According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a veneer is a “thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.” They are custom made to the contour of your teeth and are bonded to the tooth’s original enamel during a series of in-office procedures.
Although veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth, they also protect the surface of damaged teeth and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments. Other benefits include durability, an improved smile appearance, and the need for little-to-no removal of tooth structure compared to crowns.
Regardless of what causes unattractive teeth, dental veneers may solve most or even all of your cosmetic dental issues, including:
⦁ Worn enamel: Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, dulled and discolored. Such wear and discoloration may be natural or result from a genetic predisposition. However, it often results from consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee; smoking; using certain medications, etc.
⦁ Wear and tear: Teeth naturally wear down as people age. Aged teeth are more likely to have chips, cracks or a generally uneven appearance.
⦁ Genetics: Certain people are born with abnormal spacing between their teeth that widens with age.
⦁ Uneven teeth: Uneven teeth can result from tooth grinding or general wear and tear.
Are you a Candidate ?
The removal of any natural tooth structure is permanent, so cosmetic dentists today prefer to offer patients the most minimally invasive options first. If your natural teeth are functionally and aesthetically adequate, veneers may not be an appropriate treatment for you.
However, if you have severely dull or discolored teeth, you may be a good candidate for veneers. They have the added benefit of longevity and a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped teeth.
To determine if you are a candidate for dental veneers, your dentist will schedule a preliminary consultation during which your oral health will be evaluated and all available treatment options discussed. Treatment involving tooth preparation is irreversible, so it is important that your dentist discuss any alternatives that provide the same results but with minimal to no removal of tooth structure.
If you and your dentist decide that veneers are the best option, the next step involves a thorough review of treatment details, including preparing your teeth for your specific veneer procedure and what will be necessary for them to look and fit correctly.
During your consultation, you will actively participate in the “smile design process.” By sharing your preferences for the shape, length, width and color of the veneers and the change in the appearance of your smile that you want them to create, you help ensure that your treatment will meet your expectations. Placing Veneers
The typical process takes two appointments.
⦁ Local anesthetia is not usually required when placing veneers. However, depending on the patient’s sensitivity, it can be used if needed. The dentist will clean the tooth and determine the correct shade for the veneer. The dentist will remove a very small amount of the enamel of the tooth to provide room to place the veneer on the tooth.
⦁ An impression of the tooth will be made for the laboratory and a temporary veneer will be placed on the tooth with spot etching in the center of the tooth away from the margins.
⦁ After the laboratory has delivered the porcelain veneer to your dentist, the temporary veneer is removed; the tooth is cleaned with pumice and water. The veneer is then etched, rinsed thoroughly with water and air dried. The adhesive is placed on the preparation and then the cement and the veneer is placed for exact fit and contour.
⦁ The veneer is then light cured for 60 seconds on all surfaces of it to attach it to the tooth structure.
⦁ Your dentist will remove any excess material and polish the margins of the veneer.
⦁ Many dentists will schedule a follow up visit to check for comfort; a comfortable veneer will be a long-lasting veneer.
Recovery and Post procedure care
Veneers are durable and have been shown to last for many years before requiring replacement. Seeing your dentist and hygienist for regular examinations and dental cleanings is important for maintaining the health of your mouth and longevity of your restorations.
Aftercare is extremely important. Chipped or fractured porcelain veneers cannot be repaired, so your dentist will advise you of the costs and added time associated with replacing a damaged restoration.
To reduce the risk of damage, do not bite or chew on hard objects such as nut shells or bones, and do not use your teeth to open or tear packages. Your dentist also may advise you to avoid certain foods that could cause damage. Because veneers are highly polish able, the risk of staining them with food or drink after the procedure is complete is greatly reduced. However, brushing after drinking red wine, coffee, tea or soda is advisable.
Keep in mind that veneers will need to be replaced at some point, no matter how well you take care of them. But proper oral hygiene will help them last as long as possible