What makes someone’s smile beautiful? That is a complicated question, but some of the qualities of a great smile can be immediately identified; pearly white teeth and perfect shape and alignment. These are just a few of the obvious features of a beautiful smile. If you could stand to improve your teeth, you may want to think about porcelain veneers.
What’s a Veneer?
You may already have an idea of what a veneer is. It’s a thin covering over another surface. Speaking in dental terms, a veneer is a thin layer of extremely strong porcelain that’s used as a substitute for natural tooth enamel. When a veneer is bonded to the tooth, it creates a natural looking new surface. That’s because dental porcelain is strong and lustrous. However, porcelain doesn’t stain like normal tooth enamel does.
Advances in Porcelain Veneers
Recently, there have been some extraordinary advances made in the field of dental porcelain. Today, veneers can be made so thin that they can be bonded directly to the surface of the tooth. In some cases, a very thin layer of tooth enamel – as thin as the actual veneer itself – needs to be removed to fit the new porcelain surface, giving it a very realistic and life-like look. The results of these new veneers are enough to make anyone smile!
Porcelain Veneers are Versatile
Dentists can now use veneers to improve any of the follow problems a person may have with their teeth:
- Color — Alignment and Spacing: Veneers can be ideal for closing up a small gap or space in between teeth or to make minor corrections to alignment-an added benefit is being able to improve the color and shape of teeth at the same time.
- Size & Shape — Color: Teeth can become discolored or stained from the things a person eats or drinks, smoking or even through normal aging. Veneers are the perfect solution and come in numerous shades, from the most realistic color to gleaming Hollywood white!
- Alignment & Spacing — Size and Shape: Over time, teeth can get worn down from grinding, or perhaps a person’s teeth aren’t the shape or size they’d like to begin with. Veneers can be used to change the shape and size of a person’s teeth and it will create a more flattering look.
There are some instances in which veneers would not work. If you have significantly misaligned teeth or a large gap, a dentist might advise you to see an orthodontist instead of having veneers done. Losing tooth structure because of grinding, decay or trauma can be fixed with the application of a crown or cap that fits over the entire structure of the tooth. Only your dentist can do an exam to determine if veneers would be right for you.
Your Smile Design
When you visit a dentist to discuss a smile make-over, it’s important to outline clearly what you do and don’t like about your teeth. It’s also a good idea to bring a few pictures of different smiles with you to give the dentist something to visualize. A dentist can show a patient how veneers would look on their teeth in many ways. By taking a mold of a patient’s teeth, a dentist can put veneers on the wax model. Another way of showing how veneers would look on a patient’s teeth is to put acrylic or tooth colored composite material on the teeth to give someone an idea of what veneers would look like.
Your New Smile
Once a patient and dentist have agreed on a plan, the teeth will be prepared by removing a small amount of enamel, if needed. Molds of the patient’s teeth will be taken and used by the dental lab to create the veneers. The patient will receive a set of temporary veneers to wear in the meantime. The dentist will be in touch with the lab during the fabrication process to make sure the finished product is exactly what the patient wants. When the veneers come back to the dental office, they are then cemented onto a patient’s teeth.
Dental Veneer Care
Just like with natural teeth, veneers need to be cared for through daily gentle brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing will remove plaque build-up and ensure the gums are clean and healthy. Through routine dental check-ups and good oral care, porcelain veneers can last for a very long time.
It’s important to bear in mind that veneers are not as strong as natural teeth and may not be able to withstand the abuse some people put their natural teeth through. Biting into hard or sticky foods can result in a veneer popping off. Lastly, if a patient grinds or clenches their teeth, a dentist may want to make a custom-made mouth guard to protect the veneers.
Text Copyright © 2015 Louis K. Cheung DDS PS – All rights reserved. Images used under license from Dear Doctor, Inc.