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What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Do you ever feel like hiding your smile because of stained, chipped or uneven teeth? You have multiple treatment options to consider, from dental bonding to getting new crowns. But if you’re looking for a long-lasting solution and a simple application process, you may be a good candidate for porcelain veneers.

The Advantages of Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth to give them a bright, symmetrical appearance. They’re an “in between” option that can fix more serious problems than dental bonding can but are more affordable and easier to get than a dental crown. They’re a common solution for problems like:

  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Eroded tooth enamel
  • Mildly crooked teeth
  • Irregularly shaped teeth

Veneers can be made from composite resin or porcelain. While resin is a more affordable option, many people choose porcelain veneers due to their significant advantages, including:

  • A long lifespan (They can last up to 20 years, while composite veneers usually last 5 to 7 years.)
  • A natural appearance that will blend in with the rest of your teeth
  • Resistance to staining and chipping

Porcelain is a highly durable material that’s stronger than you may think. In fact, it’s equal in strength to your tooth’s natural enamel. Because of this, some dentists have stopped offering composite veneers and only work with porcelain to give their patients the best results.

The Procedure: What to Expect

Getting your new veneers is a relatively simple procedure that only requires two trips to the dentist. At your first appointment, you and your dentist will discuss which of your teeth are in need of an update. Next, your dentist will use a grinding tool to shave a very thin layer off your teeth’s enamel so the veneers will fit. Finally, your dentist will create impressions of your teeth with a mold or with 3D cameras. These images will be sent to a lab so your veneers can be carefully crafted for the right fit and appearance.

When your new porcelain veneers are ready, you’ll come back for your second appointment to have them attached to your teeth. You’ll have a chance to try on the veneers with a temporary paste to make sure they look and feel just right. When everything is ready, your dentist will use a dental cement to permanently bond the veneers to your teeth.

With modern materials and technology, getting new porcelain veneers is a quick process. They can often be attached with no anesthesia unless you request some for your comfort. Once your veneers are bonded into place (which happens within minutes), you’re all set. You’ll be able to eat and drink as you normally would without any recovery time.

Caring for Your New Smile

Porcelain veneers are long lasting, but they will likely need to be replaced at some point down the line, usually within 10 to 20 years. There are steps you can take to help them last as long as possible, such as:

  • Take good care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist once every six months.
  • Use a mouth guard if you play sports or if you tend to grind your teeth at night.
  • Avoid chewing your nails or chewing on objects like pens or pencils.
  • Chew harder foods with your back teeth to avoid putting too much pressure on your front teeth.
  • Don’t use your teeth to tear open packages.

When it’s time to get your veneers replaced, you may choose to undergo the same procedure again, or you may opt for something different like dental crowns. Your dentist will be able to help you decide which choice is best for you.

Issues like stained or chipped teeth can leave you feeling self-conscious and may even affect your self-esteem, but you can overcome these feelings with the help of cosmetic dentistry. Talk to your dentist about porcelain veneers and whether they might be a good fit for you.

Treat Yourself to a New Smile At LifeSmiles, Dr. Randy Mitchmore uses advanced technology like 3D imaging and “minimal prep” veneers to give our patients bright new smiles. We offer a range of options from warm blankets to IV sedation to make our services comfortable and pain-free. Contact us to learn more.