Our teeth don’t always wear as well as we would like. Perhaps the years have left them discolored, chipped, or they are simply uneven or oddly shaped. Fortunately, these are problems you don’t have to live with.
Gone are the days when you would have to be self-conscious about your teeth, hiding your teeth with a tight-lipped smile. If you aren’t going for that stoic George Washington look, consider what veneers can do for you.
What is a veneer?
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to your teeth to change their color, size, or length. Strong and long-lasting, veneers are the tool of choice for taking care of discolorations, chips, or gaps, often being a good alternative to crowns.
What’s the Procedure for Getting Dental Veneers?
Getting a veneer is usually a three-step process.
The first step is to determine if veneers are right for you. This begins with a consultation, your opportunity to explain to the dentist the cosmetic defect you wish to correct and the look you are going for. You may be on the receiving end of X-rays and dental impressions as the dentist examines your tooth (or teeth) to determine if this is the right approach for you.
If you move on to the next round, the dentist will prepare the surface of your tooth for the new resin or porcelain veneer, kind of like sanding a wooden surface before repainting it. This entails the careful removal of a small amount of enamel from the surface of your teeth (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt).
With the teeth in question now ready to go, a perfectly-scaled model of your teeth will be made and sent to the lab for processing. The lab will use the model and information from your dentist to carefully craft veneers that will flawlessly fit your teeth.
The final step is simply bonding the veneer to the surface of your tooth. After double-checking that the veneer is the right color and fit for you, your dentist will clean and polish the surface, then applying a special bonding cement to the veneer.
What’s so special about it? Your dentist wants the veneer to be perfectly positioned, so the cement doesn’t permanently set until a special light beam is applied to it, chemically activating the bonding agent and causing it to quickly cure.
This newly-bonded veneer will be ready for action almost immediately.
Are Dental Veneers Right for You?
Porcelain veneers are a conservative approach to changing the color and shape of a tooth’s appearance, and are stronger than a crown. Few special considerations are warranted in the maintenance of veneers; focus on the proper care of your teeth as you normally would. If you are a “clencher” or you grind your teeth frequently, let your dentist know.
If you have teeth that have had a tough run, restore them to an attractive and natural appearance. Give your smile a second chance with veneers.
~Dr. Marea White