You want to look your best. You may be one of the millions that want to dramatically improve your smile. Maybe there is just one tooth that is a bit out of place or twisted. You wonder if even small issues can be fixed or made to look perfect. If this is you, then perhaps dental veneers might be right for you.
So What Are Veneers?
These are simply thin layers of porcelain laid over the enamel of your existing tooth. This can help alter size, shape or color. So what issues can be fixed with this procedure?
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Twisted or crooked teeth
- Odd-sized teeth
- Older fillings that have become stained and discolored
- Gaps in your pearly whites (which might not be so white)
- A tooth that has moved backward
Unlike a crown, much less tooth is lost or altered to attach the cap. But this is not a reversible procedure. Some of the tooth is removed to attached the cap and to make it appear natural.
In the past, ceramic was the material that was previously used for this procedure. However ceramic does not have the translucency of a more modern material, which gives a much more realistic appearance.
There are times when a composite veneer may be an option. The composite variety can actually be built up inside the mouth instead of only being crafted outside and cemented in place. Your dentist will explain the different options and which is right for you.
An initial consultation will be performed by your dentist. This will involved X-Rays and a full mouth examination. It will be important to determine if your teeth are healthy enough for this cosmetic procedure. This is one area where communication is critical to achieve the desired result. Take your time determining exactly what improvements you would like to make and the options for each.
While it is true many celebrities in Hollywood, athletics and the music industry have porcelain which gives them their Hollywood smile, every mouth is different. You will first have a full mouth analysis to determine which steps need to be taken to begin the process. You may also be able to “try on’ some temporary caps to help you in your decision.
Cosmetic imaging will provide you will photos of what your smile just might look like. This can often be a very helpful step in your decision of what you hope to achieve.
As mentioned previously, a small amount of enamel will be removed. Usually this is less than one millimeter. This allows for the tooth to look natural and fit in place. However, it is this step that makes the process irreversible.
As mentioned, the enamel will be trimmed back. The amount is about the thickness of a eggshell. A mold will then be taken of the affected tooth. At times, a temporary piece can be placed over the trimmed back area. Usually this is not needed as the permanent porcelain will be ready in about one week.
The enamel is then etched using a gel or other method to provide a rough surface for the cement. The cement used will be matched to the color of your other enamels. Then it is simply a matter of waiting a week until your new smile arrives and is in place.
What About No-Prep Veneers?
If you have researched this topic much, you may have heard of minimal prep or no prep procedures. This is described clearly in the follow article from yoursmilebecomesyou.com, authored by The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry:
Some patients are looking for an alternative to traditional dental veneers or bonding, but be aware that this treatment option is not appropriate for everyone.
Just as with porcelain veneers, “no-prep” or minimal preparation veneers— so called because they typically don’t require the dentist to remove as much tooth material—are bonded to the front surface of your teeth.
Your AACD member dentist will let you know if you are a good candidate for minimal preparation or “no-prep” veneers and if this option makes a sensible treatment plan. Porcelain Veneers | Dental Veneers | Cosmetic Dentistry
At times the gums may also need to be altered a bit to give the desired appearance. Overall the aesthetics and functionality of your teeth will be greatly improved. There are even times when no enamel preparation will be needed. As this is a personal procedure, our cosmetic dentists will explain the options and which procedure is right for you.Each mouth is different and requires different steps for each person.
The end result for you will appear very natural. It will be stain resistant, very strong and scratch resistant. Your entire mouth structure can actually become even stronger.
Gums usually tolerate porcelain very well unlike some of the other compounds used for restoration. The procedure is pain free and the results are almost immediate.
Care of the Veneers
The porcelain will usually last from between 5-15 years but can last even longer if properly taken care of and maintained. The maintenance is almost exactly as you are used to already. Brush twice per day. Floss every day. And have your annual checkups.
The cost can vary widely depending on numerous factors. At times insurance can pay for some of the restoration.
porcelainneveers.jpg image from http://www.samdental.org/
prepless image from yoursmilebecomesyou.com
traditional image from yoursmilebecomesyou.com