When you observe your teeth in the mirror, do you like what you see? If the answer is no, thanks to a cracked or chipped tooth or to severely discolored teeth, dental veneers might be able to help. Veneers are slightly different from crowns or dental implants. They aren’t a full replacement for your tooth or teeth. Instead, they’re a thin shell that is placed on top of an existing tooth.
Why to Consider Veneers
There are a few reasons to consider dental veneers. If your teeth are yellow or stained, and haven’t responded well to whitening treatments, either at home or in a dentist’s office, veneers can improve the color of your teeth. They are also used to correct cracks or chips in teeth or repair teeth that are crooked or otherwise misshapen. If you have gaps between your teeth, veneers can help close the gaps.
You might also consider dental veneers if you’ve had a lot of dental work done that’s affected your smile. For example, veneers can help conceal discoloration caused by certain types of fillings.
Veneers are often made out of porcelain, but they can also be made out of a resin. The different materials offer different advantages and disadvantages. Porcelain veneers tend to be better at resisting stains than resin ones, which can become discolored. Resin veneers also look a little less natural than porcelain ones.
But, when a dentist applies resin veneers, he typically doesn’t have to remove as much of the tooth, as the material is thinner. Resin veneers are usually less expensive than porcelain and can often be applied in just a single visit.
How You Get Them
When deciding whether veneers are the right option for you or not, one important thing to consider is that the process of applying the veneers is permanent. During the procedure, the dentist removes a layer of the treated tooth’s enamel. The removed layer is about 1/2 mm thick, or the same thickness as the veneer. Your dentist needs to take off that layer or else the veneers won’t look natural. Your mouth is usually numbed before the enamel is taken off.
After removing the enamel, the dentist typically takes an impression of your tooth or teeth. The impression is either sent to a lab or used at the practice to create the veneers.
When it’s time to place the veneers, the dentist will usually clean and polish your teeth before lightly scratching or etching them. The scratches give the bonding material something to cling to. After shaping the veneer, if needed to get a better fit, it is applied to the tooth using cement. The cement is cured with a special light that causes it to harden, forming a tough bond between the veneer and the teeth.
When Veneers Aren’t the Best Solution
In some cases, a full implant or replacement tooth might be the better option for you. For example, if the tooth has a lot of decay, there might not be enough tooth left for the the veneer to cling to. The same is true if your tooth has been repaired with a filling and the filling is very large.
Although veneers can help fix slight issues with a misaligned bite or slightly crooked teeth, they can’t repair teeth that are severely misaligned. If you have very crooked teeth or very large gaps between your teeth, you might consider braces before getting veneers.
Veneers might not be the best pick for you if you have bruxism or regularly clench your teeth. There is a chance that the porcelain will break due to the stress of teeth grinding. Unlike a crown, you can’t replace veneers if they end up cracking or chipping.
Miami periodontists and implant dentists Dr. John Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas don’t do or evaluate for veneers, but they can refer you to a good restorative dentist. Call their office today at (305) 447-1447.