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All About Veneers

Are you suffering from stains on your front teeth? Or gaps? How about large resin fillings that have discolored your tooth? These are one of the things Dental Veneers can fix. Veneers are the go-to dental procedure for a perfect Hollywood smile.

So what exactly are Dental Veneers? A Dental Veneer, or sometimes called a Dental Laminate, is a thin layer of material (resin or porcelain) placed over a tooth to improve aesthetics or to alter slight position of a tooth.

There are two types of Dental Veneers: (1) Porcelain, and (2) Resin Composite. Porcelain looks more natural compared with the resin composite and it also resists stains better. That is why porcelain costs more than the resin composite.

To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about a half of a millimeter (ideally 0.6 mm to 0.8 mm) of enamel from the tooh's surface, which is the amount almost equal to the veneer's thickness to be added to the tooth surface. Next, your dentist will take an impression or model of the prepared tooth to be sent out to the dental laboratory. This will take about a week or less for your dentist to receive back from the laboratory. Then, a temporary resin will be placed on your prepared tooth so you won't leave with unsightly teeth. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented on your tooth, your dentist will first check its fit and shade/color. Now if it fits and it matched your teeth's color then your dentist is ready to permanently place your dental veneer using a special cement. The dentist will then use ultraviolet light to harden it quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Your dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer's placement. Even if you feel the veneers are a success, this appointment is vital to your future oral health.

So what are the benefits of veneers? Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high-tech materials.

With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer. For teeth that resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest teeth appear bright white. Dentists may also recommend veneers to quickly fix minor twists, overlaps, and small gaps.

Now what are the potential downsides of veneers? Because a portion of the original tooth enamel is reduced, a veneer is not considered a reversible treatment. Although adjustments and even new veneers can be made, you can never reliably return to the original condition of the tooth.

Creating porcelain veneers requires some laboratory time, so expect at least a week before they’re ready to be applied.

After the porcelain veneers are attached you will probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to the removal of that thin layer of enamel. This typically disappears within a few days. In a healthy mouth properly treated with porcelain veneers—and where destructive forces are minimized or eliminated—a patient should be able to use porcelain veneers like his or her own teeth. Although they’re very strong, veneers are also brittle. You should avoid the same excessive stresses you would avoid with non-veneered teeth: don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles with your veneers!

So how do you maintain your new veneers? Easy! Maintaining veneers is actually quite simple: Treat them as you would your original teeth, with routine brushing and flossing. Using non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste will typically be suggested by your dental professional.

If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, your dentist may fit you with a nighttime bite guard so you do not damage your veneers.

You should also return to your dentist for regular professional maintenance because porcelain veneers should be polished with a specially formulated, non-abrasive paste, and because your dentist needs to inspect it for any sign of potential failure.

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