Veneers, are paper - thin, custom-made coverings that conceal the front and side surface of your tooth, much like a mask or an artificial fingernail. If your teeth are stained, broken, or shaped in a way that is not pleasing to you, then you may want to consider veneers to restore your smile’s beauty. Veneers are most often custom made from porcelain and fit precisely over your existing teeth and are held in place by a special light sensitive resin which adheres the back of the veneer to the prepared tooth. Even though veneers are thin covering, they are extremely strong and durable and will generally not need to be replaced for 4 to 12 years. While they are not suitable for every patient, veneers are a cosmetic alternative for a variety of dental conditions of the front teeth including:
• diastemas- spaces between the teeth
• broken or chipped teeth
• unsightly, stained or washed out fillings
• permanently stained or discoloured teeth
• misshapen or crooked teeth
Placing veneers provides major changes in teeth without the requirement of cutting them down severely. A healthy “natural” look is achieved with little or no discomfort. However, depending on the situation, crowns, bonding, bleaching, microabrasion, or orthodontics may be suggested instead of veneers. A thorough dental evaluation can help your dentist asses the general health and cosmetic appearance of your teeth to determine which option is best for you.
You too, can enjoy the many benefits of laminate veneers, an “art form” devoted to the enhancement of smiles. Using the dental equivalent of the painter’s palette, sculptor’s tools, and artisan’s skills, your dentist can craft a new, more beautiful smile.
Remember it is important to have realistic expectations and to know that although cosmetic dentistry has come a long way, no restoration can replace your natural teeth. If
you understand the limitations, you’ll be happier with the final results.
Applying veneers is a two-step procedure with your first visit lasting 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of teeth prepared. First, your dentist may choose the colour that will best match your natural teeth. Then, tooth enamel is removed so the veneer will blend with rather than overbuild surrounding teeth. At least half the enamel is left intact to provide a surface to which the veneer is attached. After preparation, your dentist may coat your teeth with a paste like material that hardens into an impression, from which your dentist makes a model of your teeth.
Between visits, continue to care for your teeth as usual, brushing and flossing daily. Ask your dentist if you should avoid any foods since your teeth may be sensitive to hot and cold. On your second visit, (an hour or less), your dentist fits the custom made veneers onto the prepared teeth. First, the veneer is bonded to the front and the side surface of your tooth. Once the veneer is attached, it is hardened in place for a minute or more with a harmless, high intensity light. Veneers may require slight colour adjustments before they are fitted in place.
You should know:
• Cost - placing veneers is more costly than conventional bonding.
• Eventual replacement - the materials used in veneers may not last a lifetime and most likely will have to be replaced within 4 to 12 years.
• Sensitivity - you may experience sensitivity to hot and cold, which usually subsides within two weeks.
• Repairs - it is more difficult to repair your tooth if the laminate cracks or chips, so you should not bite on anything hard that may damage or bend your veneers, especially nail biting.
• Removed enamel - a slight amount of tooth structure usually removed to allow the veneer to be placed on the tooth without making the tooth too large. Sometimes, if too much enamel is removed the procedure can be irreversible.
The greatest things about veneers are:
• Appearance - the most obvious advantage is esthetics. With veneers it is easier to obtain proportionate closure of spaces, cover broken teeth, and hide discoloration or stains.
• Painless application - applying veneers is a virtually painless procedure sometimes done with no anesthetic.
• More conservative - placing veneers provides major changes in teeth without the requirement of cutting teeth down severely, as for crowns.
• Economics - veneers chip less than bonded restorations and are less expensive than crowning which saves on dental bills over the long term.
Those who have bite problems or have a tendency to grind their teeth may not be good candidates for veneers. However, veneers are great alternatives for people who want to give their teeth a “smilelift” to improve their appearance. If you have further questions about laminate veneers, please ask your dentist.