How Tooth Veneers Work
Imagine your teeth restored to their youthful, fresh whiteness from years ago. Or being able to smile without embarrassment about tooth discolor caused by a condition beyond your control? These are among the most popular reasons for tooth veneers.
Very little preparation is needed for affixing veneers. About a half a millimeter off the surface of the natural tooth is usually all it takes. Often, a tooth veneer can be used in lieu of a dental crown, saving a significant amount of the tooth’s basic structure and preserving its integrity. While this isn’t always the case, there are many instances in which veneers are a preferred alternative to crowns.
Once tooth veneers are affixed, the transformation is instantaneous. While veneers aren’t the only solution for every esthetic irregularity, they provide stunning results for virtually every person who chooses them.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly what a tooth veneer is.
A Closer Look At Tooth Veneers
Tooth veneers, also called dental veneers, are customized wafer thin casings that envelop the front of your teeth. While they are designed to improve the color of your teeth, their functionality can go way beyond that. Veneers can be made in an array of coloring, shape, size and length, accommodating a wide range of tooth positions, shapes and sizes.
Porcelain laminate veneers are the most popular, made from medical grade ceramic that closely mimics the natural enamel of your own teeth. Porcelain tooth veneers are called such because of how they resemble the rich white quality of finely worked china. Both dental porcelain and porcelain dinnerware are ceramic, but medical grade dental porcelain is made of far sturdier stuff. It is used not just for tooth veneers, but to create natural-looking crowns and dental bridgework.
When you choose porcelain laminate veneers, highly skilled laboratory technicians will create the veneers to mimic a color that is the most natural for you. It is literally a multi-layered process. That’s what a laminate is: layers of a material bonded together to create a strong, long-lasting product. In the case of tooth veneers, these are fine layers of medical-grade ceramic.
When you receive your veneers, they replace a layer of natural enamel by being bonded to your own, natural tooth. The veneer becomes a part of your tooth. But before you can opt for dental veneers, your dental professional will examine you to make sure you’re a good candidate for them.
Getting Assessed For Dental Veneers
Among the things your dental specialist will look for are:
How your teeth are positioned. For example, do they have a relatively sound arrangement?
Does adequate dental structure exist for veneer placement?
Do the contour of the gums support a suitable “frame” for your teeth, a necessity for attractive cosmetic results.
What Tooth Veneers Do…And What They Don’t Do.
Porcelain veneers are a great way to correct minute or average gaps between teeth. They can be used to resolve faults like minor tooth rotation, poor coloring, shapes or contour, and certain slight bite-related issues. Dental veneers can be a boon to patients who suffer from bruxism, a condition where someone has worn down their tooth enamel through teeth grinding, which often occurs at night during sleep. Patients who have suffered a tooth fracture or hairline cracks in the enamel also may benefit from veneers.
However, veneers cannot be considered a fix-all for all dental ills. Certain tooth position corrections, larger inconsistencies in tooth root positioning or greater severity in bite patterns are among some of the dental conditions that may need orthodontic care rather than, or prior to, the placement of dental veneers. A responsible and ethical dental professional will take all these concerns into consideration before recommending veneers.
Tooth veneers are a terrific tool for restoring the appearance and function of your mouth. However, like all cosmetic or medical procedures for the teeth, the application of veneers isn’t a one-fix-for-all solution when it comes to every dental condition. Be sure to listen to the recommendations of your dental professional, whose experience and training are essential for restoring your smile to its original luster.
Kopp Dental & Associates