What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain Veneers are thin, semi-translucent "shells", "plates" or "laminates" of porcelain that are permanently bonded to the front of your teeth. While they may not be suitable for all patients, porcelain veneers are recommended for cosmetic alterations in varied dental conditions.
A few of these conditions are:
- Space between teeth (diastemas),
- Broken or chipped teeth,
- Permanently stained or discolored teeth,
- Crooked teeth and unsightly,
- Stained or washed-out fillings.
What are the advantages of Porcelain Veneers?
At one time, composite (plastic) fillings or crowns were the only available treatment for these conditions. While composite fillings were not long lasting and tended to discolour and wear away, crowns though colour stable, involved drilling and were not conservative options for cosmetic treatment. Porcelain Veneers offer a third alternative, which is not only conservative but also colour stable. Although some amount of drilling is done, it is minimal and hence the appointment painless with no anesthesia required.
How are Porcelain Veneers done?
The making and placement of Porcelain Veneers require two separate appointments: the first for the preparation of the teeth, and the second for bonding the veneers to the teeth.
1. Preparation of the teeth:
Here, the teeth are prepared to receive the veneers. This involves drilling 0.5 mm of the front surface of the teeth. The edges of the teeth are defined and margins made to ensure that the edges of the veneers would meet the tooth surface at these margins. This results in an optimal fit such that one cannot tell where the tooth and veneer meet. Then, to make an exact replica of the prepared teeth, an impression is taken and sent to the laboratory where the veneers are fabricated.
2. Bonding of the Veneers:
The second appointment is critical as the veneers are cemented or bonded onto the teeth. The teeth and inner surface of the veneers are treated with a solution, which makes them porous. A tooth coloured, composite cement is used to stick the two surfaces together. After the veneers are glued in place, any extra cement from around the teeth and gums is thoroughly cleaned out. This enables you to keep the veneers and gums, clean and healthy, giving a vibrant, natural and healthy look.
How long can I expect my porcelain veneers to last?
Depending on how well they are taken care of by the patient, veneers can last for years because they are stronger than simple bonding, and also more resistant to stains and chipping.
Will the veneers ever discolour?
The inherent colour of the veneers will never change, as porcelain is a colour stable material. However they may pick up external stains e.g. from smoking, excessive intake of colas, tea, coffee, red wine or use of certain mouthwashes. The dentist can easily polish of these stains.
What precautions would I need to take to look after my veneers?
You must maintain regular oral hygiene at home and visit us for a routine cleaning and check up. This will ensure your veneers look as good as new. To prevent the veneers from breaking or chipping, it is important to avoid anything which may place a direct pressure on the teeth with the veneers, such as nail biting, opening bobby pins and chewing on hard objects.
What makes porcelain veneers different from Fillings or Crowns?
A Porcelain Veneer is indicated when the front surface of the tooth and the biting edge need a 'face lift'. A composite filling on the other hand may be used when only a small amount of tooth structure needs to be replaced or altered. A full crown is indicated when a tooth has had root canal treatment or when a substantial amount of the entire tooth structure has been lost.