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What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are designed to provide a solution for teeth that are discolored, broken, chipped, worn down, misshapen, or misaligned. They’re also used to close gaps between teeth.
Made from porcelain or a composite resin, veneers are very thin shell-like structures that adhere to the front of your teeth with a bonding material. They are also custom-made to match the color of your teeth. Most patients choose veneers made from porcelain as they are more durable, reflect light in a way that’s most similar to natural teeth, and superior for stain-resistance.
How is a Veneer Different Than a Crown?
Veneers cover only the front of the tooth, are extremely thin – about 1 millimeter thick – and require less tooth manipulation to prepare for the bonding process
The surface of the tooth must be roughened for the veneer to adhere properly, so a cosmetic dentist will need to use a grinding technique to eliminate approximately one-half millimeter of the tooth’s enamel. Some newer veneer options require less grinding than their older counterparts. Even though the dentist will grind some of the enamel, there must be enough enamel to begin with in order for veneers to bond properly.
A crown covers the entire tooth and is about 2 millimeters in thickness. A crown can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, resins, or ceramics. For crown placement to be secure, the dentist will need to grind or file down more of the tooth than is required for veneers.
Dental crowns are typically recommended when a tooth has significant decay or damage. Dental veneers are often selected when there’s minimal tooth damage and the patient desires the treatment primarily for cosmetic reasons.
How Do I Decide Whether Porcelain Veneers or Dental Crowns are Best For Me?
Generally, if your tooth has only minor damage, a veneer is the best option and costs less than a crown. But consult with your dentist to make an informed decision. It’s likely that if your tooth is very worn down, has a large filling, or a considerable crack, a crown will be more suitable.
What Can I Expect From a Porcelain Veneer Procedure?
Expect to visit the dentist three times to plan and prepare your veneer. Note that you can have several teeth veneered during the same visit, so you don’t have to plan for multiple appointments if you intend to use a veneer for more than one tooth.
First Visit: Diagnosis and Planning
During this session, explain what’s bothering you about your teeth and what you would like to fix. Your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure you’re a good candidate for the procedure. If veneers will work for you, you’ll make an appointment for the next visit.
Second Visit: Preparing Your Tooth for the Veneer
Your dentist will reshape your tooth’s surface during the second visit. It will need to be about the same thickness as the veneer that will cover it. Before reshaping it, you can request numbing through local anesthesia to make you more comfortable during the procedure.
Next, the dentist will make an impression of your tooth and send it to the laboratory that will construct the veneer. It typically takes 2-4 weeks for the lab to complete the veneer, so the dentist will offer a temporary veneer while you wait for the final appointment.
Third Visit: Veneer Placement
Before permanently bonding the veneer to your tooth, the dentist must ensure it’s a proper fit and the precise color. If the color is slightly off, it can be adjusted with the shade of cement that’s used for bonding.
Next, the dentist prepares the tooth for bonding through a process called etching, which roughens the tooth’s surface. Then cement is applied to the veneer and it’s placed on the tooth. After placement, the dentist uses a blue light – called a curing light – to quickly harden the chemicals The curing light may use halogen or LED bulbs.
Finally, the dentist will remove excess cement and make any needed adjustments to your bite. You may need to schedule a follow-up visit to determine if the veneer’s placement is correct.
Benefits of Choosing Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers have a number of benefits:
- They’re require less destruction of the natural tooth than crowns
- They look like natural teeth
- Gums are respond well to the porcelain material
- They’ll make your teeth look whiter and are resistant to staining
- They’re less costly than crowns
- They can last up to 15 years with good maintenance
Caring For Veneers
If you want to ensure that your veneers last a long time, take note of our tips for proper care and maintenance.
- Brush and floss twice a day. Even though the veneers won’t decay, the exposed areas of your tooth are prone to infection if you don’t maintain regular dental hygiene. The tooth behind the veneer must stay healthy if you wish to extend the veneer’s lifespan.
- Use a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to avoid damaging the surface of the veneer.
- See your dentist twice a year (every six months) to ensure that your gums are healthy and not receding. If your gums recede, they could expose the edge of the veneer. It’s also a good idea to have regular check-ups so that your dentist can perform minor repairs.
- Refrain from chewing on hard objects like ice, pens, and your nails. You’ll risk chipping the veneer.
- Try not to grind or clench your teeth. If your dentist notices you have a clenching or grinding problem (which typically occurs while you’re sleeping), you can have a night guard custom-fitted so you can avoid those behaviors.
- Even though veneers are very stain-resistant, staining is still possible. Limit foods and beverages like coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, dark berries, dark-pigmented sauces, colas, and other highly-acidic beverages like sports drinks, which can damage your enamel. To help reduce the possibility of staining, try to drink beverages with a straw.
- For so many reasons related to your oral health, do not smoke. Besides contributing to gum disease, nicotine can make the edges of your veneers look yellow or darkened.
Associated Costs of Porcelain Veneers
The cost of veneers is highly dependent on the individual needs of the patient, so schedule a personal consultation with one of the experienced dentists at Osseo Family Dental. After learning about your options, you can decide what works best for you.
Keep in mind that although veneers do cost less than crowns, they’re not as likely to be covered by insurance since their function is primarily cosmetic. But one of our staff members can create a payment plan or offer financing options to help you afford the procedure. Veneers are an easy way to dramatically transform your look and you may find that it’s worth the investment.