Frequently asked questions about porcelain veneers
- These are also called “porcelain laminates”, “porcelain laminate veneers” or just “veneers”. Veneers are like porcelain shells that are used to create a new front surface to a tooth. These are thin pieces of tooth-shaped porcelain that fit over the front of the tooth and are on top of care in cosmetic dentistry. Permanently bonded to the front surface of the tooth, to restore or improve position, shape or tooth color, they can create a dramatic and immediate difference to one’s smile and facial appearance. Veneers are great for fixing common problems such as gap (gap-toothed look of the two front upper teeth), or chipped, crooked, missing, discolored, uneven or improperly positioned teeth. Once only accessible to the wealthy, top Hollywood stars and models, veneers are now a popular way for many people to obtain the smile of their dreams.
Yes, there is a real blend of art and science behind high-end aesthetic dentistry. All veneers are not created equal. Our dentists have a long experience in the art of smile shaping, which determines the colors, line angles, shapes, thickness, translucency, occlusion, and many other factors that our dentists prescribe to our laboratory. Our laboratory then hand makes the veneers giving them a personalized design to fit your face, smile, gender and personality. Done properly, they look and feel like natural teeth. You can be as much a part of the selection process as you wish, but part of why you select a dentist specialist is his experience and artistry. Before and after computer imaging of other cases will help you decide on the style, shape and color that works best for you.
Veneers are made from a thin shell of porcelain and they are permanently bonded to the teeth. Our ceramic technicians fabricate the veneers from our impressions and color specifications. Each veneer is custom – made to fit naturally and comfortably over each tooth. After placement, these veneers are designed to look like natural teeth.
Veneers can be used to correct the size, shape, color and alignment of the teeth. So if your smile suffers from stained, crooked, malformed teeth from any reason (chips, cracks, fractures, gaps, smoking or tetracycline stains etc) then you may be an extraordinary candidate for porcelain veneers. Many people want straighter teeth without the stress and time necessary for wearing orthodontic braces. Now teeth can be straightened with porcelain veneers and crowns. Most people can obtain the shape, length and degree of whiteness they desire.
What many people do not realize is that the shape of veneers in combination with occlusal adjustments, such as opening the bite, can also have profound impact on the entire face. This can give the appearance of a face-lift or elimination of wrinkles without any plastic surgery. This is why some of our patients look ten years younger after the smile shaping performed by us.
Composite restorations (also sometimes called “direct veneers” or “plastic veneers”) are a tooth-colored plastic resin material. Restoration can be placed in one session and it is often used to repair a smaller chip in a tooth or to make aesthetic improvements in more than one tooth. Restoration usually requires little to no tooth reduction or anesthesia. As they are made by porcelain in a laboratory, porcelain veneers are usually more aesthetic in terms of the spectrum of colors, realism and translucency. Porcelain veneers are also a more long-term solution than restorations, as they do not stain or discolor and they are usually stronger than restoration. Porcelain veneers usually require several clinic sessions – the first session to prepare the tooth and the second one to place the veneers.
Our patients can usually get the smile of their dreams in two sessions. At the first veneer session, your teeth are prepared and at the second session, we place the permanent veneers. Imagine getting a new smile within one month – one that really fits your face and personality and gives you confidence to express the real you.
Porcelain veneers are a perfect alternative to braces for many adults. Veneers can correct the shape of teeth that are not aligned correctly, have gaps or spaces. Older patients, who have always wanted straighter teeth but do not want to undergo years of treatment with braces, usually adore this new technique. Instead of months and years in braces, crooked teeth can usually be corrected in only two weeks with veneers. In fact, even if you have had braces in the past, but the size and shape of your teeth is not pleasing you, veneers may be the perfect solution.
Braces are most desirable for people under the age of 18. At this stage in life, the bone is more malleable, teeth move easier and are more likely to stay once the bone “remodels” around the newly positioned teeth. Many adults also wear braces, but for a longer period and almost always need permanent braces to maintain the new position of the teeth. There are also numerous cabinet sessions in addition to the general stress of wearing braces. Also, teeth may be repositioned, but continue to be the same shape and color which may not be desirable. Orthodontic braces, however, do not require the teeth to be reshaped or restructured in any way.
Sometimes called, “instant correction of teeth,” veneers can give the appearance of straight teeth, closed gaps, and can modify the shape of teeth to create a perfect smile. A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain. After the enamel of the tooth is reduced, usually only slightly, the veneers are bonded covering the visible part of a tooth. Placed correctly, veneers are strong and should last a very long time. The bite is often improved and veneers do not stain or discolor.
Unlike crowns, usually only a thin layer of enamel is removed from the teeth to make room for the veneers. Usually, only 5/10 to 8/10 millimeters is removed from the outer surface. This small quantity of removed enamel is necessary to make room for the porcelain. This allows us to make the veneers to the proper contour without making them look larger or unnatural. Some teeth on some individuals may not need any tooth reduction, and some may require a lot.
This depends entirely on the desired result. If there is only one tooth that is discolored or malformed, then a single veneer may be used. Often it is recommended that several veneers (from 4 to 8) be done at the same time, to obtain a more balanced result. This allows us to get the most beautiful result possible. When closing large gaps between teeth, 6 to 10 veneers on dental arch may be necessary to get a proper aesthetic result.
There are no specific rules about how long porcelain veneers will last. Although you can expect your veneers to last many years (some patients have had them for 20 or more years), it is unrealistic to expect them to last forever. Proper care could make porcelain veneers last from 10 to 15 years.
Some people feel sensitivity (to hot, cold or pressure, etc.) after the placement of veneers. Some sensitivity is absolutely normal and usually disappears spontaneously from a day to a couple of weeks. The reason for the sensitivity can be the quantity of enamel left on your tooth after preparation, the proximity of the nerve, as well as several other factors. If this sensitivity remains or concerns you, please contact your dentist.
Once placed, your veneers are very strong and they will resist most of the forces placed upon them by a normal diet, so a normal diet should not be a problem. Porcelain is resistant to crushing but is not malleable. Therefore, you should avoid anything that will bend or twist the veneers. As with your natural teeth, opening bottle caps with your teeth, crunching hard candy or ice is not a good idea.
With proper home care and regular visits to the dentist, veneers can provide you with a beautiful smile for many years. A week or two after the placement of your veneers, we ask that you return to the clinic for a cosmetic polish and treatment evaluation. This visit is extremely important. It gives us the opportunity to evaluate the placement of the veneers, the tissue response and to answer any questions you might have regarding the design of your new smile. For example, if you grind or clench your teeth, please let us know. We can fabricate a soft night guard for you to wear to minimize the stress placed upon your teeth while you sleep.
The maintenance of your porcelain veneers is relatively simple. Brush your teeth and use dental floss as you normally would to prevent oral hygiene problems. Once placed, veneers are typically the best restoration to the gum tissues that we currently have available. Do not be afraid that you will damage your veneers by either using dental floss or brushing your teeth. Any non-abrasive toothpaste is acceptable. A good home care regime will help ensure the aesthetic success of your veneers.
1. If you have unhealthy teeth. Porcelain veneers cannot be placed on teeth where there is decay or active periodontal disease (gingivitis). These conditions must be treated by your dentist before fabricating and placing porcelain veneers.
2. If you have weakened teeth. If a significant amount of tooth structure has been lost as a result of degradation or fracture, or already replaced by a dental filling, the tooth may not be a good candidate for a porcelain veneer. Porcelain veneers do not significantly strengthen the teeth on which they are placed. Teeth that have had a history of significant tooth loss structure are usually better treated by the placement of a dental crown, and not a porcelain veneer.
3. If you have an inadequate amount of enamel on the tooth. A porcelain veneer can only be successfully bonded on tooth enamel. As a result of prior attempts of dental bonding, some teeth may have little or no enamel remaining on their front side. These teeth are not good candidates for porcelain veneers.
4. If you clench or grind your teeth. We do not recommend persons who clench or grind their teeth to have porcelain veneers. The forces created by these activities, called bruxism by dentists, can easily chip or break porcelain veneers. It is possible that individuals can successfully control their bruxism habits when they are awake, but during sleep such persons have no control over this activity. If persons who clench have veneers placed, they must be prepared to wear a plastic dental night guard when they sleep so as to minimize the amount of stress placed on their veneers.