Porcelain veneers are a very common cosmetic dental option for individuals looking to enhance the look of their smiles. The very thin tooth-colored material is used to cover up imperfections on teeth, such as discoloration that can’t be improved through another method, chips and cracks, and poor spacing or sizing. In essence, the veneer serves as a “cover” for the natural tooth, adhering to the front of the tooth to cover up any underlying imperfections and resulting in a beautiful, natural-looking tooth surface.
When it comes to choosing veneers, there are generally two options to consider: porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are stronger, more natural looking (the material reflects light like a natural tooth surface) and better at resisting stains than their composite resin counterparts. In contrast, if you opt for veneers made from a composite resin material, they are less expensive and because they are thinner, they require less tooth surface to be removed during the application process. When most people think of veneers, however, they think of the cosmetic dental option made from porcelain.
Why would people consider having this dental procedure performed? Well, since it is a cosmetic procedure, the primary reason people consider it is to improve the look of their smiles. Porcelain veneers can effectively cover up imperfections in teeth, such as chips and cracks, and can also cover badly stained or discolored teeth that don’t respond well to other types of whitening techniques. In addition, some people opt for veneers because they have teeth that are irregularly shaped, uneven in length, have gaps between them or are misaligned. While this procedure can’t solve every type of cosmetic problem (such as serious tooth misalignment), it is effective at covering up most other types of imperfections that can detract from the beauty of a smile.
The procedure for getting porcelain veneers is a relatively simple one. After you have discussed the option with your dentist and have decided that this is the right procedure for you, all that is needed is two relatively quick visits to the dentist. During the first visit, your tooth or teeth will be prepared for the veneers. This is done by removing about ½ millimeter of enamel, about the thickness of the veneer itself, from the front of the tooth’s surface. This is done so that your teeth will remain relatively the same thickness once the cosmetic covers are applied. While some people can have this procedure performed without the need for anesthesia, others opt for it so they are more comfortable. Once the front of the tooth surface has been removed, the dentist will then take an impression of the teeth so that the veneers can be made in the lab.
Once ready (which usually takes about a week or two), a second trip to the dentist is scheduled for the porcelain veneers to be bonded permanently to the teeth’s surface. During this visit, the dentist will ensure that the fit and color are good and will slightly adjust the fit as needed. The tooth will be prepared for adherence by cleaning it and slightly etching the surface and then cement will be applied to hold the veneer permanently in place. A light will be used to harden the cement quickly and then your bite will be evaluated, with the dentist making any slight adjustments as necessary.
For more information about porcelain veneers, contact Gentle Dental in Queens at 718-461-0100.