No one’s teeth are perfect: some are a little bit crooked; some have a slight gap between a couple teeth; some are stained beyond what whitening can correct; some are chipped or cracked. Correcting all of these issues with procedures such as orthodontics can be time consuming and expensive. Instead, what if you could address the issues aesthetically and have a new smile in just a couple of weeks? Cosmetic dentistry in Beaumont, Texas has innovated in ways that many people do not expect.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Similar in concept to the veneers you know from furniture, porcelain veneers are thin porcelain shells that are placed over the front of your natural teeth to alter the tooth position, shape, size, and color. The aim of veneers is to eliminate the patient’s aesthetic dental issues with a natural looking cover. Porcelain is used for veneers because of its appearance, which closely resembles the shine and slight translucence of your natural teeth.
Dr. Smith also provides dental whitening or bleaching to achieve a more desirable result after the installation of porcelain veneers.
Am I a Candidate for Veneers?
Deeply discolored teeth that may have been the result of taking medications such as tetracycline as a child or darkened as a reaction to a root canal. Because this discoloration is in the dentin, the bulk of the tooth mass located beneath the enamel, it is almost impossible to whiten with treatments such as hydrogen peroxide gel. Veneers can also correct and mask gaps between teeth, broken or chipped teeth, and can align crooked or irregularly shaped teeth.
Who is Not a Candidate for Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are only applied atop healthy teeth. They are not a remedy for issues such as decay. Any more serious issues such as decay or problems with the gums need to be taken care of before veneers are applied. Veneers simply overlay the problem, although in the most beautiful way!
Porcelain is used in veneers because of its attributes: high strength, hardness, glassiness, high durability, translucence, and high resistance to staining. Porcelain veneers are created in a dental lab based off of color matching and dental impressions made with Dr. Smith.
Veneers are made of layers. The porcelain powder corresponding to the basic tooth color is mixed with water and is then fired in an oven, not unlike porcelain dishes. Then a laminate is made by uniting layers of porcelain together in a process known as lamination. Once delivered to Dr. Smith’s office, the completed veneers are permanently cemented onto the patient’s teeth.
- Cleaning – During the first appointment, your teeth are prepared for the veneers. We thoroughly clean your teeth. If the tooth enamel is stained we may recommend whitening first to get the teeth back to their original color. Next, Dr. Smith uses a shade guide to determine the veneer color that is the best match to your natural tooth color.
- Preparation – a tiny fraction (from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm) of tooth enamel off the front of the teeth receiving veneers. This makes room for the veneers on the fronts of the teeth. Once we’ve shaved the enamel off we take impressions of your teeth and send them off to the dental lab for the fabrication of your veneers. This process takes about a week; in the interim, we usually apply temporary veneers to your teeth.
- Bonding – When your custom-made porcelain veneers arrive, you return for a second appointment. Dr. Smith first checks your veneers for color match and fit. If necessary, he shaves tiny bits off the veneers to make the perfect fit. Once both you and Dr. Smith are satisfied, the veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth and you’re finished.
The entire process of porcelain veneer placement usually takes about one to two weeks. This will require multiple visits to Dr. Smith’s office.
Are Veneers Painful to Get?
The process of shaving off the enamel is the only part of the entire procedure that can be mildly sensitive, but most people don’t need anesthesia. Still, if you choose, a local anesthetic is available. The cementing process is absolutely painless. After placement, you will have some increased sensitivity to hot and cold due to the removal of the small portion of your enamel. This passes within a few days after your veneers are placed.
Caring for Veneers
Normal brushing (with a non-abrasive toothpaste) and flossing are all that is required for maintenance of your veneers. It is not recommended to, open pistachios with your teeth, chew bones, or candy apples. Otherwise, just about all foods are fine.
How Long do Veneers Last?
Your porcelain veneers can last from seven to 20 years. The lifespan can be dictated by changes with the underlying teeth or surrounding gum tissue. Usually, if a veneer happens to detach it can usually be re-bonded to the tooth.
You need to remember that having porcelain veneers is a lifetime arrangement, due to the need to remove the slight amount of enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. Because of this, once your veneers have reached their lifespan, you’ll need to have new veneers applied.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, contact our Beaumont, TX office today. Call (409) 895-0089 today to schedule a consultation with LVI dentist Dr. Joel Smith!