What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength to the supporting tooth. It’s often the material of choice for repairing chipped and broken teeth. However, they can also be used for changing slight position of teeth, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color. Porcelain veneers are often the best treatment for teeth that have large, failing composite fillings.
What are the Benefits?
Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, as well as cigarette smoke, because they are made of ceramic materials that are not porous.
With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer. For teeth that do not respond to whitening, veneers can make even dark teeth appear white. Dentists may also recommend veneers to quickly fix minor twists, overlaps, and small gaps.
Why Use a Porcelain Veneer?
Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a veneer may be the best option.
Are There Different Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a fusion of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel. In some cases, the veneer can be made out of a single layer of ceramic material. Few people know that there are actually several different porcelain types, each with different characteristics. Some ceramic materials used for veneers are stronger than others. These may be the material of choice for people who grind and brux their teeth. Other ceramics are more translucent or opaque.
There is also porcelain that can be thinned out to a minimal thickness, for cases where we do not want to file teeth. This is a consideration when changing the shade of teeth. Some bond better to the tooth structure than others. It is up to the treating dentist to decide what is the result the patient is looking for and choose the proper material.
How Much of the Tooth Needs to Be Filed Down?
To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel is often removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the veneer to fit on the tooth and most accurately restore a natural tooth appearance without being too bulky. However, when closing gaps or treating teeth that need to be larger (like peg laterals), oftentimes minimal or no preparation is required. We can use porcelain that is made extremely thin for no-prep veneers.
Do Veneers Weaken My Teeth?
The bond between the original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the aesthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond, which is essential for correct veneer function. Current research shows that when a porcelain veneer is bonded to a natural, healthy tooth, the tooth actually becomes stronger.
What is a “No-Prep” Veneer?
Just as with porcelain veneers, “no-prep” or minimal preparation veneers— so called because they typically don’t require the dentist to remove as much tooth material—are bonded to the front surface of your teeth. Often, the placement of no-prep veneers can be done more quickly and with less discomfort than traditional veneers. This procedure also does not require making provisional (temporary) veneers.
How Do You Maintain Porcelain Veneers?
Maintaining porcelain veneers is actually quite simple: Treat them as you would your original teeth, with routine brushing and flossing. We typically use a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Regular hygiene visits are also important because the dentist needs to inspect your dentistry for any sign of potential failure. Early detection and prevention are key in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.
Am I a Candidate? Why See a Specialist?
If you have chipped, broken, discolored teeth or simply do not like their shape, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers. Even closing spaces between your teeth is now available using “no-prep” veneers. Simply come in for a consultation at Stamford Dental Group and we will be able to determine the best way to improve your smile. Prosthodontists specialize in the restoration of your teeth and smile. Prosthodontics is an ADA-recognized specialty in restoration and replacement of teeth and implants. A prosthodontist has completed a 3-4 year accredited residency to obtain this status. That is why they are able to claim that “your smile is our specialty”. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Stamford!