What are dental veneers or laminates?
A thin layer material that covers the outer surface of the tooth. Porcelain or white filling material can be used as veneers.
Why use porcelain veneers?
- Appearance is very important
- Chipped teeth
- Stained teeth due to antibiotics or trauma or root canal treatment
- Teeth with old fillings or where fillings discolor quickly
- Minor reshaping of teeth
- Crocked teeth
- Closing spaces between teeth
What may my initial dentist visit involve?
You need to explain to the dentist what you are trying to achieve. A proper examination of all your teeth and gums makes a dentist more able to advise on the suitability of porcelain veneers in your mouth. As part of the examination x-rays (radiographs), photos or plaster casts of your mouth, may need to be taken.
Until recent times when a dentist wanted to enhance a tooth, reshape it, recolor or repair it, the only way to use porcelain was with crowns. Making a crown involves removing tooth structure from all surfaces of the tooth. With new bonding techniques we are now able to attach a thin layer of porcelain to the front of the tooth. Although porcelain is brittle when it is bonded to a sound tooth it becomes strong and durable.
Why does Porcelain look better?
The outer covering of a healthy tooth is enamel. It is translucent so that light passes through it and reflects of the underlying dentine. Porcelains more closely mimic the light reflecting properties of the tooth than composites. Very darkly stained teeth may not be suitable for porcelain veneers. Porcelain is a glass like ceramic so it will not absorb stains like other materials. Only your dentist can advise you as to the best technique for your particular needs.
Why may the dentist suggest AGAINST porcelain veneers?
- Decay or gum disease: Porcelain veneers will not stop decay and healthy gums are necessary for successful treatment.
- If the tooth structure isn't sound enough the dentist may suggest that a crown is a better option.
- Insufficient enamel: Porcelain is bonded to the tooth enamel. Sometimes tooth wear will result in loss of enamel making bonding a more difficult task.
- Grinding and clenching: People who clench and grind their teeth is poor candidates for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers will break under these types of pressures. Crowns are not always stronger in these cases. It is possible that a person can wear a night guard to protect the teeth against this activity if it occurs predominantly at night.
- Composite bonding: White filling material may be used to cover chipped or stained teeth. This material is generally thinker and less smooth than porcelain veneers. It may discolor more readily over time and is less natural looking than porcelain.
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