Dental porcelain veneers or laminates are a thin layer of customized ceramic shells that are fitted over the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance and give you back a million dollar smile! Attached to the front of your teeth, these natural-looking porcelain shells change their color, shape, length and size and give your teeth better resistance to stains.
When to go for porcelain veneers?
Some of the typical reasons why people, other than those in front of the camera, go for veneers are:
- Discoloration of teeth due to drugs, root canal, excessive fluoride, or resin fillings.
- Worn down teeth.
- Chipped, cracked or broken teeth.
- Irregularly shaped or misaligned teeth.
- To correct gaps between teeth.
Who can go for porcelain veneers?
Anyone with a good periodontal or oral health and an adequate amount of teeth enamel can go for dental veneers. It is important to know why you want to go for them, as a corrective procedure or a cosmetic procedure, and share your desired result with your dentist so as to ensure realistic expectations and satisfaction from the procedure.
What does it involve?
The first step is a visit to your dentist and discussing your requirements with him. On the basis of your goals, your dentist will be able to suggest possible solutions. Once you have decided to go for porcelain veneers and your dentist has examined you for your eligibility to receive them, he/she may need to take x-rays of your teeth as well as teeth and mouth impressions to ensure the veneers created in the lab match your natural teeth.
The second step is removing a very thin layer of teeth enamel to create space for the veneers. At this stage, your doctor may decide to give you local anesthesia if need be. Usually, these two steps are achieved in the same visit after which you must wait a few days for the customized veneers to be prepared. Normally, once the teeth are prepared, they only feel a little rough and there is no requirement of temporary veneers during the waiting period; however, if required, your doctor may place them at an extra cost.
Your second visit to the dentist is for the third and last step of getting the veneers fitted onto your teeth. Before permanently bonding the veneers, your dentist will first temporarily place them onto your teeth to ensure they are the right color and fit. If required, he will make slight adjustment to the size and color to ensure you get the perfect look. When both the dentist and you are satisfied with it, your teeth are cleaned and etched and a light sensitive resin is put between the original teeth surface and the veneers which acts as a bond between them. Once the veneers are positioned on your teeth, the dentist will use a special beam of light to harden them and create a strong, permanent bond. Any excess cement is then removed and minor adjustments made after examining your bite.
Your dentist may ask you to come for a follow-up visit to ensure the veneers are properly fixed and the gums are responding well to their presence.
Maintaining your Porcelain Veneers
You should treat your porcelain veneers the same as your natural teeth and regularly brush and floss twice a day. However, veneers are brittle and you must avoid the following to ensure they don’t crack or get damaged:
- Avoid biting hard things and chewing on pencils, ice, biting nails, etc.
- Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth as it may chip your veneers.
- Avoid becoming complacent with your teeth as they are still susceptible to decay and gum diseases and if you maintain poor oral hygiene, you may have to cover your teeth and veneers with a crown.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
- Natural looking and stain resistant.
- Compatible with gum tissues.
- Choice of selecting the color of the veneer to make them appear whiter.
- Minimal dental visits and preparation required.
Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers
- More expensive than the other alternative of composite resin bonding.
- Irreversible process and as such, requires careful decision-making.
- Teeth may become temporarily sensitive to hot and cold food items.
- Once chipped or cracked, they cannot be repaired, though they may be replaced.
Veneers are one of the most popular procedures of cosmetic dentistry and you can use them either to correct a damaged tooth or discoloration of a single tooth, or to improve the overall color and look of your front teeth.