If you were blessed with a less than perfect smile, here’s your chance to get the smile you’ve always wanted. Porcelain veneers can give you a brighter, straighter and even grander smile than genetics originally had in store for you. Veneers are super-thin shells made of tooth-colored material that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth to cosmetically correct the color, shape, size or length of each tooth.
A variety of materials can be used to construct these tooth covers, each with their own properties and advantages. They can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials similar to cosmetic bonding material. Porcelain is better at resisting stains and is able to better imitate the properties and look of natural teeth. Resin is thinner and therefore requires the removal of less of the tooth’s surface before attachment, but it is not as durable or natural-looking.
Porcelain veneers have become a preferred treatment option for many patients who have cracked or chipped teeth, have teeth that are discolored and that have previously been unresponsive to traditional tooth whitening procedures, or who would like to change the shape or length of their teeth. Veneers will easily correct gaps between teeth and alignment issues as well. Since the covering conceals the tooth’s outer surface, it is a good choice for correcting many cosmetic issues.
Speak to your dental professional about the alterations you would like to make and the results you expect to see at the completion of treatment. There may be treatment options available that will better address the modifications you are looking to make, such as cosmetic bonding, dental crowns or laser teeth whitening treatments. Your dentist will be able to explain each treatment’s procedure, cost and expected results and recommend the appropriate choice for you.
Porcelain veneers generally last between 5 to 10 years and do not require any special care once they are adhered. The procedure itself generally takes a few weeks to complete because each veneer is custom-made for each individual tooth. Once you have decided that this is the right treatment for you, your dentist will remove a very small amount of the original tooth enamel, usually about a half millimeter, in order to create room for the veneer to fit properly over the tooth. The thickness of the replacement layer will be about the same thickness of the removed enamel so that your teeth will not appear bulky or overcrowded once restored. Depending on your dental sensitivity and the amount of enamel to be removed, you may want a local anesthetic during this step in the procedure, but it’s usually not needed.
Once the layer of enamel is removed, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth/teeth in order to have the veneers accurately designed and created. Unless your dentist has a lab on premise, the impression will then be sent out to a lab to manufacture the new tooth cover(s). Since it typically takes one to two weeks for fabrication, your dentist may suggest wearing temporaries while waiting for the finished product to be ready.
At your next visit, your teeth will be cleaned, polished and etched in preparation for the veneers to be adhered. Light-sensitive resin will then be placed on your tooth and the porcelain veneer is placed on top. Once properly placed, your dentist will apply a curing light, which will cause the adhesive to harden very quickly. Your teeth will be checked for imperfections and your bite will be re-evaluated. If any alterations are needed, they will be done at this time so that you can leave the dentist’s office with the smile you were always meant to have.
For more information about porcelain veneers and other cosmetic restoration options, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.