Orange Texas and Beaumont Texas Dentists

Porcelain Veneers

There are many different factors that can contribute to whether an individual feels comfortable about showing off their mouth–as occurs when they smile. One of the key factors, of course, is good oral hygiene. However, it can sometimes happen that even individuals who experience excellent oral hygiene are yet self-conscious about showing off their mouth, and will hide their smile accordingly. In some instances this is because they have cosmetic issues with the position, shape, size or color of their teeth, in which case porcelain veneers are a wonderful option to consider.

The Basics of Porcelain Veneers

The purpose of porcelain veneers is to improve the appearance of teeth, in as natural a way as possible, while also providing them with the strength and resilience they would normally get from their natural tooth enamel. This can be helpful where teeth are misshapen, cracked, discolored or even slightly out of position. In order to receive porcelain veneers, an individual will:

  • Consult with their dentist. It is important to explain to the dentist exactly what one needs or wants from porcelain veneers in order to make sure that this can be achieved. The dentist will examine the individual’s teeth to confirm that porcelain veneers will work well and have the desired effect. They will also be able to explain the entire procedure, including what can be expected immediately afterwards, and answer questions the individual may have. In some cases, the dentist will feel it is prudent to take x-rays.
  • Have their teeth prepared to receive the veneers. Veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth they are enhancing, which requires a very small amount of enamel removal. This may involve the use of a local anesthetic, which the dentist will discuss with the individual beforehand. Once the teeth have been prepared, the dentist will take an impression of them and send this to the dental laboratory that will fabricate the veneers. The fabrication process can take anywhere from two to four weeks, during which time the dentist may place temporary veneers on the individual’s teeth.
  • Try on their new veneers. After the veneers have been created and sent to the dentist’s office, the individual will go in to have them fit, adjusted and cemented to the teeth. The veneer may need to be trimmed and its color adjusted before the tooth is cleaned, polished and etched for bonding. Finally, the dentist will cement the veneer to the tooth and use a special curing light to harden it quickly. The dentist will inspect the tooth and veneer to ensure that excess cement is removed and the individual’s bite is normal, effective and comfortable. In many cases, dentists ask the individual to return in a few weeks so that the veneers can be re-inspected and adjusted as necessary.

Well done porcelain veneers are difficult or even impossible to detect in an individual’s mouth, as they are sculpted to the surface of the tooth and color-matched to the individual’s other natural teeth perfectly. They are also better able to resist stains from coffee, tea or cigarettes than natural tooth enamel. That said, one needs to keep in mind the fact that since some tooth enamel is removed in order to prepare a tooth for a veneer and since tooth enamel cannot regrow, veneers are truly an irreversible dental treatment.

Finally, taking care of porcelain veneers is much the same as taking care of your natural teeth. Treat them nicely–don’t bite on your fingernails, chew on ice or open things with your teeth–and you will be able to prevent most damages from occurring. Brush them properly twice every day, floss them properly once a day, and have them professionally examined and cleaned by a dentist twice a year. They will need to be brushed with non-abrasive toothpastes so that they maintain their form and shine. All this work will be worth it, as porcelain veneers that are well taken care of can last anywhere from seven to fifteen years before needing replacement.


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