For teeth with imperfections that cannot be addressed with teeth whitening procedures, but are not so flawed as to require full coverage crowns, dental veneers can provide the desired cosmetic improvements.
Dental veneers are custom-fabricated facings that offer a conservative and cosmetically pleasing way to improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, gapped, worn, slightly crooked, misshapen or darkly stained. With dental veneers, the color, shape, size, and length of the teeth can be changed for the better. Bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth, veneers can be used to enhance the appearance of a single tooth or multiple anterior teeth.
The two most common types of veneers are porcelain veneers, which are also known as porcelain laminates, and composite veneers. While porcelain veneers are the most commonly offered option in care, composite veneers can also achieve excellent results. Starting with a smile makeover consultation and a comprehensive assessment of a patient’s oral health as well as a discussion of the cosmetic goals, the dentist will determine a treatment plan to achieve the most pleasing outcome of care.
Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin facings that are custom fabricated from the highest grade of dental ceramics and offer the following benefits:
- Require very little preparation of underlying tooth structure
- Can be fabricated from start to finish in just a few visits
- Porcelain reflects light in much the same way as teeth for a naturally beautiful looking smile
- Once bonded, porcelain veneers are strong and durable and can last for many years with proper care
- Resistant to stain and discoloration
- Well tolerated by surrounding periodontal tissues
When direct composite veneers are the selected method of care, the dentist applies carefully selected shades of tooth-colored composite resins to the fronts of the involved teeth. As the composite resin is placed, it is meticulously sculpted to create the desired shape, length and overall form of each tooth. Each layer of applied composite is then cured with a special light, and additional layers of composite are placed as required to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and functional result. Once the final result is completely set, the dentist will smooth and polish the direct composite veneers to a naturally brilliant finish.
While composite veneers frequently offer the advantages of being a single visit procedure, easy to repair and an economical alternative to porcelain veneers, they are not as strong or resistant to staining and wear as dental ceramics. However, by avoiding certain dietary choices and habits, practicing good oral hygiene and getting routine dental care, direct composite veneers can offer an effective and long lasting cosmetic smile improvement.
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Desmond Brian NG, DDS
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