The purpose of porcelain veneers are to improve the health and appearance of the teeth. Porcelain veneers can look completely natural and whiten dark yellow stained teeth or tetracycline stained teeth. Teeth can be whiter and straighter looking (often referred to as “Instant Braces”). The shape of teeth can be improved, lengthened, shortened, fuller or less full, be more round, more square or bolder looking.
A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of heat-fired porcelain that is custom made to fit your teeth. They are separate veneers of porcelain that are bonded to the teeth. The patient brushes, flosses and eats normally. Whatever the needs or desires of the patient, veneers can be an effective cosmetic solution that will last for many years. The restored teeth will permanently be whiter than the natural teeth. The oldest case by Dr. Sam Muslin was completed in 1984 and the patient’s teeth are still better looking than his natural teeth would have been by now. The veneers have been in his mouth for over 23 years and the patient is 85 years old.
Non-Invasive Cosmetic Dentistry
With the development of the thin non-invasive, no tooth grinding type of cosmetic treatment, the patient’s natural tooth structure can be saved. No grinding on the patient’s teeth is also referred to as Non-Invasive Dentistry or Non-Invasive Porcelain Veneers. Sometimes if a tooth is protruding, some surface grinding is necessary to make the teeth line up evenly. Non-Invasive Porcelain Veneers can create permanently whiter teeth. Patients can have white teeth without the hassle of bleaching or ongoing teeth whitening to maintain a whiter color. Continual use of bleaching agents such as Zoom, or BriteSmile, or Crest Whitening Strips or any other teeth whitening or teeth bleaching agents compromise the tooth structure. Teeth bleaching can make the teeth sensitive towards temperature, sweet and fruit juice. Ceramic dental bonding that is non-invasive or requires no grinding protect the teeth.
Less Tooth Sensitivity
The non-invasive porcelain veneer adds another layer of porcelain to the existing tooth. The tooth can be much less sensitive, much whiter and very natural looking. Less tooth sensitivity is a huge advantage if the dentist is highly skilled in dental bonding. The extra layer of porcelain over the existing tooth covers all of the sensitive areas. The patient can have an exceptional smile that highlights their eye color, complexion and lips. There are many brands of non-grinding or non-invasive porcelain veneers such as Lumineersa made by Cerinate, Da Vinci Labs, Glidewell Labs and Mac Labs. Many other dental porcelain labs make veneers that require no grinding. The non-invasive porcelain veneers are not new; Dr. Sam Muslin has been doing them for many years. A word of caution: thin porcelain veneers require an artistic and talented hand skill or the results can look unnatural (see bad veneers below).
Traditional Porcelain Veneers
The traditional porcelain veneer requires the tooth to be reduced (ground down with a dental drill) about 1mm in order to make room for the porcelain. The porcelain veneer will fit inside the area of tooth that has been ground away. The advantage of the traditional veneer is the porcelain is thicker and can hide a dark colored tooth better than thin porcelain veneers. The disadvantage is that the healthy natural tooth structure has to be ground away. The dentist has to be very precise with the work otherwise the teeth can be sensitive after treatment due to the loss of tooth structure. This type of veneer is better if the patient has “buck teeth” and needs to have them less protruded. The teeth will not be sensitive if bonding was completed to perfection.
Bulky Porcelain Veneers – “My teeth look too thick!” This type of bad porcelain veneer is too thick and square. They lack the natural contour of a tooth. They look heavy and have a tendency to collect food near the gum line because they are too think and over contoured. Over contouring refers to a sudden bulk of tooth that abruptly emerges from the gum line which then collects and traps food. A natural tooth has a streamlined contour so the food slides off easily and does not collect food. Listen to what this person has to say about her bad porcelain veneers experience.
Fake Porcelain Veneers – “My teeth look like dentures!” Some veneers are way too white. White teeth can still look very natural but cannot have too much opacity. Opacity refers to the density of the white color. If there is too much white coloration, the light translucency through the tooth is interrupted. The tooth looks fake or has the “Chickletts” look.
Cosmetic dentistry goes beyond the skills of the conventional dentist. The average dentist does not do enough of it to know how to control all of the variables from one patient to the next. Just taking a weekend course is not enough. Be very selective with the dentist you choose. Ask for photos of his or her work or speak to their patients that had it done.