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Cosmetic dentistry includes a number of dental procedures aimed at improving the appearance of the teeth and smile.  A very common cosmetic procedure is the dental veneer.

Dental veneers are wafer thin, custom fabricated shells of tooth colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your overall smile and appearance. These custom fabricated shells are adhesively bonded to the front of the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist the ability to change your teeth’s color, shape, size, or length.

Dental veneers can be fabricated from dental porcelain or from composite (resin) materials. Dental veneers can be used to create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. Dental veneers also protect the surface of broken or damaged teeth, and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments. Other advantages of dental veneers include durability, an improved smile, and the need for much less tooth structure removal compared to traditional or porcelain crowns.

Why are Dental Veneers Needed?

Dental Veneers are utilized for a variety of reasons in cosmetic dentistry. These reasons can include:

-Crooked Teeth. Some minor modifications can be done, which may eliminate the need for orthodontic movement.

-Genetics. Certain people are born with abnormal sized/shaped teeth, or gaps between their teeth that widen with age.

-Wear and Tear.  Teeth wearing down is a natural part of aging. Aged teeth are more likely to be small,  have chips, fractures, cracks or a generally uneven appearance.

-Worn Enamel. Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, see through,  dull, or discolored. Such wear and discoloration may be natural or result from a genetic predisposition. However, it often results from consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee, smoking, using certain medications, etc.

Material Used for Dental Veneers

The most commonly utilized materials for dental veneers are composite resins and dental porcelain. Porcelain veneers are the more appropriate answer for severe cases involving dullness, wear, tooth discoloration, extensive chipping, cracking, gaps in teeth or uneven teeth. Composite bonding or just dental bonding is an inexpensive, effective and minimally invasive way to restore and correct small chips, cracks and discoloration in the teeth. Porcelain veneers generally require some reduction of the enamel tooth surface, while bonded dental veneers can oftentimes be done without tooth modification. Porcelain veneers are very strong, and do not change color. Bonded veneers tend to chip and pick up stain over time.

Techniques Used in Dental Veneers

Indirect Technique – This technique means that the composite or porcelain veneers are fabricated outside the mouth by a dental technician in a laboratory.

Direct Technique – This technique means that the composite veneers are created directly on your teeth by your dentist during your appointment.

When are Veneers Good Treatment?

The removal by a dentist of any natural tooth structure is permanent, so modern cosmetic dentistry has moved to offer patients the most minimally invasive options first. If your natural teeth are functionally and cosmetically adequate, dental veneers may not be the right treatment for you.

On the other hand, if you have any of the aforementioned cosmetic issues, your treatment options may  include veneers. Dental Veneers do have the advantage of a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped teeth.

If modification of the tooth surface is necessary to achieve optimum results, some cosmetic dentists will recommend less invasive alternatives to dental veneers. One such alternative would be, teeth whitening for people with mildly discolored teeth who only want a whiter and brighter smile. If crooked teeth or alignment issues are involved, the teeth whitening alternative may also be combined with orthodontic treatments. Invisalign, full braces, or use of an orthodontic appliance for minor tooth movement may be all that you need to acquire the smile you desire.

Care of Dental Veneers

Care must be taken not to abuse dental veneers because the wafer thin porcelain shells or composite layers can be damaged or break. Your dentist may advise you against grinding, fingernail chewing, and biting directly into things such as carrots or pizza crusts. If you grind at night your dentist  may recommend you wear a night guard while sleeping. It is even more important to have excellent dental hygiene, so that you do not get tooth decay forming under your dental veneer. You should also see your dentist for regular cleanings.

Dental Veneers Conclusion

Dental veneers, whether porcelain veneers or composite veneers, are a great option for those who wish to change their smile. Dental veneers give the cosmetic dentist and patient the ability to change color, shape, and size in an easy manner. As always, before pursuing dental veneers of any kind, please have a thorough dental examination and professional cleaning performed to ensure your mouth is healthy and able to withstand the new treatment.

 

Teeth whitening strips are a fairly new invention. Teeth whitening strips are sold over the counter in most drug stores. Proctor and Gamble introduced their first line of teeth whitening strips (Crest Whitestrips) in the year 2000. Since then the market has been flooded with similar products. These include Listerine Teeth Whitening Strips or Rembrandt Teeth Whitening Strips.

Teeth whitening is perfect for young patients who have healthy, cavity free, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gingival tissues. Studies have shown that patients with yellow tones to their teeth respond best to teeth whitening, whereas gray and see through teeth do not. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone. That is where teeth whitening strips come in. They are far less expensive than other options including in office teeth whitening treatments.

Teeth Whitening Strips – What Are They?

The idea behind teeth whitening strips is quite simple. They give a person a way to perform a gradual effective teeth whitening treatment on their own. Teeth whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips, that are coated with a mild peroxide based whitening gel. By wearing the strips as noted on the product packaging, the gel comes into contact with the surface of your teeth and works to slowly take away surface staining. They also remove some stains from within the enamel. The strips are recommended to be applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results can be seen in as little as a few days and final results are maintained for about 3-4 months.

The peroxide gel on the teeth whitening strip works by slowly bleaching your teeth. Most teeth whitening strips come in a larger size for the upper teeth and a smaller size for the lower teeth. The patient is instructed to press the teeth whitening strips around your teeth to make a tight contact. The gel then contacts your enamel and begins its work when it heats up to body temperature. Various products contain different amounts of peroxide so usage instructions will vary from brand to brand.

Over the counter teeth whitening strips contain roughly between 3% to 10% hydrogen peroxide. Professional teeth whitening strips (available only through a dentist) usually contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 15%-30% hydrogen peroxide. Teeth whitening procedures conducted in dental offices contain hydrogen peroxide in the range of 20%- 38%. So as you can see by those numbers the rate of effectiveness will vary for each technique.

Teeth Whitening Strips – Are They Effective?

Yes! Teeth whitening strips can be very effective at what they do. Remember, they will not whiten fillings or crowns, so be careful not to over do it and make dark crowns, fillings stand out. It is always important to remember to follow all instructions on the packaging. Choose the teeth whitening strip that fits you and your lifestyle. If you feel that using strips twice a day for 30 minutes at a time seems like a long time then you need to consider other options. Like a 1 hour in office procedure.
It is always best to talk to your dentist first before starting any tooth whitening regimen. Some types of dental work such as bonding, crowns, veneers or bridges will not whiten, leaving an uneven appearance. Some stains will not whiten well with teeth whitening strips, such as Tetracycine stains and fluorosis (brown or white spots).  Also, some types of stains are the result of unhealthy teeth, whitening can exacerbate an already delicate oral health situation. Any teeth whitening procedure works best immediately following a thorough professional dental cleaning. An appointment with your dentist is the best way to start any teeth whitening process, saving you time, money, and helping you get the best results.

Disadvantages of Teeth Whitening Strips

Teeth whitening strips are a one size fits all entity. So they may not fit everyone exactly the same. Again, read the packaging carefully to find the right size for you. You need to think about how many teeth you need to whiten based on your smile for the length of the strips.

In comparison, dentist observed custom tray systems are molded to fit your mouth perfectly. These leaves zero coverage issues and gives a more uniform end result with consistent bleaching throughout the mouth.

While teeth whitening strips are effective, dentist observed treatments are more effective. They give a more uniform bleaching of teeth as well as give you the convenience of finishing treatment faster.

Side Effects From Teeth Whitening Strips

Crest Whitening Strips

Crest Teeth Whitening Strips

Two main complaints regarding teeth whitening strips are tooth sensitivity and gingival irritation. Teeth sensitivity generally correlates with the strength and amount of peroxide in the bleaching gel. If you have had a history of tooth sensitivity in the past it is best to choose a lower dose peroxide teeth whitening strip. The major cause of gingival irritation occurs when patients apply the strip over the gums or part of the gums. If either of these occur you should stop use of the whitening strips for 24-48 hours. This should be enough time for the sensitivity and irritation to resolve itself.

In conclusion, teeth whitening strips are an effective alternative to the traditional dentist observed teeth whitening systems. As always remember to maintain a good dental hygiene program and visit your dentist and hygienist regularly.

 

Teeth Whitening Strips – Good Or Bad?.
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