximately 3 weeks after the second and will be when your porcelain veneers are placed. Your doctor will hand shape the veneer to fit perfectly and will adjust the color as needed to achieve a natural look. Your teeth will be cleaned and polished 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 a curing light activates the chemicals in the cement. This ensures that the veneer is placed in exactly the right spot before it bonds to the tooth.
Am I a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers can be used to fix a multitude of cosmetic issues, such as those listed below, which can be reversed very quickly and without 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 qualify for porcelain veneers. However, 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, we may suggest that you seek alternative forms of treatment 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 because they can be broken or damaged. To protect your new smile, you should avoid chewing hard candies or ice. We may also recommend wearing 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. Brushing and flossing daily is critical.