Porcelain veneers are a dental restoration used to brighten discolored teeth as well as fix a number of other cosmetic and general dentistry issues. This restoration has been growing in popularity in both fields of dentistry, as veneers are easily applied and quite versatile. Today patients request porcelain veneers to improve the overall look of their smile and to repair a number of different dental issues.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are made from of a very thin shell of tooth-colored porcelain. This restoration is used almost exclusively on the front teeth. The porcelain shell is placed over the visible surfaces of your teeth, immediately improving the overall look of your smile. Many consider porcelain veneers to be purely cosmetic restorations, however they can often be used as a restorative treatment option for a number of dental issues. In many cases, veneers may be a preferred alternative to more extensive options such as dental crowns.
What dental issues can porcelain veneers fix?
Porcelain veneers can be used to correct a number of both cosmetic and general dentistry issues, including:
- Tooth discoloration – over time, stains from food, beverages, and tobacco use can build up on the teeth. In many instances, this buildup becomes too stubborn to be removed through conventional dental cleanings. This is the most common use for porcelain veneers. These restorations can even cover stains on the teeth that are caused by medications, genetic conditions, and age.
- Tooth injuries – teeth that have smaller cracks or chips can easily be fixed with porcelain veneers. This restoration can also be used to correct teeth that have become uneven due to bruxism. In these cases, porcelain veneers are often preferred to more extensive dental restorations such as dental crowns.
- Misshapen or misaligned teeth – if your teeth are misshapen, porcelain veneers can give your teeth a more natural appearance. If you have minor alignment issues, they may also present an alternative to orthodontics.
- Unusual gaps between teeth – if you have unusually large gaps between your teeth, porcelain veneers can close these gaps, leaving you with a more even and natural looking smile.
When are porcelain veneers appropriate?
When tooth discoloration has been caused by habits such as smoking or a poor diet and hygiene, Dr. Mabry may recommend that you undergo a series of deep cleanings or whitening treatments before porcelain veneers are considered. This is because placing porcelain veneers requires the removal a small portion of your healthy tooth enamel, a process that is irreversible. However, veneers may be preferable to repair cracked, chipped, and broken teeth if a dental crown would otherwise be used. This is because dental crowns are more extensive and require more of the healthy enamel to be removed.
How should I care for my porcelain veneers?
While porcelain veneers are stain-resistant, they can still become dull or damaged. Avoid using tobacco products, and brush and floss twice a day in order to keep your veneers looking great for as long as possible. In some cases, Dr. Mabry may also ask that you avoid certain foods or beverages if he believes they may cause staining or damage to the restorations. If you suffer from bruxism, you will be prescribed a protective mouth guard to wear while you sleep in order to protect the veneers and your remaining teeth from damage.
What is involved in placing porcelain veneers?
During your initial appointment, Dr. Mabry will take an impression of your teeth. He will also discuss shade options with you, and have you pick what shade of porcelain you would like for your restoration. The mold and shade preferences will be sent to a dental laboratory where your porcelain veneers will be created and customized. During your consultation, our dentist will take an impression of your teeth that will be sent to a dental laboratory in order to create your porcelain veneers. Your mouth will then be numbed so that your teeth can be prepared for your veneers. A small portion of the tooth enamel will be removed from your front teeth to prepare them for being bonded to the veneers. After around six weeks, your veneers will arrive and a special dental cement will be used to permanently bond the porcelain shells to your teeth.
Veneers Recovery and Post-Procedure Care
When cared for properly, porcelain veneers are very durable and stain-resistant. You will need to maintain a regular schedule of bi-annual visits so that Dr. Mabry can check ensure your restoration remains free of any damage or staining. If the veneers have loosened, they will be adjusted at this time as well. If you notice any staining, loosening, or damage between visits to our office, call and schedule an appointment to have your veneers repaired or replaced as soon as possible.