Each of us has some imperfections with our teeth. A tooth may be crooked, another chipped. There may be a gap between teeth, or they may be discolored beyond what whitening can address. Porcelain veneers are the perfect cosmetic cover-up, giving you a beautiful smile for the world to see without a lengthy series of procedures.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain Veneers Benefits
Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
Severely discolored or stained teeth.
Teeth that are too small or large.
Unwanted or uneven spaces.
Worn or chipped teeth.
Am I a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers vs Crowns
Porcelain veneers are only cosmetic improvements for teeth, changing the shape, size, color, and such. Veneers do not add strength or function to damaged teeth. So, a tooth that is going to receive a veneer needs to be healthy.
Porcelain crowns, on the other hand, return strength to teeth that are seriously damaged, decayed, or otherwise compromised. They can change the appearance of a tooth or teeth as veneers do, but they do so by completely covering the tooth all the way down to the gum line.
Porcelain Veneers Procedure
Dr. Holbrook needs two appointments to place your porcelain veneers. During the first appointment, your teeth are prepared for the veneers.
- First, we thoroughly clean your teeth. If you have extensive cosmetic stains, we may recommend whitening first to get your teeth back to their original natural color. Dr. Holbrook then uses a shade guide to determine the veneer color that matches your natural tooth color.
- Next, the teeth are prepped for the veneers. This involves shaving a tiny fraction (from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm) of tooth enamel off the front of the teeth receiving veneers. This is necessary to make room for the veneers on the fronts of the teeth. Once this is completed, we take impressions of your teeth and send them to the dental lab for fabrication of your custom veneers. It usually takes about one to two weeks to make your veneers, so we place temporary veneers in the meantime and you return home.
- When your veneers are finished, you return for your second appointment. Dr. Holbrook checks your veneers for color match and fit. If necessary, he may shave off small bits here or there. Then your teeth are lightly etched with acid gel, which roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process. The special cement is applied to the veneer and the veneer is placed onto your tooth. Dr. Holbrook uses a special light to quickly cure the cement. Once all the veneers have been placed, Dr. Holbrook will remove any excess cement, and make any final adjustments to your veneers.
The length of time it takes to get your veneers is directly related to the number of veneers you are receiving.
How Long do Porcelain Veneers Last?
Porcelain veneers last anywhere from seven to 20 years. The lifespan can be dictated by changes with the underlying teeth or surrounding gum tissue. If a veneer happens to detach, it can usually be re-attached.
It’s important to note, however, that having porcelain veneers is a lifetime arrangement. Because some tooth enamel is removed to make room for each veneer, the tooth cannot be left uncovered. So, when your veneers reach their lifespan, you’ll need to have new veneers applied.
Maintaining Porcelain Veneers
Normal home hygiene is all that is needed to care for your veneers. Choose non-abrasive toothpaste. You should use common sense with foods such as candy apples and chew aggressively on bones. Chewing ice and biting your fingernails can occasionally dislodge a veneer, so those kinds of things should be avoided.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in porcelain veneers and would like to see if you are a good candidate, call (505) 881-1159 to schedule a consultation at our office in Albuquerque, NM.