Cosmetic dentistry involves a number of procedures, and one of the most versatile and effective ones is the porcelain veneer. A relatively noninvasive procedure that can be applied in a variety of different ways, porcelain veneers are becoming one of the most common cosmetic procedures that dental patients pursue.
What are porcelain veneers?
The great versatility of the porcelain veneer lies in the basic nature of the procedure. Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain that are carefully designed to fit over a patient’s tooth and hide imperfections in the tooth. The material used to make the veneer is tooth-colored. Veneers can cover up everything underneath so that all you see is beautiful white teeth.
Porcelain veneers aren’t generic, pre-made products. Everyone’s teeth are slightly different, so each porcelain veneer has to be made specifically for the patient.
What is a porcelain veneers procedure like?
The installation procedure for veneers is actually more complex than you might imagine. First, the tooth in question is prepared — that is, filed down just a bit — to make room for the veneer.
Why is this necessary? Porcelain veneers are very thin, but they do take up a certain amount of space. Without proper preparation, a veneer placed over a tooth would create an unattractive bump that would make it look and feel strange. So, the dentist will carefully shave away a small amount of enamel, about half a millimeter worth, from the tooth to open up space for the veneer.
Your dentist at Above Dental will then take impressions of the tooth which will be used to fabricate the veneer in a laboratory.
Once the veneer is ready, your dentist at Above Dental will bond it to your tooth. After adjusting the positioning and making sure everything is in order, your dentist will shine a special light over the tooth, causing the veneer to bond directly to the tooth. This helps the veneer not fall off or break.
When would I need porcelain veneers?
So, what kinds of issues can porcelain veneers solve? Veneers can be used to treat a couple of different scenarios. These include:
- When teeth are discolored: Over time, teeth can change color for a number of reasons. Some stains are preventable by avoiding certain foods and drinks (like coffee and tea), medications (like tetracycline), and behaviors (like smoking). Other factors, like genetics and age, for example, can cause staining to occur naturally. Most of the time, teeth whitening procedures are enough to reverse this damage, but with severe discoloration, whitening alone might not be enough. Dental veneers can be used to cover up what can’t be achieved through bleaching.
- When teeth are irregularly shaped: Teeth are usually mostly smooth, but irregularities (like craters and bulges) can sometimes develop, either naturally or as the result of damage. Porcelain veneers can cover these irregularities and restore a tooth to its former smooth, blemish-free exterior.
- When teeth are chipped, cracked, or otherwise damaged: Teeth are made from a pretty durable material, but enamel is actually quite brittle and can suffer physical damage. Sometimes, all it takes is a bad fall, an accidental blow to the head, or a crunch of a hard piece of food to chip, crack, or otherwise damage a tooth. For extreme damage, restorative techniques might be needed, but for minor issues that don’t otherwise affect the tooth, a porcelain veneer is usually enough to solve the problem.
- When teeth are misaligned: Most of the time, if your teeth are misaligned, you probably want to see an orthodontist, but orthodontia can seem like overkill for the slight misalignments that don’t affect the mouth much. These misalignments, which can include slightly misplaced teeth and gaps between teeth, can often be fixed by porcelain veneers.
If you have any of these problems, and if you’re looking for a cosmetic solution, visit Above Dental for your assessment and personalized treatment plan! Simply call us at (541) 756-0155 or visit our website to set up your appointment today!