CHOOSING BETWEEN COSMETIC DENTAL PROCEDURES CAN BE A DAUNTING TASK.
At first glance, it’s hard to distinguish between the options. Crowns, bonding, dental veneers–what’s the difference? Though not a one-size-fits-all solution, perhaps the most versatile option is dental veneers. The shortest (though by no means perfect) answer is that crowns are for the major stuff, bonding is for the minor stuff, and veneers are for everything in between.
|It’s fairly easy to tell when a crown is the right way to go. Is the tooth severely worn down, discolored, and misshapen? You might need to go for a crown.||For very minor issues–a tiny and barely noticeable chip, for example–bonding will likely do.||But the truth is, most cosmetic dental issues are neither extremely severe nor totally trivial. Most are somewhere in between. This is where dental veneers come in. For many of the less-than-severe, more-than-trivial issues, veneers are often an excellent choice.|
BUT OF COURSE, IT’S NOT EXACTLY THAT SIMPLE.
There are variables to consider beyond severity. Let’s dive in and take a look at what dental veneers are, what they do, and how to determine whether they are right for you.
WHAT EXACTLY ARE DENTAL VENEERS?
Before getting into the question of whether or not veneers are for you, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.
Dental veneers are ultra-thin layers of porcelain that are custom-made and bonded to the front of teeth to correct cosmetic dental issues and improve the appearance of one’s teeth. They can be used to fix teeth that are misshapen, unevenly sized, misaligned, chipped, broken,
cracked, or worn down. They can be used to treat discoloration caused by root canal treatment, excessive fluoride, and various other factors. They can also be used to lengthen or shorten teeth, as well as fill in gaps between them.
The narrator of this corny-but-informative video by Dear Doctor puts it well: “Porcelain veneers do for your smile what replacement siding does for your home.” In other words, just as the exterior of a house takes abuse over the years from wind, rain, hail, dirt, baseballs, rambunctious kids, unruly teenagers, and all manner of forces of nature, so too do the exteriors of our teeth take such abuse over time from food, wine, coffee, imperfect dental hygiene, hockey pucks, overzealous recreational activity, and the inevitable occasional injuries, minor or otherwise, that we all face (sometimes also caused by rambunctious kids or unruly teenagers). And just as new siding can give new life to your home, so too can dental veneers give new life to your smile.
|IT BEGINS WITH A CONSULTATION
Make an appointment to speak with Dr. Wells about what exactly you are looking for. This discussion is very important, and it is crucial that you play an active role in making sure you make clear exactly what you want, so that Dr. Wells can make sure you achieve optimum results.
|CUSTOM VENEERS ARE CRAFTED OUT OF PORCELAIN
After deciding on veneers, they are artfully created. When you come in for the actual procedure, a thin layer of the enamel on each tooth receiving the veneers will be removed. This is important to understand, as it means that the process is irreversible. After this removal, the custom veneer is carefully applied to the tooth.
|MORE THAN ONE VISIT MAY BE NECESSARY
To complete the process of applying dental veneers. Though that may sound intimidating, the process is actually non-invasive and, in the majority of cases, virtually painless.
4 ADVANTAGES OF DENTAL VENEERS
|A NATURAL APPEARANCE||Veneers appear natural and mimic the look of natural teeth quite well. Not perfectly, mind you, but well. The porcelain provides a subtle sheen (no obnoxious, blinding glints of light so bright that everyone will think they hear a ding! whenever you smile).|
|STAIN RESISTANT||This doesn’t mean you can drink three glasses each of coffee and red wine every day and expect them to stay spotless and gleaming, but it does mean that reasonable intake of your libation(s) of choice shouldn’t have too profound an effect on the color of your veneers.|
|DURABLE||The durability of dental veneers is quite impressive. With proper oral hygiene, they will generally last for five to ten years before needing to be replaced. They can sometimes last up to twenty years!|
|SIMPLE PROCEDURE||When compared to crowns and bonding, dental veneers provide a nice middle ground. Crowns require a lot of shaping and re-shaping of the tooth receiving the crown, and the tooth is altered drastically. Bonding, on the other hand, involves no changes to the actual tooth itself and is really best suited for minor improvements and repairs. When you want cosmetic enhancement that is significant but not drastic, veneers are often the way to go.|
THE POSSIBLE DRAWBACKS OF DENTAL VENEERS
Dental veneers are an excellent way–sometimes the very best way–to achieve or enhance a beautiful smile. However, as in all things, they will not be the right choice for everyone and there are various factors to consider. It is vitally important to make sure you understand the potential issues you might face before you make a decision that will affect your teeth for many years to come.
The process is not reversible. A very thin layer of tooth enamel (approximately a half of a millimeter) will be scraped away from the affected tooth, so the tooth can no longer exist on its own without the layer of protection that the veneer provides.
Breaks, chips, and cracks are not usually repairable. In such a case the damaged veneer would need to be replaced. Again, though, veneers are quite tough. But they are not invincible.
Because the process of applying veneers involves removal of some enamel, Your teeth may become more sensitive to particularly hot and cold food and drink. There is disagreement about whether this is a genuine problem or simply falsely assumed conventional wisdom based on seemingly common sense. Regardless, it’s something to consider.
Dental veneers are not a good option for people with unhealthy teeth or gums. Since removal of enamel is part of the process, veneers are especially ill-suited for patients with diminished or weak enamel.
Though not widely applicable dental veneers can have unintended consequences for those with particular careers, hobbies, or lifestyles. For example, veneers are probably a poor choice for a professional trumpet player. High-level musicianship requires high-level precision, and such precision is only achieved by years of intensely honing one’s technique. Even the slightest change to a trumpet player’s embouchure (the way the mouth rests against the mouthpiece of the instrument) can undermine the technique they have spent years refining.
One piece of good news is that several negative things often said about veneers are either contested or outright false. One common misconception is that veneers will cause teeth to appear too large. This is not true. And thank goodness, because no one wants to look like this.
Are Dental Veneers Right for Me?
Whether or not dental veneers are what’s best for you is a decision only you can make, and it’s definitely important to consult with Dr. Wells and give him as clear as possible an idea of what you’re going for. He can help guide you to what is most likely to achieve the results you are looking for. What can be said with certainty, however, is this: For many people, dental veneers provide the perfect balance of minimal invasion and significant cosmetic enhancement.
If you’re interested in the possibility of getting
dental veneers,make an appointment today to come
and speak with Dr. Wells about your options.
7741 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy
Charlotte, NC 28277