"Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." - Mother Theresa
It's not surprising that the world assesses your friendliness, personality, intelligence, and even social status by your smile. It's a key factor in your self-esteem and influences how you interact with others. Just imagine how confident you'd feel if your smile could help show others the real you.
Porcelain veneers, also called dental veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are wafer-thin shells of porcelain that are bonded onto the front side of teeth to create a cosmetic improvement for a tooth. Porcelain veneers are routinely used by dentists as a way to make cosmetic changes for teeth that are discolored, worn, chipped, or misaligned. Although porcelain is inherently brittle, when it is firmly bonded to a sturdy substructure (a tooth) it becomes very strong and durable.
Two of the greatest advantages of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental bonding are:
Porcelain veneers create a very life-like appearance
You might be surprised to learn that while a large portion of every tooth is composed of dental enamel, teeth are not solid enamel. The enamel component of a tooth is actually just an outer encasement.
One property of tooth enamel is that it's translucent. This means that when light strikes a tooth's surface it is not immediately reflected off, but instead penetrates into its enamel layer. Once the light has passed through the full thickness of the enamel, it reflects off the opaque (non-translucent) layer that lies underneath, and then on back out of the tooth. This manner of handling light, the translucency effect of a tooth's enamel, is an important aspect of what give teeth their characteristic lustrous appearance.
In the past, the only cosmetic dental bonding materials that dentists had available to them were just semi-translucent. This meant that most of the light that struck a repaired tooth would not penetrate into the bonding, but instead be reflected off its outer surface. The net result was that while the bonding did give the tooth an improved appearance, there was no sense of translucency (luster). When a porcelain veneer is bonded onto a tooth's surface it will closely mimic the light handling characteristics of dental enamel, and create a natural looking smile.
Porcelain veneers resist staining
As a group, cosmetic dental bonding materials have the shortcoming of being susceptible to staining and discoloring. This is especially true when they are used in conjunction with individuals whose consumption habits include the use of tea, coffee, red wine, and tobacco products.
A significant advantage of placing porcelain veneers as opposed to cosmetic dental bonding is that a porcelain veneer's surface is just that, porcelain. Since porcelain is a ceramic, and therefore glass-like, a veneer's porcelain surface will be extremely stain resistant.
Why Would I Need A Veneer?
Veneers can improve the color, shape, and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the required color, to improve a single discolored or stained tooth, or to lighten front teeth. A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again' the porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section, replacing the broken part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps when orthodontics is not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
How long will a veneer last?
Veneers should last for many years, but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. You can certainly expect that they will remain cosmetically pleasing and structurally sound for many years. With good home care and by taking good care of them, it is likely that a porcelain veneer could last well in excess of ten years. Our team will advise you how long your veneers should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
How are teeth prepared for a veneer?
Some of the shiny outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed to ensure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. The amount of enamel to be removed is minimal and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted, so that the tooth remains the same size. A local anesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but in many cases this is not necessary. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an impression. This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the crown. The color of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.
How long will it take?
A veneer procedure takes at least two visits: the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit it. Before bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
Will I need a temporary veneer between visits?
Because the preparation of the tooth is minimal, you will probably not need a temporary veneer. The tooth will look very much the same after preparation, but will feel slightly less smooth. However, if you do need a temporary veneer, one can be made for you.
What happens after the veneer is fitted?
Only minor adjustments can be made to the veneer after it is fitted. It is usually best to wait a little while to get used to it before any changes are made. Your dentist will probably want to check and polish it a week or so after it is fitted and to make sure that you are happy with it.