A happy and healthy smile does wonders for our self-confidence! If your teeth are chipped, stained, misaligned, worn down, uneven or even abnormally spaced, dental veneers may be the solution for you.
Dental veneers are wafer-thin, specially crafted shells that bond to the front surface of your teeth to enhance their appearance. Veneers are used to change tooth color, shape, and size, creating a natural-looking, beautiful new surface.
Should You Consider Veneers?
Veneers are commonly used to improve appearance of teeth that have been affected by the following problems:
- Stained teeth: Teeth may become stained due to certain food or drinks (like coffee or tea), years of smoking, or the simple passing of time. Root canal treatment, certain drugs and medications, and excessive fluoride use may also cause stained teeth.
- Teeth that are worn down from grinding habits;
- Chipped or broken teeth;
- Teeth that are misaligned or have small gaps.
Different Types of Veneers
Veneers are made of porcelain or composite resin. Specialized porcelains are now available that are extremely thin, yet durable. Veneers are created by a dental technician in a dental laboratory; composite veneers may also be fabricated by your Auburn dentist directly. The veneers are then bonded to teeth by means of a special cement, making them extremely strong and long-lasting.
If you and your dentist, Dr. Matson, agree on veneers, the procedure normally follows three steps:
Diagnosis and planning
In your first appointment, make sure to explain to the dentist your expectations and desired results. In turn, the dentist will discuss the details of the procedure as well as its limitations. X-Rays may be taken at this time, as well as impressions of your mouth and teeth.
After administering a local anesthetic, your dentist will remove a small portion of the tooth enamel (about ½ millimeter) to provide a better surface for bonding the veneer. (Extremely thin veneers require even less enamel to be removed.) Next, he will make an impression of your tooth. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where the technician will construct your veneer. This process usually takes between one and two weeks.
Your dentist first places the veneer on your tooth to examine its overall appearance. He adjusts and trims the veneer to achieve a custom fit; color may also be altered by means of different shades of cement. Next, the tooth is cleaned, polished, and etched, which prepares the surface for a strong bonding process. Special cement is applied to fix the veneer permanently to your tooth. A special light beam activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden quickly. Finally, your dentist removes any excess cement, evaluates your bite and makes any necessary final adjustments.
Your dentist, Dr. Matson, may schedule a follow-up appointment after a couple of weeks to re-examine the position of the veneer and see how your gums are responding to its placement.
Maintenance and Care
Dental veneers should receive the same care and attention as your natural teeth. You should brush them at least twice a day, and continue to floss daily. Dental veneers are very strong, but you may no longer want to use your teeth as tools (for example, to open packages) or to bite into extremely hard foods, in order to protect them and extend their use. If you grind your teeth when sleeping, a custom mouthguard is a wise way to protect your investment in cosmetic dentistry.
If you are interested in learning more about veneers, Dr. Matson at Rock Creek Dental is happy to answer any of your questions.