Everyone wants a bright, healthy smile and a face full of pristine teeth. Very few of us are lucky enough to be born that way, and even those that are have to maintain their smiles with impeccable hygiene, a healthy diet, and usually whitening in order to keep them that way. Most people can identify at least one thing they would like to improve about their smiles. Usually, these imperfections are pretty minor, and they can be improved through non-invasive changes such as whitening, replacing a filling or two, placement of bonded restorations, clear aligner therapy, or sometimes just better brushing and flossing.
But in some cases, time has not been kind to the teeth, and an accumulation of mismatched fillings and crowns, stained teeth, and broken teeth require a different approach. For these cases, we often recommend veneers.
What is a dental veneer?
A veneer is a thin porcelain restoration that covers the front of a tooth. Usually, veneers are only about 0.75 mm thick. This allows us to drastically change the appearance of a tooth without having to remove much healthy tooth structure. The sides of the tooth and the back surface of the tooth remain intact, and the veneer replaces the enamel that has been removed from the front of the tooth. After the tooth has been prepared, we record a digital scan of the teeth, take several photographs, create temporary veneers, and send everything to a lab for fabrication. After about two weeks, the veneers are bonded on the front surfaces of the teeth, and you have your new smile.
Veneers can be made in a wide range of colors and can have special characterizations added to them in order to give patients the healthy, natural look they desire. We determine all of this prior removing any tooth structure, and the lab will help us by creating a proposed model for the veneers. We can use that model to fabricate the temporary veneers, so you can get a good idea what the final case will look immediately after the teeth are prepared. This makes it easy to identify any changes we will want to make to the final case.
Am I a good candidate for veneers?
Not everyone will benefit from veneers. In fact, we often prefer to try other methods of improving your smile prior to placing veneers. Patients that are interested in having veneers placed need to have excellent oral hygiene, both before the procedure- so that gum inflammation doesn’t interfere with the digital scan, and after the procedure. Red and puffy gums can detract from the appearance of a patient’s smile, no matter how nice the actual teeth look. Once veneers are placed, the patient has to be very good about brushing and flossing around these teeth, because teeth with restorations so close to the gum line are more prone to gingivitis than other teeth. This is also true for crowns and fillings.
Have you tried whitening, but it just hasn’t given you the bright result you wanted? Do you have old fillings in your front teeth that have been discolored over time? Give us a call at (301) 963-0800 and we can see if veneers can brighten up your smile!