If you feel self-conscious about your smile because you have yellowed teeth or have chipped or broken a tooth, you may want to look at dental veneers.
Dental veneers fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry, and are frequently used if you’ve damaged your teeth.
Veneers – What Are They?
Dental veneers – also known as porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates – are wafer-thin pieces of porcelain which slip over your tooth to transform your smile. They also help to protect the underlying natural tooth enamel when they are bonded to the front of your teeth. Veneers can be used to change the color, size, length shape of your teeth.
An alternative to porcelain veneers uses composite resin to cover the surface of the tooth.
What Can Veneers be Used For?
Veneers are used in both restorative and cosmetic dentistry procedures:
- Teeth that have been worn down over time and need to be built back up to protect the structure of the teeth.
- Chips or cracks in your teeth, if not taken care of, may lead to longer-term major issues.
- Closing of gaps in your teeth (usually the front teeth) is a popular use of veneers.
- Misshapen or uneven teeth can be made to look more aesthetically pleasing.
- Mild cases of tooth misalignment can be corrected using veneers without having to resort to orthodontic procedures.
- Lengthening of teeth. Having shorter teeth, while likely not a functional problem, can be made to look longer with veneers.
- Teeth whitening for some people does not work very well. If you took Tetracycline as a child for example, you’ll have a tough time getting the white look you desire. Veneers solve that issue since they fit over your teeth and come in many shades of white to transform your smile.
Composite Resin vs Porcelain
Composite resin is the material that is used in white fillings. It is also used to fix a tooth that has been chipped. It can also be used as a layer over your existing teeth to make them whiter. Composite resin has some benefits over porcelain, and vice versa. Let’s look at some of the more common differences:
- Longevity: porcelain veneers last longer (10-20 years) than composite resin which is not as resilient.
- Shine: porcelain has a shinier look since the surface is very smooth and reflective, just like natural teeth.
- Time: composite veneers (or repairs using composite) can often be performed in a single office visit, whereas porcelain veneers are made in a local dental lab and can take 2 or 3 weeks to come back.
- Repairs: if you break or chip a porcelain veneer, it’s generally not fixable, whereas composite material is easily repaired.
- Cost: composite resin is much more affordable than porcelain veneers.
- Your teeth are less prone to staining, especially with porcelain because they are not as porous as your natural teeth enamel.
- Porcelain veneers look just like normal healthy teeth because of their smooth and shiny surface.
- The material comes in a wide variety of shades, so it can be matched to the color of your other teeth or made several shades lighter as part of an overall smile makeover.
- In a few cases, it’s a quicker and more affordable way to correct minor misalignment rather than go through a course of orthodontic correction.
Things to Know About Veneers
- Once you have your veneers in place, the shade of white cannot be changed. Teeth whitening gels do not work on porcelain or composite materials.
- Porcelain veneers are difficult, if not impossible to repair. If they get damaged, you will likely require a new veneer.
- If you grind your teeth or prone to biting your nails or chewing on a pen, talk to Dr. Cash first to see if this is the best course of action.
- The process is not reversible since we remove a very thin layer of tooth at the start of the treatment.
- If you have severe tooth or gum decay, then Dr. Cash will recommend these get treated prior to any cosmetic dental work.
What to Expect
- Dr. Cash will sit with you and discuss the results that you want to achieve and provide recommendations.
- Next, he will take a good look at the health and structure of your teeth to make sure that veneers are an appropriate solution for you. X-rays may also be taken. At the same time, he’ll check for any pre-existing issues with your gums.
- You need to know what happens during the procedure (it’s pretty painless).
- Veneers may not give you a broad dazzling Hollywood smile, so Dr. Cash will let you know what kind of results to expect and if there are any special care procedures.
- Lastly, Dr. Cash will discuss how to care for and get the most out of your new smile.
- In order to fit the veneers over your teeth, Dr. Cash will remove a very thin layer of tooth.
- Next, we’ll take an impression of your teeth to get an accurate fit for your new veneers.
- The impression model is sent to our local dental lab that will be making your veneers.
- Since the veneers take a few weeks, we’ll fit you with temporary veneers which are made of composite resin. They’ll look nice, just not as nice as the final porcelain product.
- While waiting for your veneers, we’ll ask you to take special care of the temporaries, including flossing, avoiding biting hard food etc.
Now that your veneers have arrived, it’s a simple and relatively quick task of bonding them to your teeth. Here are the steps:
- Removal of any temporary composite veneers.
- Clean and prepare the tooth.
- Test the veneer to make sure it’s a perfect fit.
- Dental cement is applied to the veneer, which is then placed on your tooth.
- To cure the cement, we apply a special light which takes less than a minute.
- There may be some final adjustments to the shape and fit including removal of any excess cement.
- Lastly, we’ll give the veneers a good polish to get them gleaming bright!
Caring for your Veneers
Now that you have your awesome smile, here are some recommendations to get the best out of your veneers.
- It’s important to follow good oral hygiene such as flossing on a daily basis.
- Avoid chewing super sticky foods and avoid biting on hard foods such as almonds.
- If you bite your nails or chew on pens, this could cause premature failure of your veneers. That’s a costly error!
- Come in to visit Dr. Cash and his friendly staff every six months for a regular oral exam and check up.
Dental veneers are an awesome way to enhance your smile. Many of your friends and Austin neighbors have great smiles because they’ve taken advantage of porcelain veneers. When you call our office, you’ll discover how easy and affordable this procedure can be.