There was a time when only movie stars and politicians could afford cosmetic dentistry. Pictures of their before and after smiles were illuminating, and often sent waves of envy through the average Joe. Nowadays, cosmetic dentistry is available and more affordable for a much larger segment of the population. Porcelain veneers have become a common and popular choice for smile makeovers. As the dental field continues to evolve and advances are made, more and more minimally invasive procedures become available. Today, besides porcelain veneers there are no-preparation or minimum-preparation veneers available. The difference is in the material they are fabricated with. If you are interested in learning more about veneers, consult your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest. He will be happy to explain the pros and cons of veneer options available today.
What Is Minimally Invasive Dentistry?
The goal of minimally invasive dentistry is to keep as much of the original tooth structure and surrounding tissue as possible. There was a time when dentists would reduce teeth down to tiny stubs, especially during elective cosmetic procedures. Some of the materials used required this major tooth reduction. Over the years the dental field developed the philosophy that, because replacement dentition is not as long-lasting as the natural structures of the oral cavity, removal of excessive tooth structure limits future restorative options, therefore removal of healthy tooth should be kept to a minimum.
What Is A Veneer?
Porcelain veneers, also called dental laminates, are often referred to as a thin jacket or covering, custom designed to improve the original tooth. They can be used to restore function and strength, or to improve the aesthetics of a smile. They are considered minimally invasive because they are more conservative than a dental crown and they only cover the part of the tooth that needs modification due to shape or size, damage or injury, or to improve aesthetics.
No-Prep or Low-Prep Veneer
New and improved dental materials are being developed all the time. No-prep or minimum-preparation veneers were developed as a minimally invasive restorative option. Dental porcelain used to fabricate porcelain veneers or laminates can be fabricated as thin as 0.2mm, requiring only the smallest amount of tooth reduction, creating ultra-thin veneers that still provide strength, durability, and aesthetics. Other porcelain veneer materials can be brittle when fabricated thinner than 0.5mm in thickness, allowing for possible breakage, but the porcelain used for no-prep or low-prep veneers is strong enough to bond without cracking. Because these veneers require minimum preparation, little drilling is required and most of the natural tooth structure is maintained. When more of the natural tooth is retained the tooth remains strong and will be able to tolerate future restorations if needed.
No-prep or low-prep porcelain materials can be fabricated with varying tinted layers and levels of translucency. The ceramic material is pressed paper thin, and its translucency allows the underlying tooth to show through and blend with the various tints, achieving natural aesthetics while covering imperfections.
Porcelain Veneers vs No-Prep, Low-Prep Veneers
Porcelain veneers are used to:
- Reshape crooked or misaligned teeth
- Add length and width to a tooth
- Cover diastemas, black triangles, and close gaps or spaces
- Repair cracks, fractures, and chips
- Cover discolored or stained teeth and create a bright, aesthetic smile
- Reestablish an unhealthy tooth due to decay, worn enamel, erosion, or attrition, back to health
Low-prep or no-prep veneers are a good choice to repair:
- Worn enamel
- Teeth that appear too small
- Reverse smile lines
When choosing between the two types of veneers, the amount of tooth reduction is an important consideration. Dr. Fondriest can explain the pros and cons of enamel removal and how the amount of removal affects the quality of the outcome. For instance, conservative veneers requiring minimal reduction are a good choice when spaces, gingival recession, or loss of gum papillae are not issues. Creating a uniform morphology, or modest improvements in symmetry and tooth alignment, are often remedied with low-prep veneers. They are not recommended if a brighter smile is the goal.
Although veneer restorations are bonded into place, are strong, durable, and the margins less likely to leak or fail, there are many factors the patient, dentist, and ceramist need to consider before choosing low-prep veneers including: aesthetics, function, and technical issues such as creating the line of draw, opening the buccal and incisal embrasures, controlling undercuts, hiding margins, and rounding out sharp edges. Once the technical details are met, how will the teeth look and function? If circumstances are not ideal, the use of low-prep veneers can prove challenging. That’s why it is important to consult with Dr. Fondriest, to discuss your goals and options before choosing a treatment method.
About Your Lake Forest Dentist:
If you are interested in learning more about smile design, contact your Lake Forest dentist, Dr. Fondriest. Aside from providing dependable family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from West Forest Lake, Kennedy, Lake Bluff, Skokie, Junction, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.