Spaghetti sauce on your brand-new sweater. A chip in your favorite coffee mug. A picture askew on your bedroom wall. All of these things are annoying. And all of them are fixable, with a bit of effort and the right “rescue” agent. The same is true for some of the annoying situations you may face with your teeth. Many of the bad things that happen to good teeth can be rescued with a single special agent: a dental veneer.
What is a Dental Veneer?
A dental veneer is a wafer-thin piece of porcelain that can be applied to the front of a natural tooth to hide a variety of tooth problems. Like a chair’s slipcover, each dental veneer is custom created for the tooth it will cover, so it will look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. To make this happen, you will need two appointments with us.
A dental veneer can correct many tooth flaws, but not all. As a first step, we will examine your teeth – not just the teeth to be repaired – to determine whether a dental veneer is appropriate for your situation, and whether it can achieve the result you are hoping for.
If a veneer is the right solution for you, we will reshape your tooth’s surface by removing an amount of enamel equal to the thickness of the veneer. We’ll then make an impression of the damaged tooth and send it to the dental lab where the veneer is created. When the veneer is ready, we’ll attach it to your tooth with dental cement, and you will leave with a tooth no one will imagine needed rescuing. Only you and your dentist will know.
What Can Be Solved With Veneers?
So, what dental calamities are good candidates for a dental veneer rescue? Here are four main categories of tooth damage that a porcelain veneer can usually fix.
1. Stained or Discolored Teeth
Veneers were originally created to hide stains on the teeth of stage actors and are most often used nowadays for the same purpose. If your teeth have dark stains from coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine, or other sources, routine dental cleaning may not be up to the task of eliminating them. Even professional teeth whitening may not do the job. And if you’ve tried whitening toothpaste or drugstore kits, you know they don’t work well or quickly. A veneer to the rescue! A veneer will not only cover any stains, but also, because it’s stain-proof, it will keep your smile sparkling, no matter what touches your teeth!
2. Worn, Cracked, or Chipped Teeth
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And this is true of our pearly whites, too. As we age, the enamel on our teeth ages with us, making our teeth more vulnerable to the ravages of what we eat and drink, smoking, and even facial bumps that wouldn’t have caused damage when we were younger. In addition to covering chips and cracks that have already formed, a porcelain veneer can go far toward protecting teeth with worn enamel from additional wear and tear.
3. Crooked Teeth
No one wants crooked teeth, but braces and aligners are not appropriate for everyone for a variety of reasons. For those people, a porcelain veneer may be the better solution. A veneer doesn’t require the time commitment, nor the monetary commitment of an orthodontic straightening if your teeth are only mildly crooked, or if the condition affects only a few teeth. Although not effective for every situation, a veneer can be a less expensive, quicker fix when cost and time are determining factors.
4. Uneven or Misshapen Teeth
Like the color of your eyes, or the length of your nose, the shape and size of your natural teeth are not your choice. You get what you’re born with. But if your teeth are uneven in size or irregularly shaped, that’s something you can choose to change. Porcelain veneers are customized to match the color of your natural teeth — which is never pure white — and they can be shaped and sized to give your mouth a more uniform appearance. Best of all, veneers can help protect your natural teeth from chipping, cracking, or breaking due to misalignment or differences in size.
Who is a Good Candidate for Veneers?
Now that you know what makes a tooth a good candidate for a veneer, you’ll want to know if you’re a good candidate, too. A good candidate is someone who already practices good oral hygiene and isn’t in the habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. However, even if you fit this profile, some issues – gum disease, numerous cavities, and tooth decay, for example – can mean that a veneer may not be right for you, and veneers won’t stick to a tooth with insufficient tooth enamel.
How Do You Care for Veneers?
Modern veneers are permanent; they cannot be removed without damage to the tooth. Because of this, it’s important to help your veneers last as long as they can. If you care for them well, that could be ten to fifteen years! Daily flossing and brushing, in tandem with regular professional care, is as vital to your veneer’s health as it is to the health of your natural teeth. Still, even with conscientious care, taking a few precautions is in order to maintain good-looking teeth, natural or not.
- Chew with your back teeth, especially when eating hard foods; cut up candy bars and hard snacks.
- Don’t use your teeth to open packaging or food packets.
- Never chew on hard objects, such as ice, pens, or pencils, not even your fingernails.
- Wear a mouth guard if you play sports.
If you think you might need a dental veneer, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Our team of experts will be happy to come to your rescue!