What are Veneers?

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a veneer is a "thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel." They are custom made to the contour of your teeth and are bonded to the tooth's original enamel during a series of in-office procedures.

Porcelain Veneers:

Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers, which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth. The bond between original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the aesthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond, which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light. Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems.

The benefits of Porcelain 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, 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.

Maintenance of porcelain veneers:

Maintaining porcelain veneers is actually quite simple: Treat them as you would your original teeth, with routine brushing and flossing. One week after your veneers are placed, you will be required to return to the office for a follow-up visit and evaluation so the dentist can see how your mouth is reacting to the veneers. Even if you feel the veneers are a success, this appointment is vital to your future oral health.

If you are considering porcelain veneers, call the office for a consultation.

Composite Veneers:

The closest conservative cosmetic alternative to porcelain veneers is composite resin. Composite resin is a tooth-colored filling material that may be used to form dental veneers. Composite veneers can be done in one day and generally correct small cosmetic defects, needing at least two appointments, sometimes three.

Positives of composite veneers:

Composite veneers, often called direct veneers, chairside veneers, or bonding is an alternative to porcelain veneers for smile makeovers. There are positives and negatives to composite veneers. They enable dentists to charge lower fees than porcelain veneers, because there is no lab bill for the veneer. This is one area that really pays to have an experienced dentist. Composite veneers can make teeth whiter than tooth bleaching using peroxide. They can also make smiles wider and correct some chipping, tooth wear, crowding and spacing. Composite veneers typically cost about half as much as porcelain veneers.

Negatives of composite veneers:

The drawbacks of composite veneers is that it is much more difficult to make extreme changes to the smile. If the teeth are more crowded or have moderate or severe wear and bite changes, there are more benefits to using porcelain veneers. Composite veneers have a higher chance of getting small chips and staining. While the composite materials are strong, they are not as strong as porcelain. The good news is that this situation can in most cases be repaired easily. Composite veneers will slowly darken over the years and the only way to lighten the veneer is to replace it. Composite also looses its polish quicker, but they can be re-polished at cleanings. Porcelain veneers do not stain or darken over time.

Choosing between composite and porcelain veneers.

Strength and longevity are the biggest difference between composite and porcelain veneers. Composite veneers are created in two ways, direct or indirect. Indirect is when impressions are taken, and a lab fabricates the materials which are then bonded in place during a second appointment. Porcelain veneers are done indirectly as well. Porcelain veneers can last 15 or more years. A ceramist specialist, in a dental laboratory, creates porcelain veneers. The best dental laboratory ceramists can make porcelain veneers look better, more natural and vital than any composite veneer.

Need more information on this procedure, contact our office and come speak with our dentist about the best choice for you.

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