While some people have better-looking smiles than others, no one’s teeth are cosmetically perfect. There may be a gap here or there, a tooth that is misshapen, a few teeth that are discolored — any variety of flaws. At Midtown Dental Design, we give our patients flawless smiles by overlaying those imperfections with porcelain veneers.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are applied to the front surfaces of the teeth to cover flaws with shape, alignment, size, or color. At Midtown Dental Design, we use only porcelain for our veneers, because its appearance very closely resembles that of natural tooth enamel.
What flaws can be covered with porcelain veneers?
Veneers are the perfect cosmetic solution for these problems:
- Concealing chips
- Covering badly stained, discolored teeth
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Masking alignment problems
- Covering cracks or wear
- Covering misshapen teeth
Patients need to understand that veneers are only a cosmetic application; they do not solve underlying issues such as tooth decay, a seriously cracked tooth, and the like. These problems must be addressed before veneers can be applied to the teeth.
Some practices offer resin veneers, but Dr. Sadeghi uses only dental porcelain in her practice. She believes in the strength, hardness, glassiness, durability, and stain resistance offered with porcelain. Plus, porcelain has a similar translucence to natural tooth enamel, so it blends in with your natural teeth.
How does Dr. Sadeghi place porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers require two appointments. The first appointment prepares your teeth. If your teeth are stained, we may opt to clean and then whiten them to return the teeth to their natural color first. Next, Dr. Sadeghi uses a shade guide to determine the porcelain color to match your natural enamel.
Then the teeth are prepared for the veneers. This involves shaving off a tiny amount of the enamel on the fronts of the teeth, from 0.3 to 0.5mm. Removing this enamel makes space for the veneers to be attached to the teeth without making the teeth thicker. Once the teeth have been shaved down, we take impressions and photos of your teeth and send them to the dental lab to use in the fabrication of your custom porcelain veneers. This process takes around one week; in the meantime, Dr. Sadeghi places temporary veneers on your teeth and you return home.
When your veneers are finished, you return for your second appointment. Dr. Sadeghi first checks the color match and fit of each veneer. She may shave a slight amount off here and there. Then the veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth, and you can go out and show the world your beautiful, perfect smile.
Will my veneers require special care?
Porcelain veneers don’t require any special home care, simply brushing twice a day and flossing. You can eat what you want but may want to avoid certain items such as chewing on taffy or candy apples because veneers can occasionally dislodge. If that does happen, the veneer can be reattached.
How long will my veneers last?
Porcelain veneers are very durable and you’ll love your smile for anywhere from 7-20 years. While this range seems unreasonably unspecific, the life of a veneer is dictated by the health of the tooth it is placed upon. If you keep your teeth in great shape, your veneers will last accordingly.
You do need to remember that having veneers is not a reversible process. Once we shave off a portion of your enamel, that enamel is gone for good. Your teeth will forevermore need to be covered with veneers (or a crown) to protect them. When your veneers reach their lifespan, you simply have another set placed.
What are the alternatives to porcelain veneers?
Veneers are a unique long-term cosmetic application to give you a perfect smile. Some people wonder if there are alternatives. Really the only alternative would be to crown the teeth in question. But crowns fit over the entire tooth down to the gumline and are a wholly different option. The one advantage of a crown is that it gives the tooth strength, rather than simply being a cosmetic solution.