Veneers can be your ally if you want to hide dental imperfections. These clever tools are thin shells custom-made to look like teeth in color and shape. Sometimes, veneers are called dental porcelain laminates or porcelain veneers. These are attached to the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance. If you want to…
Understanding the Dental Veneers Process
If you are wanting a smile makeover, veneers are an affordable and effective option. As a restorative solution, dental veneers are custom-made shells bonded to the front of your teeth. They are made of thin composite resin or porcelain and attached with dental cement. The veneers share the same color as the natural tooth, but the covering is used to hide unsightly issues with your natural teeth.
What are dental veneers used for?
You and your dentist may decide veneers are a good solution for correcting some tooth imperfections.
Stained or discolored teeth
Coffee, wine, tea, foods with a lot of pigmentation, and smoking can discolor your teeth over time, turning them yellow or brown. Bleaching the tooth enamel is one option for whitening your teeth, but they can become stained again, and you may have to repeat the process. Veneers offer a more permanent solution for teeth whitening. They are more resistant to stains than natural teeth.
Tooth enamel is pretty strong, but some factors can wear it down:
- Highly acidic foods and drinks
- Aggressive brushing
- Stomach acid from gastrointestinal reflux
Once enamel is gone, it does not come back. Fortunately, veneers can cover the teeth and act as an enamel replacement.
Chipped, cracked, or misaligned teeth
Veneers fit the front of your teeth and can cover cracks, chips, or gaps. They can also camouflage slightly misaligned teeth. They do not straighten teeth, but veneers can be a cosmetic alternative to straightening.
How does the dentist apply veneers?
The process of applying dental veneers begins with an initial consultation. You and your dentist can talk about the improvements you want to make and go over the process.
If you get porcelain veneers, the application process may require two or three visits. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth for the custom veneers, and you return to the office after they are made. Composite veneers are usually applied in one visit.
Your dentist may remove a small amount of your tooth enamel from the sides and fronts of the teeth that will receive veneers. This procedure helps the cement stick to the surface.
If you are getting porcelain veneers, the dentist adheres them to your teeth with the adhesive and shapes them for a custom fit. With composite veneers, the dentist applies very thin layers of resin to your teeth, hardening each layer with a special light. When the veneers are completely attached, the dentist shapes and polishes them for a natural finish.
Porcelain veneers, while more expensive, have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. Composite veneers have a shorter lifespan of about five to seven years. However, taking good care of your dental veneers can increase their lifespan.
Your dentist may recommend you avoid foods and drinks that can stain the veneers. Good oral care habits are essential, too. You should brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and nonabrasive toothpaste and floss daily. Avoid chewing on ice, pencils, or hard candy. If you grind your teeth at night or play contact sports, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard to protect your veneers from damage. In some cases, severe teeth grinding habits could lead to a recommendation for an alternative restorative treatment.
Qualifying for veneers
In spite of the extensive changes veneers can bring to a smile, not everyone is a candidate for this process. You will meet with your dentist to discuss how veneers work and are installed, but your dentist will also make sure your mouth is healthy enough to place the veneer. Decay or disease in the teeth and gums needs to be addressed.
If you have tooth decay, your dentist will not further jeopardize compromised enamel. You will get a treatment plan to bring your teeth and mouth up to optimal health before moving forward with veneers. If you have gingivitis, placing the veneers can complicate things. The swollen or bleeding gums can interfere with the compression process and create ill-fitting veneers. When left untreated, gingivitis will cause the gums to recede. This can lead to a visible margin where the veneer was placed.
If you are bothered by cosmetic issues with your teeth, dental veneers may be a good choice for you. These are natural-looking restorations to the smile, covering up stains, chipped or misshapen teeth or uneven spacing between the upper front teeth. This is an investment and can be expensive, so talk to your dentist about your options and get answers to your questions before deciding.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Dental Veneers and Dental Laminates in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
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