Cosmetic procedures are constantly improving. If you are unhappy with the sizing, shape, color and appearance in your teeth, porcelain veneers may provide you a viable option. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience.

Porcelain veneers are very successful in situations where the original tooth has discolored or become misshapen. In addition, it is a good choice for teeth that are fractured, gapped, or have shifted position. It is also possible veneers can correct minor bite-related problems. Patients whose teeth resisted whitening treatments in the past may consider veneers as well.

Veneers offer several benefits. First and foremost, veneers are custom-made. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains and cigarette smoke. Veneers allow your natural teeth to remain largely intact with only minimal alterations required.

To begin the process, the dentist may create a diagnostic mock-up that will allow the patient to “try on” veneers. Or the dentist may use cosmetic imaging which uses a computer to digitally alter a patient’s smile to demonstrate treatment results. Veneers take about a week to be made. Behind the ceramic layer, the veneer has an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually accounting for less than a millimeter. This is essential, as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit in the mouth most accurately. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer. The resin is hardened using a special curing light.

Once the porcelain veneers are attached, the patient might initially have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, due to the removal of the thin layer of enamel. This disappears within a few days. After the installation, veneers are to be treated the same as natural teeth, with routine brushing and flossing. A follow-up visit is required one week later so the dentist can evaluate how the mouth is reacting to the veneers. Veneers are permanent. While minor adjustments are possible, the treatment can never be “undone” because a portion of the natural tooth is effectively removed.

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