What do you look for in a nice smile? Some characteristics of an appealing smile are obvious: white, bright tooth color, pleasing formation and shape, and straight alignment. If your teeth could use help in those areas, porcelain veneers could be a great option.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored material designed to cover the front surface of the teeth. For cosmetic dentistry, a veneer is made of strong porcelain that substitutes for natural tooth enamel. The shells are bonded to your teeth to change the color, shape, size, and possibly length of the tooth to create a natural-looking new smile. Dental porcelain, like real tooth enamel, is translucent and durable. Additionally, a veneer is beneficial because it doesn’t stain or darken like your natural tooth enamel can.
In recent years, great technological advancements have been made in applying dental porcelain. Typically, a very thin layer of tooth enamel needs to be removed from the existing tooth to make the new porcelain surface fit and look as natural as possible. Now, veneers can be made so thin that they can be bonded directly on to the existing tooth. Very conservative “No-Prep” Veneers can transform a smile without ever removing the existing natural tooth.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
We utilize porcelain veneers to improve the following features of your teeth:
- Color — Over time, teeth can become discolored by consumption of certain foods and drinks, smoking, and even as part of the normal aging process. Veneers are available in many shades, from a natural color, to a bright Hollywood-celebrity white.
- Size and Shape — Teeth can become worn down from habitual grinding, or you may be unhappy with the size or shape of your natural teeth. Veneers can be custom shaped and sized to fulfill your desired look.
- Alignment and Spacing — Veneers also are utilized to close small gaps between teeth, and they can be used to make small corrections in alignment.
Restrictions of Porcelain Veneers
In some situations, veneers may not be the best treatment option. For example,orthodontic treatment may be more effective for significantly misaligned teeth or a large gap. And, if you have lost tooth structure from decay, trauma, or grinding, it may be a better to repair your teeth with porcelain crowns, which cover the whole tooth. Dr. Brumbach strives to give you effective yet conservative options to optimize your smile.
Creating a New Smile with Porcelain Veneers
The first step in creating a new smile with porcelain veneers is to discuss your smile goals with Dr. Brumbach. It may be beneficial to bring examples of smiles you admire as a starting point for discussion. We can then model how veneers would look on your teeth in a variety of ways. One option is to create a model of your teeth and put wax imitation veneers on the replica. Or, we can put acrylic, natural tooth-colored filling material directly on to your teeth to imitate how the veneers would potentially look. Changes can easily be made in the acrylic before moving to the final permanent porcelain veneers.
Once we have a plan for your smile, we may need to remove a small layer of enamel from your teeth. Other times, no preparation is needed. We then take molds of your teeth, and send them to the dental laboratory to create your veneers. In the meantime, you’ll receive a temporary set of veneers to use during the short time it will take to create your permanent ones. When the veneers are ready from the lab, you’ll try them for fit and approval before being permanently cemented onto your teeth.
How to Care for Veneers
Just like your natural teeth, porcelain veneers need gentle brushing and flossing twice a day in order to rid your mouth of plaque and ensure healthy gum tissue surrounding the veneers. Semi-annual checkups at our office should be an integral part of your oral and general health routine.
Remember that even though veneers are durable, they should not be used as tools (like to open packages) or to bite into very hard foods, like hard candy — which isn’t good for your real teeth, either! Also, if you grind or clench your teeth at night, ask Dr. Brumbach about getting a custom-made mouth guard to protect and extend the life of your veneers.
Call our office today to set up an appointment with Dr. Zach Brumbach and his dental professional team if porcelain veneers are right for you.