Cosmetic dentistryincludes 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.