Porcelain Veneers May Be The Perfect SolutionPorcelain Veneers May Be The Perfect Solution

Oftentimes teeth can be healthy, yet over time they become discolored, stained or may even have cracks or small chips in them. For these situations, porcelain veneers, which can be placed on one or several teeth and can even be used to close gaps or cover crooked teeth, may be the perfect solution.

The advantages of porcelain veneers are that they provide a natural look, are stain resistant, can make discolored or stained teeth appear whiter and can be used to actually change the color and shape of your teeth. These thin wafers of porcelain are custom designed to fit over your natural teeth and the color and translucency are designed to re-create or improve the look of the tooth it is covering.

The process of adding veneers is not reversible so having them applied by a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry and is familiar with the artistry needed for designing veneers is important. While veneers are strong and durable, they typically last from five to ten years at which time they would have to be replaced.

Veneers are not an option for patients who have unhealthy teeth, cavities, gum disease, weakened teeth or teeth with thinning enamel on the surfaces. And veneers don't work well for patients who clench or grind their teeth because these actions can cause the veneers to crack or chip; they are typically not repairable when this happens and would have to be replaced.

If you believe that dental veneers are a good solution for you, a visit to a cosmetic dentist will help determine whether or not they are a good option and what the procedure will involve. Once this option is chosen, your dentist will begin the process by removing about a half a millimeter of enamel from your tooth surface. This amount of enamel is equivalent to the depth of the veneer that is going to be bonded onto the surface of your tooth. Once the enamel has been removed, the dentist will make an impression of your tooth or teeth and this impression will be sent to a dental lab where the veneer will be created.

It normally takes from one to two weeks for the veneers to arrive back in your dentist's office at which time they will be temporarily placed on your tooth to ensure that the color and fit are correct. Once that is ascertained and you and your dentist are happy with the results, the wafer thin porcelain is permanently bonded to your tooth (or teeth) with a special cement. Then a light beam is used to activate chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden very quickly.

The process of creating and applying dental veneers usually takes three trips to your dentist--the first for the consultation, the second for making the impressions for the veneers and the last visit for applying the veneers to your natural teeth.

Once in place, porcelain veneers do not require any special care other than good oral hygiene which consists of brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dentist.
by Dr. Susan Wells
References and Bibliography
Dr. Susan Wells DMD has been practicing dentistry in Alabama since 1978. Although she treats patients for all aspects of general dentistry, the cosmetic procedures including traditional veneers and Lumineers are what she enjoys the most. Visit her site at http://DrSusanWells.com.
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