What are Porcelain Veneers?
The porcelain veneers that we provide our patients at Hampton Dental Associates in Milwaukee, are extremely thin shells fabricated from a versatile ceramic material that are bonded directly onto the surface of the teeth. Over the years, veneers have become one of our most requested dental restorations. Porcelain veneers offer a very basic, but highly effective, option for improving your smile instantly. Veneers also have a wide range of uses, making them ideal for addressing numerous dental concerns.
Porcelain veneers can be used to effectively close gaps in your teeth, cover up superficial damage to the tooth surface such as staining or darkening that is not easily repaired using other forms of dental restorations and can be effective in repairing misshapen, crooked, and misaligned teeth.
When compared to other dental restorations, veneers can be virtually undetectable, making them ideal for restorations done on the front of the mouth where the teeth are most visible. The results are very natural looking. Porcelain has the unique quality of being highly resistant to staining, and reflects light the same way that natural tooth enamel does. Plus, it is very strong and durable.
What is the process of receiving Porcelain Veneers?
To determine if porcelain veneers are right for our patients at Hampton Dental Associates, we start with a series of tests and physical assessments of the patient’s teeth.
Next, the patient is put under local anesthesia so work can begin on the affected tooth (teeth) to prepare it for the veneer. The dentist shaves off about a half millimeter of the patient’s tooth enamel to create room for the thickness of the veneer. This is necessary to maintain the original thickness of the tooth once the veneer is attached. After paring off the enamel, an impression of the patient’s teeth is taken and sent to our dental laboratory where the actual dental veneers are fabricated. While waiting for the final dental veneers to be created, the patient is fitted with temporary veneers.
Once the fabrication of the porcelain veneers is complete, the patient returns to our office. The dentist then checks the fit of the veneer and makes sure its color is a match to the other teeth. If everything is in order, the dentist prepares the tooth where the dental veneer will be attached. The surface of the recipient tooth is roughened with a specially formulated solution to make the porcelain veneer adhere better to the tooth. A special adhesive is then applied onto the roughened surface of the tooth and the porcelain veneer is attached. The dentist will then use an intraoral ultraviolet light to cure the adhesive and permanently attach the veneer.
Actual Patient Case
How is porcelain better than other traditional veneer materials?
Veneers are made from either porcelain or from composite resin material. Both are advantageous, but porcelain is viewed as being one step above resin in terms of natural appearance. The process of fitting veneers is similar, if not exactly the same, and resin veneers may last nearly as long as porcelain veneers. The benefits largely revolve around appearance. Porcelain is most like natural enamel in its characteristics. It reflects light in the same way and is slightly translucent, so your veneers can look just like natural teeth. Resin tends to be a little more opaque and is not as reflective. Resin is also more porous so is more susceptible to staining over time.
Are there any risks involved with Porcelain Veneers?
Patients choose porcelain veneers for their unparalleled aesthetic benefits. While the risks of treatment are very low, especially when you choose an experienced dentist to perform the procedure, there is a potential for the following:
- Sensitivity. This is usually limited to the short time during which your teeth are covered with temporary veneers. Once the porcelain veneers are bonded, sensitivity should fade.
- Breakage or fracture. This risk is related to bad habits like chewing on hard objects and to bruxism. If you clench or grind your teeth, you may still get porcelain veneers but your dentist may also want to make you a custom-fit nightguard to wear when you sleep since this is when bruxism occurs.
- Staining. One of the benefits of porcelain veneers is that the material is very stain-resistant. This is not to say, however, that staining is impossible. If you tend to consume stain-causing foods and beverages, it is a good habit to rinse your mouth with water frequently and to see your dentist regularly for routine cleaning.
- Permanence. Because porcelain veneer treatment involves the slight reduction of the treated teeth, it is necessary to maintain some type of veneer indefinitely. At some point, it may be necessary to replace a porcelain veneer.
How can I prepare for the veneer procedure?
It is necessary to confirm that you are a good candidate for porcelain veneers. To do this, your dentist will perform a comprehensive consultation and dental exam. Before getting porcelain veneers, it is necessary for some patients to receive restorative treatment to repair some form of damage. Your dentist may need to place a filling or perform gum treatment to ensure that your veneer treatment lasts as long as it can. Often, a dental cleaning is performed before veneers are placed.
Is there any recovery involved with Porcelain Veneers?
No. You can go right back to work and other activities after receiving your veneers. During the phase of care in which you are wearing temporary veneers, your dentist will recommend that you avoid very hard, crunchy, sticky, and chewy foods. This is because it is easier to dislodge a temporary veneer than it will be to affect the final porcelain veneer. When your porcelain veneers are affixed, you should continue to take the utmost care of them by avoiding biting into very sticky, chewy, or hard foods. Instead, cut these types of foods into bite-sized pieces. It is also advantageous to limit alcohol consumption if you have veneers, as alcohol can degrade the bonding material more quickly than would occur otherwise.
What can I expect from my results?
The results of porcelain veneer treatment are immediately gratifying. This procedure takes less than a month and can completely transform your smile by covering your biggest cosmetic concerns. Your porcelain veneers are perfected to your smile and create a natural, beautiful appearance. You can brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, and should maintain regular visits with your dentist, who will routinely evaluate your veneers for structural integrity. With good care, you can expect your veneers to last many years.
What are some tips to maintain my veneers?
The best way to maintain your porcelain veneers is to brush and floss your teeth as recommended by your dentist. You may be advised to use a specific type of toothpaste that will be gentler on your veneers. Flossing is integral to the life of your veneers. This habit can reduce the amount of plaque and bacteria that may accumulate both around the margins of the gums and the margins of the veneer at the side of the tooth. In addition to daily oral care, it may be necessary to wear a protective mouthguard if you play contact sports, or a nightguard if you clench or grind your teeth. Your veneers should last longer if you avoid biting on hard objects and foods.
What else is there to know about Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, based on their specific tooth size and tooth color. Getting these details correct make porcelain veneers virtually undetectable, blending perfectly with the rest of the patient’s teeth. Porcelain veneers are even more stain resistant to coffee and tea than your natural teeth because of the high-quality material used in their fabrication. Once in place, porcelain veneers require the same care you give your natural teeth, including regular dental check-ups.
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