A young woman came to my practice enquiring about using a whitening system to remove the tetracycline stains across the tops of her front teeth. Even though some people can experience a slight improvement through a whitening approach, a better option to treating tetracycline stains is to use Porcelain Veneers. By the use of porcelain veneers, we were able to restore her very beautiful smile.
In this article I will share my experience with several of my patients in using Porcelain Veneers to remove stains as well as correct various other defects, to get the perfect smile everyone deserves.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are fine shells of ceramic material that are bonded on to the front of a tooth. They are used to mask discolorations, brighten teeth, and to improve the smile. They are a great restorative choice for improving the appearance of your teeth.
When is a porcelain veneer restoration recommended?
As an alternative to crowns, to change tooth color, size, or shape.
For treating severe teeth discolorations. For example, teeth stained by tetracycline, by injury, and for masking discolored fillings in front teeth.
Alternative for certain Orthodontics. For example, when the front teeth are slightly misaligned, crooked, or rotated.
For the repair of old crowns and bridgework under certain specific situations.
For the elimination of gaps between teeth.
Can porcelain veneers get stained due to extended use – especially with the use of tea, coffee, red wine, or tobacco products?
A major advantage of using porcelain veneers as opposed to cosmetic dental bonding materials is that the porcelain veneer’s surface is made of porcelain. Since porcelain is a type of ceramic, it is nonporous with non-fading permanent color. Hence, a porcelain veneer’s surface is extremely stain resistant.
What can I expect from my porcelain veneer procedure and what are the risks?
This procedure can greatly enhance your smile and self esteem. You can expect an aesthetically pleasing naturalness for your teeth. But you should understand that they are not perfect replacements for your natural teeth. Porcelain veneers are shaded from the top to the bottom just as with natural teeth. If they were all one color they would look false, like chiclets. Porcelain veneers are shade stable, and their color will not change. Some people experience minor sensitivity after the teeth have been prepared for veneers and while wearing the temporary veneers. If you feel any changes in the way you speak, please call your dentist. Your dentist can make minor adjustments to your veneers to correct this.
How is it done?
The procedure is fairly simple but for the comfort of the patient we almost always use a local anesthetic. The procedure usually requires three to four appointments from diagnosis to treatment planning, teeth preparation and completion.
In the diagnostic step we will conduct a comprehensive examination of your mouth, including all the necessary X-rays, analysis of your bite, analysis of the proportions of your teeth forming the eshethic zone, incisal guidance and canine rise. A diagnostic wax-up will be made of the finished smile so you can have input and tell us how you want your smile to look. The wax-up makes this part of the process easier for the patient as well as for the dentist and the lab technician. The more you can tell us what you want the finished product to be the easier it is for us to deliver exactly what you want.
In the next step we prepare your teeth for veneering. The teeth are shaped in accordance with the diagnostic wax-up. About 0.5mm-0.7mm of tooth structure is removed and then replaced by the added thickness of the veneer. A very precise impression is made of your teeth and is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of your veneers. This can take about two to three weeks. We place temporary veneers for you, during this period.
The next step is bonding of veneers to your teeth. First, we place the veneers on your teeth to check their fit and to get a sense of the shade or color. At this time, we request that you view it and provide us input on the aesthetic results, especially the color.