Dramatically Change the Appearance of Your Teeth Without Surgery

Dramatically Change the Appearance of Your Teeth Without Surgery

If you’re unhappy with your smile, you do have a few options that can improve it. One of those options, especially if you have a history of severe dental problems, is to get dental implants. Implants are natural-looking faux teeth that are installed in the place of your natural teeth. However, getting implants requires a long, drawn-out process over several visits, including oral surgery. For many people, that seems like a hassle…especially for multiple teeth.

Two other options are crowns and bondings. Crowns are often used on damaged teeth or those that have had root canals. Tooth-colored bondings (made from a very durable plastic material) can be used to repair chips, cracks, or even change the shape of a tooth. If neither of these things appeal to you, you do have other alternatives.

About Dental Veneers

For those seeking a long-lasting and dramatic change, dental veneers are often an attractive option. Also called porcelain veneers or porcelain laminates, dental veneers are very thin shells of a porcelain or resin composite material. They are custom-made to be bonded over the front your existing teeth, and can completely change the appearance of your smile for the better, even in severe cases.

Veneers are generally used to change the shape, size, length, and color individual teeth, creating a whiter, more uniform look without gaps.

What Veneers Can Do for You

Dental veneers can fix a number of issues with your smile, but they are most often used to improve the following conditions:

  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Uneven, misaligned, or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Teeth with gaps in between them
  • Discoloration (due to root canals, large fillings, stains, excess fluoride, etc.)
  • Teeth that have been worn down over time

Veneers may be made from porcelain or a resin composite. While porcelain is more resistant to stains and reflects light more naturally, we can help you decide which option is best for your situation. Both types of veneers can greatly improve the look of your smile without surgery.

The Procedure

As you can probably imagine, the procedure for getting dental veneers is simpler and much less invasive than getting implants. Veneer placement also doesn’t require re-shaping of teeth the way crowns would. While the process usually requires three dental trips, there should be minimal, if any discomfort involved.

Your first visit will be a consultation, where we will discuss with you how veneers may be helpful,, and which material is the best fit. The next two visits are where the veneers are designed to fit your teeth, then bonded permanently. Veneers can be placed over a single tooth, or as many as you like to improve your smile.

Making Your Treatment Plan
First, you’ll need to let us know how you’d like your smile to look. We can give you an exam to ensure you’re a good candidate for veneers, and fill you in on what the process entails. You should leave this appointment with an understanding of both the benefits and limitations of veneers.

Preparing for Veneers
In order for the veneers to adhere to your teeth properly, we will need to remove a very thin layer of enamel from the surface of each affected tooth. This very thin layer equates to the approximate thickness of the veneer. Before this is done, you may be given a local anesthetic to ensure you remain comfortable. Then, we’ll be able to make impressions of the target area. Those impressions are sent to a dental lab, and are used to make perfectly-fitted veneers just for you. This usually takes 2-4 weeks. If you don’t want to wait that long, we may be able to put temporary veneers in place during this time.

Bonding Your Veneers
Once back from the lab, and with your teeth properly prepared, your new veneers are ready to be bonded to your teeth. We will do a temporary fitting first, to ensure the right placement and color. There may be some trimming needed, and we may also use a specific shade of cement when the veneers are applied, helping to adjust the color. Before your veneers are permanently placed, your teeth will need to be cleaned and polished, as well as “etched.” Etching roughens up the tooth’s surface to ensure a strong bond. Cement will then be applied to the veneer, and your veneers will be placed. Once we are sure the placement is just right, we will apply a special light beam to activate the cement and cure it almost instantly. After your veneers are in place, any final adjustments to your bite will be made, if necessary. We may schedule you for a follow-up visit a couple of weeks later, to double-check the placement and ensure your gums aren’t having a bad reaction to the veneers (which is pretty rare).

The Advantages

Obviously, we all want to have a beautiful smile. Veneers can help those with even severe dental cosmetic issues achieve a smile they’ll be proud to show off. Whether those issues are due to past dental health problems, injury, or something else, veneers could be the answer, offering:

  • Stain resistance (porcelain)
  • Natural appearance
  • Even, uniform look
  • Whiteness
  • A more conservative approach than crowns or implants
  • A lifetime of 7 to 15 years
  • No special care required — just good oral hygiene

Potential Drawbacks

Dental veneers are strong, and give your smile a more natural look than crowns. They are also less invasive to receive than implants. However, they might not be appropriate for everyone. Here’s why:

  • Veneers are irreversible and must be replaced when worn out
  • Veneered teeth can still decay
  • Should they chip or crack (which isn’t likely), they must be replaced, not repaired
  • Teeth may become sensitive due to the removal of some enamel
  • Veneers may not perfectly match the color of other teeth
  • Under excessive pressure (biting pencils or nails, grinding teeth), veneers can become dislodged

Considering Veneers?

If you’re unhappy with your smile due to past dental problems, tooth injury, or more, veneers may represent a good option for you. As long as you don’t have active decay or gum disease, dental veneers may be the answer for improving the look of your teeth without surgery or other invasive procedures. Talk to us by phone or at your next appointment to learn if veneers can give you a more beautiful smile.

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