A dental veneer can make teeth look great and improve your confidence in your smile. But will it last, or will that “beautiful smile” fade and require additional upkeep? Are dental veneers only for cosmetic improvements? If you’ve been wondering about improving your smile with porcelain veneers, let’s take a look at just what is involved. We’ll help you make an informed decision and give you options about improving your smile.
What Exactly Is a Veneer?
Dental veneers have much in common with acrylic fingernails, which are sculpted and adhered on top of the real nail. Veneers are a thin layer of porcelain or other similar material shaped and bonded to the existing tooth surface. Veneers can be fabricated from a resin composite, but porcelain is sturdier and better matches the look of natural teeth.
Dental veneers have many uses that help create a beautiful smile, which can boost self-esteem and confidence. In relation to tooth shape, veneers can lengthen teeth that are too short, even out tooth size, or improve teeth with irregular shapes.
Veneers can also correct other irregularities in the smile. They are used to mask misalignments, to cover imperfections and discolorations, and to repair chips. They can also be used to craft a bright, pleasant smile by adding sparkle. Veneers are a good option for people who have these problems with their smiles.
The Process of Getting a Porcelain Veneer
During your initial evaluation, your dentist will look at your teeth and take x-rays to find out exactly what is going on. You will be asked what you expect to achieve once the veneers are in place. Your dentist will go over both the pros and the cons and help you make a decision that is best suited for your needs. It’s important that if you have any questions, ask them during the initial evaluation. Your dentist will make sure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Impressions and Measurements
One of the first things to be done once the x-rays have been taken is to get impressions of your teeth. While the impressions and measurements are being taken, your dentist will also be identifying the amount of tint that will be needed so that the veneers match your existing teeth. If your teeth are discolored, your dentist may choose to have the veneers lightened to produce a whiter, brighter smile.
If your dentist has the most advanced tools, measurements can be taken and the veneers produced in the office while you wait. If the veneers are to be made at another location, the impressions and measurements will be taken and sent away. It can take up to two to three weeks for the finished veneers to be returned.
In order for the dentist to take accurate impressions an measurements, your teeth will have to be etched. Etching involves removing a very thin layer of your enamel and roughing up the surface so the cement used to place the veneer will produce a strong bond. The rough surface allows the cement to attach deeply into the grooves and shut out bacteria and other microscopic germs that could lead to tooth decay. Once your teeth have been etched, the measurements or impressions will be taken and the process begins.
Once the veneers have been formed and the dentist has checked them for color, shape, and size, the next step is bonding them to the surface of your teeth. Your dentist will begin to apply the dental cement that will hold your veneers in place. A small amount of cement will be placed on each tooth and spread to cover the surface. When the surface is ready, the veneer is gently laid in place and adjusted for a proper fit. Once the veneer is in place, the cement must be allowed to cure or “set”.
Shape and Fit
When each of the veneers is securely in place, your dentist will make any necessary adjustments. The fit of each veneer will be checked to ensure there are no loose or sharp edges. They can shape the tooth, if necessary, to ensure it looks as natural as possible. By adjusting the shape and size of each veneer, your dentist can correct minor gaps and misalignments that can affect how your teeth appear when you smile or speak. Even small adjustments can make a dramatic difference in how symmetrical your teeth look when you smile.
The final part of the veneer process is preservation. Although porcelain is one of the most well-known dental materials, your veneers still need to be taken care of. Even with veneers, you must still brush and floss your teeth every day. It’s also important to maintain regular dental checkups so that minor changes in the health of your mouth and teeth can be easily identified and corrected before they cause major problems. You should see your dentist once a year to ensure good dental health.
The Lifespan of a Tooth
Even though we like to think that permanent teeth, with proper dental care, will last a lifetime, it is simply not always the case. After all, your teeth perform for you every day and are subject to many types of damage and abuse. No matter how diligent you may be in caring for your teeth and gums with daily hygiene and regular checkups, your tooth surfaces may wear, the surfaces become stained, and your oral health can become affected by other medical conditions. Many people who practice good care for their teeth still experience dental issues.
Our staff is supportive, experienced, and knowledgeable, and we are happy to answer all your questions and to explain your treatment and financial options for your teeth. Depending on your individual situation and preferences, it may be that a combination of implants, bridges, crowns, and veneers offers the best comprehensive solution for a long-lasting, healthy, and beautiful smile.
The necessary work for correcting a smile can be extensive and a sizable investment. Financial considerations are an important aspect of treatment planning and decision-making. Our staff is happy to discuss the range of financial plans that might be available to you. In some cases, we can stage your work to conform to your budget. We also offer interest–free extended payment plans. We are willing to work with you. Until you have explored all the options with us, do not count out the possibility of improving your smile, because this is a realistic option for most people. We offer a complimentary cosmetic consultation appointment where we can review your options and discuss possible treatments with you.
At Briglia Dental Group, we believe in choices. The desire for a beautiful smile is understandable, and there are multiple ways to improve your smile, even if porcelain veneers are not for you. If desired, porcelain veneers can provide all the benefits discussed earlier. However, simply reshaping the teeth and whitening them may be all that is needed to conservatively improve your smile. How extensive of a treatment do I require and want to undergo? Does the cost of veneers make them impractical for you? These are questions that we can work with you to answer.
These answers are likely to be different for each patient, however, dental veneers are a good option for many conditions. Your smile will, of course, benefit from the thin veneer that preserves the basic tooth structure while adding a brighter and whiter strong outer layer. Sometimes, minimal reshaping is necessary, but the veneer can camouflage or eliminate dark spots, cover stains that result from food or aging, and repair minor chips and damage on tooth surfaces. New veneers can correct gaps between teeth and visually straighten the appearance of a crooked tooth. Porcelain crowns are another option for replacing an old, failing crown. Overall, we can discuss with you many routes to a more natural smile, which can improve your self-image and confidence.
A Practice like No Other
Dr. Ron Briglia is dedicated to providing a full range of dental services for your entire family. We offer a wide range of services, from pediatric exams to restorative services, sedation and implant dentistry, and smile enhancement. Our entire staff shares the philosophy that effective oral health is a vital component of overall well-being, and that facing the world with a bright smile is the best way to approach every day.
If you have questions about dental veneers or would like to explore possibilities for cosmetic enhancement, please call us at (610) 692-4440. We’ll be happy to explore possibilities with you, and detail the wide array of available options.