Ready to learn all about porcelain veneers? Our team at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, Colorado can guide you through the best options for your teeth. Getting dental veneers is typically a fast, simple, and painless procedure that can solve a range of cosmetic problems. If you are unsure whether veneers are the right option for you, keep reading. We will take you through the ins and outs of the procedure as well as the advantages and potential drawbacks of getting veneers.
What are Porcelain Veneers
Veneers are custom-made shells of a material designed to look exactly like your natural teeth. They are applied to the front surface of a tooth and are very successful in improving the tooth's appearance by changing its shape, size or color. Dental veneers are typically made of composite resin materials or porcelain. They are slightly more true to the appearance of tooth enamel, as they have similar light reflecting properties. Another reason to favor porcelain is that they are more resistant to staining than resin veneers.
Who Should Consider Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are most often considered by people that have a cosmetic issue with one or many of their teeth. Acquired problems can include a chipped or broken tooth. If the tooth in question is still structurally sound and functional, having a porcelain veneer applied will instantly fix the aesthetic problem. Some people with overly worn down teeth, especially those at the front of the mouth, choose to get veneers to even out the size of the affected teeth.
Veneers also provide a solution for heavily stained teeth. Tooth yellowing can be a result of smoking tobacco or frequent consumption of dark-colored drinks such as coffee and red wine. Tooth discoloration can sometimes occur as a side effect of the antibiotic tetracycline or after a root canal treatment. If traditional teeth whitening methods do not produce good results, porcelain veneers allow you to choose the exact shade of white they prefer for the visible surface of their teeth.
Porcelain veneers are also great if you want to get the appearance of a straight, even smile without investing a lot of time and money into orthodontic braces. Veneers can be custom shaped to fill out the gaps between teeth, increase the size of smaller teeth, and even out the surface and borders of any oddly shaped teeth.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The first stage of getting veneers is the consultation and diagnosis. For this, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth examined and discuss your goals. Your dentist will be able to decide if you are a suitable candidate for veneers and the extent to which veneers can achieve your desired look. During this appointment, the dentist may take X-rays of your mouth or impressions of your teeth with a mold.
The next stage involves prepping the tooth or teeth. The enamel on the front of each tooth receiving a veneer has to be filed down by around half a millimeter to allow space for the veneer. You can be given a local anesthetic to numb the whole area and reduce any discomfort during this process. A mold can then be taken of the prepped tooth and sent to a dental laboratory where the veneer will be constructed over a period of two to four weeks. Constructing the dental veneer involves painted a number of layers of porcelain ceramic onto the mold of your tooth, to build it up to the desired thickness and shape.
The final step is to permanently bond the veneer to your prepped tooth. Your dentist will fit the veneer onto the tooth and make any last minute adjustment to the shape by filing it down before using a specialized cement to adhere the veneer to your tooth. Once the veneer is in position and cemented onto the tooth, a curing light is used to activate chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden quickly. Your dentist will remove any excess cement and check your bite with the veneer in place. You may be asked to return in a few weeks to check how your gums have responded to the veneer.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
This option highly recommended by dentists as a long-term solution for teeth in need of aesthetic improvement. The material closely mimics the appearance, color, and texture of your natural teeth. The color of a porcelain veneer can be chosen to match the surrounding teeth and will not stain over time. Porcelain is tolerated well by surrounding gum tissue and unlikely to cause irritation. One big advantage is their ease of placement. They do not require the level of invasive shaping and molding used when placing a crown.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers
The main downside to veneers is that they are not completely permanent. They usually last at least 7 to 15 years, but due to normal wear and tear they can eventually chip, crack or come loose completely. If this happens, you will need to replace the veneer with a new one, as once the tooth has been filed down and prepped for a veneer it is unwise to leave it bare. In this way, veneers are a non-reversible procedure. Another disadvantage associated with veneers is that some people will experience an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold due to the removal of some enamel from the tooth. They also cost more than composite resin veneers.
Porcelain veneers are an excellent option for anyone interested in changing the appearance of their teeth without opting for the more invasive and expensive procedure of a full crown. Once they are placed, they are low-maintenance and require no special care, apart from the usual brushing and flossing. Now that you know all about them, why not schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss your suitability for the procedure? At Bertagnolli Dental, we are fortunate to have the use of an in-house laboratory where we can create custom porcelain veneers. This means a lower overall cost and less waiting time than in other clinics where the lab work must be outsourced.