If your smile has everything you want, BUT, one tooth just doesn’t fit in, then a porcelain veneer may be what you need. Porcelain veneers are a type of dental restoration that camouflages the crooked, cracked or broken look of teeth to make them appear as if they are perfectly shaped and in alignment. The way this is done usually involves removing some of the tooth structure that is positioned out of the arch form (the space that the teeth would be in if they are perfectly straight). Then replacing this removed tooth structure with porcelain of the same shape and color as the adjacent teeth. Some people call it instant orthodontics because the result can be what we hope to achieve when we get braces. Sometimes braces are the best way to fix an out of alignment problem, but when the teeth are chipped, discolored or abnormally shaped, then orthodontics will straighten the tooth, but it will still retain all the other undesirable problems with its appearance. Usually when teeth are straightened with braces, the one’s that are not appealing to the eye will eventually be bonded or veneered. Veneers may be a better option if there are only a few teeth that are a concern because it is quick, easy and more cost effect than doing the full braces route. Another great aspect of veneers are how closely they match and resemble natural teeth. Today materials are 100 times better than they were 10 years ago and they are still evolving. With advances in color stability, strength, and high bond strengths to tooth structure, veneers can be placed today with less tooth reduction than in the past. Discolored teeth are one of the main reasons a person would desire veneers. Most people are very self conscious about a dark smile, which leads them to smile less or not to the fullest extent they would if their teeth were brighter. This can have a huge emotional affect on some people. A new smile can literally change a person’s whole outlook on life. I hear it time and time again, “If I know enhancing my smile would give me so much more confidence and a happier attitude, I would have done it years ago.”
Things to look out for when considering veneers are:
1) Make sure your dentist has experience doing this type of procedure and ask to see previously completed case.
2) Digital photography is an essential part of the process. This is how a dentist should communicate with the laboratory that is making your veneers. There are 12 key photography shots that should be taken before the teeth are prepared which will allow you, your dentist and his lab to pick the correct shape and color of tooth to fit your face shape.
3) Make sure you evaluate veneers before they are permanently bonded to place. Many patient’s I’ve seen just want to get the process completed and will place their trust in the dentist approving everything. I recommend to all my patients to bring in their spouse or significant other to approve the new look before with delivery the case. Your veneers can be adjusted before final placement if things just don’t look like you would like.
If you have any questions about the veneer process, consult with your dentist for the answers.