The look of our teeth says a lot about us. Do your teeth appear discolored and worn? That may leave you looking advanced in age or unhealthy.
Are your teeth crooked or small? Misshapen or oddly shaped teeth are not attractive.
If aesthetic dental issues leave you afraid to smile, it may be time to explore your cosmetic treatment options.
What Are My Cosmetic Options?
Most cosmetic problems can often be solved using multiple dental procedures. For minor touch-ups, cosmetic bonding (composite resin) can add onto the structure of your teeth. This may be an ideal solution for gaps between teeth or minor chips.
If tooth stains are your main concern, professional teeth whitening can brighten your smile. Take-home kits contain high amounts of peroxide that lift stains from your teeth.
If your teeth are not misshapen but suffer from misalignment, orthodontic work (either using braces or Invisalign) are an effective option. Did you know that minor misalignment options can be fixed using porcelain veneers? In fact, the treatment is sometimes called “instant orthodontics.”
If you desire drastic, head-turning results, no cosmetic treatment delivers the great results that porcelain veneers do. Maybe you have heard of veneers, but have you taken the time to really learn how they work?
Veneers can drastically improve your smile. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are cemented to the tooth surface. The customizable shells can be made to any size, shape, and color that you desire.
Do you have a gap between your teeth? Diastemas are easy to fix. Your dentist can make the veneers on either side of the gap a little wider than your natural teeth. Once the veneers are placed, the porcelain shells will “fill in” the gap in your teeth.
Do you suffer from tooth discoloration? Mild discoloration is best treated using professional whitenings. If you have deep, extrinsic or intrinsic (below enamel) stains, you can benefit from veneer treatment. Your doctor can make your blemish-free veneer the perfect color to blend in with your smile.
You can even brighten your smile by placing multiple whiter veneers across your front teeth.
How Are Veneers Placed?
Veneers are typically placed through two visits, once your candidacy has been established. During your first visit, your doctor will prepare one or more of your teeth to receive veneers. If your dentist offers no-prep or minimal prep veneers, you may be able to forgo or to largely forgo tooth prepping.
Tooth prepping refers to the removal of small amounts of tooth enamel in order to make room for the veneers. In many cases, tooth preparation is needed to ensure that your veneer looks natural when it is placed on the surface of teeth. The procedure is performed with a local anesthetic.
Prepping is performed using local anesthesia so you are very comfortable throughout the treatment. Once your tooth is prepped, an impression of your teeth will be made so your custom veneers can be fabricated by a trusted lab.
Fitting Your New Veneers
After a few weeks, your veneers will arrive back at your doctor’s office. This can be a very exciting time. During your second visit, your doctor will ensure that each veneer meets your cosmetic goals.
Once you and your doctor are completely happy with the look and fit of the veneers, they will be placed using a strong cement.
Adjusting to Your New Dental Veneers
There is no recovery time with veneer placement. Side effects are also very rare. If someone does experience a side effect, it will most likely be temperature sensitivity or an “off” bite. This may be especially true if enamel had to be removed during the prepping process.
Any side effects should subside on their own. To be safe, you may want to avoid eating hot or cold food and drinks for a few days. If your bite feels “off,” go easy by avoiding hard or crunchy foods. Your teeth will adjust, but if you have concerns about this normal side effect, let your dentist know.
Maintaining Your Veneers
Maintaining your veneers is easy. Practice good oral hygiene habits and keep regular visits to your dentist. Your veneers are made from durable porcelain, but the material can still be damaged. Certain habits can even dislodge your veneer.
Never use your veneers to rip open packages or to pry open objects. If you wouldn’t use your natural teeth to do something, don’t rely on your veneers for the job.
Be mindful of what you eat. Very hard objects like corn kernels can chip or crack your veneers.
Certain habits can damage your dental veneers. If you grind your teeth at night, that habit can do some serious damage to your porcelain shells. Individuals with the condition known as bruxism often show signs of enamel wear.
Some individuals may not be aware that they grind their teeth at night. Your best bet is to schedule twice-a-year cleanings and an annual exam so your dentist can tell if you are a teeth-grinder.
How Long Will My Veneers Last?
With care and regular visits to see your dentist, your veneers can last for 10 years-15 years, or longer. The lifespan of your veneers will vary depending on your eating habits, the quality of your veneers, and other factors.
Working with a respected and experienced cosmetic dentist is also important, both in regard to the quality of the dental work and the quality of the dental cement used. A respected dentist will have a trusted dental lab that he or she works with.
The final placement of your veneer is also critical. Before your veneer is placed, an acidic compound called etching will be used to ensure that the veneers keep a very strong bond with the surface of your teeth.
Eventually, your veneers will wear or loosen to the point where they need to be replaced. This process is straightforward. Your doctor will remove the veneers, clean the treatment site, and make impressions before your new veneers are made.
Schedule Your Veneer Treatment Today
Porcelain veneers can deliver beauty and symmetry that you may not have thought was possible. If you live in or around Chicago and wish to learn more about this great cosmetic option, please contact your cosmetic dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, and our dental team online or by calling (847) 234-0517.