Dr. Stephen Blatchford
02 9523 3003
What is porcelain veneers ?
Porcelain veneers, sometimes also termed dental veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are one of the more recent developments. These wafer-thin shells of porcelain which are bonded onto the front side of teeth can be an excellent cosmetic solution for teeth that are stained, chipped, or slightly misaligned.
Porcelain veneers are used in dental extreme makeovers in cosmetic dentistry practices everyday. Porcelain veneers are used to: close gaps in teeth, fix chipped teeth, improve a gummy smile, lengthen short teeth, and improve your overall smile. Many Hollywood stars have porcelain veneers put on as an alternative to traditional teeth whitening methods. With porcelain veneers you can actually choose the shade you want and they are resistant to staining. Porcelain veneers will give you the whitest smile imaginable.
What is the dental science behind porcelain veneers ?
Porcelain veneers are the most recent application of the art and science of cosmetic dental bonding. For decades dentists have had available to them materials which can create a durable bond to tooth enamel. Porcelain veneer technique utilizes the bonding capabilities of these materials to securely attach a thin sheet of porcelain (the porcelain veneer) to a tooth. Although porcelain is inherently brittle, when it is firmly bonded to a sturdy substructure (a tooth) it becomes very strong and durable.
What are the advantages of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental bonding?
Two of the greatest advantages of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental bonding are:
A significant advantage of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental bonding is related to the fact that a porcelain veneer′s surface is just that, porcelain. Since porcelain is a ceramic, and therefore glass-like, its surface is extremely smooth and impervious. This means that the surface of a porcelain veneer will not pick up permanent stains.
What are the advantages of porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers (porcelain laminates) can often be an effective method by which to make cosmetic changes in teeth that are chipped, worn, stained, crooked, or discolored. Please note that case selection is an extremely important factor in the success of this technique. Porcelain veneers cannot be utilized in every situation.
Only an examination by your dentist can determine if porcelain veneers are an appropriate method by which to make the changes you desire. Even if you find that porcelain veneers are not appropriate for your circumstances, your dentist will most likely be able to suggest other treatment options that are suitable.
One property of this enamel covering is that it′s translucent. This means that when light strikes a tooth′s surface it is not immediately reflected off, but instead penetrates into the thickness of the enamel. This light will subsequently be reflected off the non-translucent tooth structure that lies beneath the enamel. This property of translucency is an important part of what gives teeth their characteristic appearance.
Historically the cosmetic dental bonding materials dentists have had available to them were only semi-translucent. This means that most of the light striking the tooth did not penetrate into the bonding layer but instead was reflected off the bonding′s outer surface. The net result was that while the bonding did give the tooth an improved appearance, there was no sense of depth projected. No sense of a tooth′s characteristic translucency.
Porcelain veneers , because they are glass-like, have a great advantage over other types of cosmetic dental bonding by the fact that they are translucent. When they are bonded onto a tooth′s surface they mimic the light handling characteristics of enamel.
Light striking a porcelain veneer will penetrate its thickness, and then subsequently be reflected back out once it has reached the opaque cement and tooth structure lying underneath the veneer. This translucency effect provides a sense of depth, and thus a very life-like appearance.
What happens during the procedure ?
Patients need three appointments for the entire procedure: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation, and bonding.
Diagnosis and treatment planning: It′s critical that you take an active role in the smile design. Spend time in the decision-making and planning of the smile. Understand the corrective limitations of the procedure. Have more than one consultation, if necessary, to feel comfortable that your dentist understands your objectives.
Preparation of teeth: This appointment will take from one to two hours. To prepare the teeth for the porcelain veneers, the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about a half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local anesthetic. At this appointment, a mold is taken of the teeth, which is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers. This can take about one to two weeks. If the teeth are too unsightly a temporary veneer can be placed, at an additional cost.
Bonding of veneers: This appointment will take about one or two hours. First, the dentist places the veneers with water or glycerine on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, view the esthetic results, and pay particular attention to the color. At this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of the cement to be used. The color cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once a special cement is dwiched between the veneer and tooth, a visible light beam initiates the release of a catalyst to harden the cement.
How about maintenance ?
For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your new teeth that have been changed in size and shape. Brush and floss daily. After one or two weeks, you'll return for a follow-up appointment.