Do you want to make your ugly, broken, yellow teeth look brand new or perfect? Have you looked into veneers?
What is a Veneer?
Dental veneers are wafer-thin shells or laminates commonly made of resin composites or porcelain. It is a treatment meant to correct the imperfections of the teeth such as damaged, cracked, chipped or discolored teeth. Dental veneers have a thickness of about half a millimeter so it isn’t that visible compared to other cosmetic treatments. Before the veneers are applied to the teeth, the dentist has to remove around half a millimeter of enamel for it to fit flushed to the teeth. However, the porcelain is brittle, and it needs the support of the teeth and the enamel for strength. The dental term for veneers are dental laminates, ceramic sheathes, or porcelain sheathes.
This cosmetic dentistry treatment is mainly used to enhance the appearance. That is why this procedure is often done on the front teeth only. It is not recommended at the molars where visibility is limited. Crowns are the better option for the molars as they can withstand the biting force, and won’t break as easily.
What are the used for?
Change tooth color: Sometimes teeth can have a dull or yellowish color, whether naturally or due to lifestyle choices (smoking, coffee, wine, etc.) Tooth discoloration can also be the result of medical treatments (for example repeated high dose antibiotics as a child) or trauma which kills the nerves inside. Traditional whitening treatments may deliver unsatisfactory results in some cases, or a patient’s teeth may be too sensitive to proceed with whitening.
Alter shape of teeth: Teeth can be naturally too small or too short, causing you to be self-conscious about smiling. This technique allows you to remodel the shape of your smile and efficiently even out differences.
Repair chipped teeth: Many people have small chips in their teeth, which, although not medically problematic, they feel conscious of.
Improve alignment: People who want to straighten teeth without braces may consider dental veneers. They can be used to remove gaps and correct misaligned or irregular teeth. However, this treatment is not recommended for younger patients since it removes so much healthy enamel and can’t be reversed. In these cases, orthodontic treatment is preferable. Fortunately, the wide variety of braces available today means this needn’t involve too much or any ‘metal mouth’.
Repair damage caused by bruxism: Patients who have suffered from bruxism in the past may have ground the enamel off their teeth. Applying porcelain covers not only restores the cosmetic appearance but protects teeth from sensitivity to hot and cold.
Strengthen teeth with weakened enamel: If you have sensitive teeth or translucent teeth, it may be from too thin enamel, which can also eventually lead to problems like decay.
Veneers vs. crowns vs. implants
While veneers are a good solution for improving the cosmetic appearance of teeth, they are not a restorative solution for decayed or heavily damaged teeth.
A crown is often the best way to restore a tooth that is cracked or has lost a lot of enamel. It covers the whole tooth, rather than just the front, and acts as a protective layer against further damage.
Severely damaged teeth may have to be extracted, and in this case, a dental implant or bridge can be fitted to fill the gap. A dental implant acts as a root inserted into the jaw bone, and as such is the best way to avoid long-term bone loss from a missing tooth. However, it is also the most expensive prosthetic tooth option.
Whichever solution you are considering, your dentist will be happy to discuss the options with you. It can be easier than you realize to achieve a smile you’re proud of.
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