A great smile makes a wonderful first impression when meeting new people and adds warmth to a greeting of family and friends. If you aren't happy with your smile because of physical or cosmetic reasons, you might feel inhibited about showing your cheeky grin. Porcelain veneers can solve a number of dental issues and help put that smile back on your face. The following contains some basic information on porcelain veneers and how they can help you.
Porcelain Veneers Defined
Dental veneers are thin slices of either composite resin or porcelain that are custom made to fit over the front of your teeth. The porcelain veneers look more natural and are not as likely to stain as the resin variety. That means you won't have to give up your morning coffee or that slice of blueberry pie. These veneers are permanently attached and usually last between 7 and 20 years before they need replaced. Good oral hygiene practices makes them last longer.
Types of Problems Dental Veneers Solve
- Sometimes teeth become discolored because of root canal treatment, reactions to certain drugs or due to large fillings that don't match the surrounding tooth. Dental veneers cover up the discolored teeth.
- Teeth that are worn down, chipped or broken also benefit from veneers. The veneers not only improve the cosmetic look of your teeth, they provide added strength.
- Sometimes teeth are misaligned or are oddly shaped. You may have unsightly gaps between your teeth. Dental veneers cover up these issues, giving you a nice, even smile.
How Are Porcelain Veneers Applied?
The dentist removes thin layers of your natural teeth, usually done using a local anesthetic. Then, a mold is made of your teeth which will be used to create the custom fit veneers. After that, the dentist applies temporary veneers to your natural teeth. This protects them while you are waiting for the permanent veneers. You'll have to be careful when eating or brushing while wearing the temporary veneers. Once you get the custom veneers in, this isn't an issue because they are permanently glued into place.
The temporary veneers, since they cover up the imperfections, give you a preview of what your smile will look like when the procedure is done. Most dentists require three visits for your veneer application; the first for the molds and temporaries, the second for the permanent veneers and the third as a follow-up visit.
How Do You Care For Porcelain Veneers?
Your permanent veneer application follow-up visit is usually about one week after the procedure. The dentist will make sure that the veneers are holding up and that there are no related oral problems. After that, you care for your veneers just as you would natural teeth.
That means regular brushing and flossing, and regularly scheduled professional cleanings. Most dentists suggest you use a non-abrasive toothpaste that contains fluoride. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, let your dentist know. He may prescribe a bite guard to protect the veneers while you are sleeping.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
- The color of a porcelain veneer can usually be matched to existing teeth. In some cases when the color match is not exact, a dentist will advise having veneers attached to neighboring teeth for a more natural look.
- Porcelain veneers don't irritate gum tissue, as long as they are installed correctly. When your dentist applies the permanent veneers, he continually checks and trims the veneers until he has a perfect fit. At your follow-up visit, he'll check the gum-line for any signs of irritation.
- Having veneers applied is usually a more cost effective treatment than having crowns applied. It is also a more conservative approach to treating an unsightly tooth. Adding a crown means grinding away a larger portion of your natural tooth so the crown will fit properly. Because more of that tooth remains, the porcelain veneered version tends to be stronger and more visually appealing.