With the popularity of cosmetic dentistry, so too, is the popularity of porcelain veneers on the rise. The tend to be a bit more costly than some other cosmetic dental options, but they are definitely the fastest, longest lasting and most natural looking option in many cases, especially regarding the whitening of stained teeth, straightening crooked teeth, and correcting the appearance of slightly chipped or cracked teeth.
The best thing about porcelain veneers, is that they are made of porcelain, which is very strong, smooth, and tooth- like in appearance. Once the color is selected to closest match the surrounding teeth, porcelain veneers are hard to differentiate from natural teeth.
1) What are veneers?
Porcelain veneers are very thin, wafer-like laminates, that adhere to the front side of your tooth. They are best for covering crooked teeth, to make them appear straight, for hiding gaps between teeth, for improving the look of broken or chipped teeth, and for improving the look of stained or discolored teeth. Although they are relatively new in cosmetic dentistry, they are very long lasting, and natural looking.
2) What’s the difference between a crown and a veneer?
A crown is used to cover the entire tooth, front, back and sides. A veneer covers only the front. Typically, a crown is used when the tooth has had more damage, such as a root canal due to a large cavity, or a cracked or broken tooth. Veneers are better for recreating the appearance of an otherwise healthy, intact tooth.
3) How long do porcelain veneers last?
Because veneers are relatively new to the cosmetic dentistry scene, no one can be sure just how long they will last. Everyone is different, some people grind their teeth, chew on ice or hard candy, there are any number of other traumas that could cause it to come off or otherwise break or chip. In a stress-free mouth, the porcelain veener should last in excess of 10 years.
4) What are the benefits of porcelain veneers?
Since porcelain is a ceramic, and therefore glass-like, its surface is extremely smooth and hard. This means that the surface of a porcelain veneer will not easily stain.
The smooth, translucent surface of porcelain mimics the reflective qualities of a tooth’s natural enamel, making it look very much like a natural tooth. Generally, porcelain is very brittle, but when bonded to the structure of a tooth, it is reinforced, and becomes very strong.
5) What are the disadvantages?
Porcelain veneers have the potential to break or come off. Because veneers are attached to the front surface of the tooth, there are several types of trauma that could cause the veneer to come off. As long as the veneer stays intact, and does not chip or break, it can usually be re cemented to the tooth. If the laminate chips or breaks, then often, it will have to be replaced with another one.
Having porcelain veneers placed is not reversible. The tooth is ‘trimmed’ to prepare the surface for the bonding adhesive, and although this does not change the overall appearance of the tooth, it does remove the enamel layer on the front of the tooth, requiring it to always have some sort of cosmetic solution intact.
6) What happens when the tooth is “trimmed”?To prepare the tooth for the porcelain veneer, the surface must be “trimmed.” The dentist will shave off the outer enamel layer of the tooth, usually in the same thickness as the veneer, which is typically .5mm. This process may or may not require a local anesthetic, and is a very mild amount of tooth-loss, when compared with what is often required for other cosmetic dental options.
7) What happens after the tooth is trimmed?
Once the tooth has been trimmed, a dental impression is made, and the veneers are fashioned (usually by hand in a high tech dental lab) to fit the impression of your tooth. Sometimes temporary veneers are used while you wait for the lab to create your customized permanent veneers.
8) How is the veneer cemented to the tooth?
The bonding agent or cement is determined by the dentist, based on the color of your veneer, in relation to your other teeth. The bonding agents come in several different tints, and you will be able to see the final result before the cement is cured, because once the cement is cured, the color cannot be changed.
9) How does one take care of a porcelain veneer?
There are several things that you should do to maintain the integrity and beauty of your new porcelain veneer(s).
– brush and floss regularly
– don’t chew hard candy, ice or anything that could otherwise chip or damage your veneers. Do not use your teeth to open plastic bags, bottles, or bite your nails.
-if you suspect that you clench or grind you teeth at night, while sleeping, you should wear a night guard, to protect your veneers from this force.
-avoid coffee, red wine and cigarettes that stain teeth.
10) Are veneers right for me?
This is something that you will need to discuss with your dentist. Porcelain veneers are not for everyone. You probably are not a good candidate for veneers, if you have weak or unhealthy teeth, if you grind at night, or if your teeth are severely broken or damaged. Your dentist will know what your best options are, and if you’re not convinced, get a second opinion. You don’t want to take chances when it comes to your health and your smile!
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