What if you could give your teeth a makeover? You could change their color, their size, or their shape to make them look just the way you wanted. If this sounds too good to be true, think again. Porcelain veneers allow you to customize your smile to correct any imperfections. But what are porcelain veneers, exactly? To find out more about the veneer application procedure and if porcelain veneers are a good option for you, check out this guide to veneers.
When to Consider Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells made of tooth-colored porcelain. Veneers can be made of other materials like resin composite materials, but the dentists at Sedation Dental Center use porcelain because it is stain resistant. The veneers are made to fit your teeth and are bonded to your existing teeth to change their appearance. Porcelain veneers can be used to correct a variety of dental issues, including:
- tooth discoloration, including that from medications, root canals, excessive fluoride, or large resin fillings
- teeth that are worn down
- broken or chipped teeth
- teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
- gaps between teeth
Of course, there doesn’t necessarily need to be something wrong with your teeth to consider porcelain veneers. You may consider getting veneers simply to change the appearance of your smile to one that suits you better in terms of tooth size, shape, etc. Veneers can be applied to as many teeth as you want, so you can choose to correct one or two teeth or to get a complete set.
Consulting with Your Dentist
Generally, it takes three appointments to go through the process of getting veneers. The first appointment is a consultation, whereas the second and third appointments are dedicated to making and applying the veneers.
During your consultation, you will speak to one of our experienced dentists. They will answer any questions you may have, including what porcelain veneers are designed to do and what result you’re looking for. It’s important to be an active participant in your consultation so that your dentist knows exactly what you hope to achieve with your veneers. Our dentists will also examine your teeth to make sure that porcelain veneers are suitable for you. During this visit, your dentist may take X-rays of your teeth and take impressions of your teeth and mouth.
After your consultation, you will schedule your next appointment to have your veneers made.
Making the Veneers
During your second appointment, your dentist will prepare your teeth for your veneers. Generally, a local anesthetic is applied to numb any pain. Then, the dentist will remove approximately 1/2 millimeter of enamel from each tooth that will get a veneer. This thickness is roughly equivalent to the size of the veneer that will be applied, so removing the enamel ensures that your veneers will look natural.
After removing the enamel, your dentist will take impressions of the tooth or teeth that are getting veneers. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where your veneers are constructed. It usually takes about 2 to 4 weeks to create custom veneers. After your veneers are complete, you will make your final appointment to have them applied.
Before applying your veneers, your dentist will place them on your teeth without any bonding to make sure that the color, size, and shape are correct. They can make small adjustments until it fits perfectly.
Once you’re satisfied with the veneers, your dentist will prep your teeth. Each tooth that is getting a veneer will be cleaned, polished, and then etched. Etching creates a rough surface on your tooth that helps strengthen the bonding.
Next, the dentist applies a special bonding cement to the veneer. After the veneer is positioned on your tooth, the dentist uses a special light to activate the cement. The dentist will then do one final check, removing excess cement, making small adjustments, and examining your bite. Depending on your medical history and how the procedure goes, you may be asked to make a follow-up appointment so your dentist can see how your gums handle the veneers.
Your veneers will last from 7 to 15 years. After that time, you will need to get a new set of veneers made.
The Pros and Cons
When considering whether porcelain veneers are right for you, it’s important to consider all of the pros and cons. The benefits of veneers include:
- natural tooth appearance
- stain resistance
- gum tissue is likely to tolerate veneers
- minimally invasive, safe procedure
- no special care required
- they require less extensive shaping than alternatives like crowns
However, there are some potential downsides that should be considered as well:
- the procedure is not reversible
- cracked or chipped veneers usually can’t be repaired
- removing tooth enamel may increase sensitivity to heat or cold
- the color of veneers cannot be changed once they are applied
- in some rare cases, veneers can loosen and fall off
It’s important to have a conversation with your dentist so you can make an educated decision about your veneers. Once you have carefully weighed the pros and cons, you can make a confident choice.
Some people are not good candidates for veneers. If you have unhealthy teeth, damaged teeth, or teeth with inadequate enamel, veneers are likely not a good choice. Veneers are also not ideal for patients who clench or grind their teeth, as these habits can wear down veneers quickly.
Porcelain veneers are a safe, minimally invasive way to fix any dental imperfections. Now that you know what porcelain veneers are and what they can do, schedule your appointment with Sedation Dental Center. Our experienced team of dentists will discuss your options and see if porcelain veneers are right for you.