Porcelain veneers (also known as dental veneers or dental porcelain laminates) refer to a cosmetic dentistry operation in which a thin layer of porcelain is bonded to a natural tooth. In this procedure a half millimeter of enamel is removed from the front surface of the tooth. The tooth is then exposed to phosphoric acid in which after the resin cements a veneer is then applied to the tooth. This procedure is used to replace lost tooth structure straighten teeth change the color or shape of a tooth and/or close teeth spaces.
Porcelain veneers have a number of esthetic advantages over other types of cosmetic bonding. Since porcelain is able to capture and reflect light porcelain veneers gives the damaged tooth the look of a natural tooth. Additionally since porcelain is a ceramic material and is therefore glass-like the surface of a porcelain veneer will not pick up permanent stains.
The lifespan of porcelain veneers tend to be between ten and fifteen years while the costs range from $750 to $2000 per unit (or tooth.) However the use of porcelain veneers on a single tooth is rare and in most instances the procedure is used for the upper six front teeth. In addition to the costs porcelain veneers may not be the best option for a number of people. These include those with unhealthy teeth (porcelain veneers cannot be placed on teeth where there is decay or active gum disease) weakened teeth (teeth whose teeth structure has been reduced due to decay or fracture) teeth in which an inadequate amount of enamel exists on the tooth and those who clench or grind their teeth (these actions can chip or break porcelain veneers.)
Receiving porcelain veneers generally takes two dental appointments. During the first visit the side where the porcelain veneer will be bonded must be trimmed back at approximately the same thickness of the veneer. This amount is generally .5 to .7 millimeters. Following this your dentist will make a copy of the affected teeth in order for the porcelain veneers to be created with the correct dimensions. Following a waiting process that lasts between one to two weeks the porcelain veneer will be fitted on the affected teeth. Once the fit has been deemed appropriate it will be bonded onto the affected teeth.
Upon receiving porcelain veneers there are a number of ways to ensure its longevity. These include: daily brushing and flossing; avoiding clenching and grinding of teeth; the use of a mouth protector in sports activities; and lifestyle changes such as avoiding excessive smoking as well as the drinking of coffee tea and red wine to minimize staining.