It is not unusual for individuals who suffer from teeth with stains, chips or gaps to assume that this is the sort of unfortunate problem for which there is no solution. After all, teeth that have these issues are rarely in such a terrible state that they need to be entirely extracted and replaced. However, there is no reason that one has to simply “deal with” such a condition and feel self-conscious or embarrassed by their teeth. Instead, one should consider the benefits that dental veneers can provide them.
Dental Veneer Basics
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry describes dental veneers as thin pieces of porcelain that are placed over the front of teeth in order to help recreate the look of healthy, natural teeth and also provide the individual with the strength and resilience found in natural tooth enamel. Veneers are created for each individual’s specific teeth, and as such are the most effective way to bring about aesthetically pleasing results without the need for dental crowns or braces.
There are several different options for veneer materials, but porcelain veneers are the most commonly used and can last from one to two decades when properly cared for. That said, it is important to recognize that they do eventually wear down and need replacement. Furthermore, since the placement of dental veneers requires the removal of some small amount of tooth enamel, this procedure is irreversible. Your dentist will discuss with you the pros and cons of having dental veneers, so that together you can decide whether this treatment is appropriate for you.
What to Expect
Once you and your dentist have determined that dental veneers are best for your specific situation, he will have you schedule two dental visits. During these two visits your dentist will:
- Decide whether local anesthetic is necessary. The procedure for placing dental veneers is not considered invasive or uncomfortable. However, some individuals experience extreme dental sensitivity, in which case the administration of local anesthetic can make the procedure far more comfortable.
- Thoroughly clean the tooth. In order to ensure that the tooth is healthy and ready to be prepared for veneer placement, the dentist must first clean the tooth. If there is any tooth decay or other issues that need to be resolved prior to veneer placement, the dentist will discuss those procedures and get them scheduled first.
- Determine the correct shade for the veneer. One of the primary benefits of dental veneers is their ability to mimic healthy, natural teeth. In order to bring about the desired effects, the dentist will match the shade of other healthy, natural teeth in the mouth.
- Remove a small amount of tooth enamel. Dental veneers must be placed over the teeth in such a way that they fit well and don’t crowd other teeth, and this usually requires a very small amount of enamel removal.
- Take an impression of the tooth. In order for the dental laboratory to make veneers that fit perfectly over specific teeth, dental impressions are taken of these teeth.
- Place a temporary veneer over the tooth. During the time that the impressions are sent to the dental laboratory and the veneers are fabricated, temporary veneers will protect the prepared teeth.
- Once the veneers are received, the dentist will remove the temporary veneer and clean the tooth with pumice and water. This helps to ensure that the tooth is truly prepared to receive the veneer, the pumice helping to rough up the surface for better adhesion.
- Etch, rinse and dry the veneer. The veneer itself is prepared for smooth adhesion through etching, rinsing and drying.
- Place adhesive and cement on the veneer, and place it over the tooth. A specific preparation of adhesive and cement is used in order to ensure best fit and adhesion.
- Cure the veneer with a special dental light. All surfaces of the veneer are cured (hardened) with a special dental light to ensure that it is fully bonded to the tooth.
- Remove any excess material. The dentist will check carefully for fit, removing any excess material as needed to ensure the veneer works seamlessly in one’s mouth.
- Polish the veneer. Just as one’s natural teeth are polished at the conclusion of their twice-annual dental cleanings, the veneer can also be polished tso that it will look and feel its absolute best.
Proper oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and visiting the dentist twice a year, will help to protect the health of one’s veneers. You will also need to avoid the use of abrasive toothpaste, and limit the consumption of those foods and beverages that produce stains.
For more information about dental veneers, contact Today’s Dental now.