Porcelain Veneers

Happening Issue 68 Jul, 2010

One cosmetic dentistry solution that people are raving about is porcelain laminate veneers.  They no longer have to suffer because they are unhappy with their smiles.  Highly trained dentists can completely restore your smile with this life-like cosmetic solution.  Of course, it’s not a solution for all dental problems, but they certainly can solve a wide range of common smile-related challenges.

What kind of problems can porcelain veneers correct?

  • Quickly straighten crooked teeth, a form of instant orthodontics
  • Cover up stained teeth, even tetracycline stains
  •  Permanently close the gaps between your teeth
  • Gummy smiles can be improved with some gum contouring combined with veneers

An alternative to crowns, veneers are very thin pieces of specially-shaped porcelain or plastic that are glued over the front of your teeth with little or no anesthesia needed. They are the cure for teeth that are severely discolored, chipped, have small holes or pits, misshapen or crooked or for the correction of unwanted or uneven spaces. Unlike crowns, veneers won’t require the dentist to remove much of the tooth itself in most cases. It is important to ask your dentist how much tooth will be removed. In some cases more tooth will need to be removed, which may increase the risk of trauma to the tooth. Veneers are created from an impression of your dentures. Your custom veneer is then glued directly onto your tooth. Typically costing less than crowns, veneers won’t stain, making them a very popular solution for many people seeking that perfect smile. Strong and very durable, veneers last from ten to fifteen years, and come in colors that will brighten dark teeth without changing color.

What causes discoloration?
Enamel discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the more common causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea or cigarettes. Drinking significant amounts of cola soft drinks can cause similar staining. Aside from staining, there are other factors that can affect the color of an individual’s teeth. Genetics can play a role too. Some people have naturally brighter enamel than others. Disease can be one factor and certain medications can cause discoloration. If you suspect an underlying medical cause for your teeth discoloration, be sure to inform your cosmetic dentist.

How are Tooth Veneers attached to your Tooth?
In your first appointment, it is important to initially discuss with your dentist that you will want to “try in” your veneers with temporary cement that is the same color cement as will be used for the permanent attachment. During this “try-in” phase, be sure to look at your veneer in natural light in addition to the office light. Teeth are prepared for veneers by light buffing to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Veneers are thin like contact lenses and will usually only need tooth reduction of 0.5 to 1.0mm. A drastic change may require a reduction of 1 to 2.0mm. A mould is taken of the teeth, from which the veneers are modeled later. Temporary veneers will be placed and worn until your permanent veneers are ready. While wearing the temporary veneers, advise your cosmetic dentist of any adjustments or changes you would like to be made, such as in shape or size. These adjustments will be made in your permanent veneers, so good communication between you and your dentist is important.

Your dentist places the veneers with water or glycerin on the teeth to verify their perfect fit and the shade or color. The color cannot be changed after the veneers are attached to your teeth. The tooth is then cleansed with chemicals to achieve a durable bond. Once the glue is between the veneer and your tooth, a light beam is used to harden the glue/cement. The procedure for Lumineers is different from the (above) traditional porcelain veneers. It still requires two visits, but there is little to no preparation of the tooth and there is no need for temporary veneers.

Types of Veneer Procedures

The two available tooth veneer procedures correct discoloration of the teeth by removing brown and yellow staining. While each works effectively, there are advantages and disadvantages to each procedure depending upon your objectives and commitment to the process. Discuss the type of procedures available with your cosmetic dentist, and they will recommend the most appropriate procedure for you.

Composite Veneer Procedure

Composite (direct) veneers are usually performed in a single visit to your cosmetic dentist. The procedure is an application of a bond and enamel directly to the tooth’s surface.

Porcelain Veneer Procedure

Porcelain (indirect) veneers are made of a very thin porcelain material. Usually they require two visits and also require a dental laboratory to create the final tooth restoration piece.

Lumineer Porcelain Veneer Procedure

Made of Cerinate porcelain, Lumineers are a new type of porcelain veneer. They are roughly 0.2 mm thick. Little to no tooth reduction in most cases is necessary with this type of veneer. Also anesthetics or numbing shots are not necessary.

So, veneers are the perfect solution for people who don’t want to put on braces for a long time. It gives them a quick and permanent solution. It’s also a permanent solution for intrinsically stained teeth which cannot be whitened even with all the teeth whitening solutions available. This is probably one of the reasons why veneers have become so popular in Hollywood and Bollywood, to give off that perfect smile.