Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells that are made to be cemented to the front of teeth that require cosmetic care because they are chipped, deeply stained, misshapen, contain unwanted gaps, or for patients that suffer from gum recession.
A consultation with your cosmetic dentist will reveal if you are a good candidate for veneers. Patients suffering from active decay or disease will need to undergo corrections before the veneer process can begin. In addition, veneers can only be affixed to natural living teeth.
Once the veneer process is approved, the dentist and patient work together to determine which teeth are to be treated. You can cover one or multiple teeth. Anesthetic is applied and a small amount of enamel is removed from the front of teeth to receive the veneers. The enamel removed is about the thickness of the veneer itself … this will allow a symmetrical appearance with teeth left untreated.
The next step involves taking impressions that will be sent to the dental lab for the veneers to be made. Temporaries will be applied to protect teeth until veneers are ready–usually about two weeks.
On the big day, your cosmetic dentist will remove the temporaries and try on the veneers for fit, appearance, and function. Minor adjustments can be made at this time, if needed. When approved, veneers will be permanently cemented into place.
The finished result is a smile makeover that can last for many, many years, with the proper care and attention, of course.
If you bite your nails or like to use your teeth to open packages, you will need to break these habits. Although veneers are strong, they are not invincible. And if they break or become dislodged, they usually require replacement; it is not just a minor repair.
Biting into hard, sticky, or crunchy foods is ill advised. Fresh fruit and vegetables along with other foods you used to bite directly into should be cut into smaller pieces to be eaten.
If you are interested in teeth whitening, have it done before veneer preparations. Porcelain is stain resistant, and does not respond to any whitening program.
Taking care of your veneers with your daily hygiene regimen requires nothing special … brush twice daily with a fluoridated tooth paste, floss daily, and visit your dentist for a thorough cleaning and dental exam every six months.