What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are applied to the front surfaces of the teeth to cover flaws with shape, alignment, size, or color. At Pacific Northwest Smiles, Dr. Greenhalgh only uses porcelain for our veneers, because its appearance very closely resembles that of natural tooth enamel.
Why Consider Veneers?
What would make your unique smile look even better? Are some of your teeth chipped? Do you have stains on some front teeth? Would you like your teeth to look straighter? Do you have a gap you don’t like?
With dental veneers, these and other cosmetic issues can be quickly covered up. Your smile can be reshaped. Do you ever wonder how some celebrities and other people always seem to have flawless teeth? They don’t all use braces. Those gorgeous smiles are often because of dental veneers!
Who is a good candidate for porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are the perfect cosmetic solution for these problems:
- Concealing chips
- Covering badly stained, discolored teeth
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Masking alignment problems
- Covering cracks or wear
- Covering misshapen teeth
Patients need to understand that veneers are only a cosmetic application; they do not solve underlying issues such as tooth decay, a seriously cracked tooth, and the like. These problems must be addressed before veneers can be applied to the teeth.
What Can Porcelain Veneers Correct?
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that we can bond to the front of a tooth. Here are a few things that veneers do for your smile:
- Cover Up Damage: A veneer can cover up a cosmetic problem like a chipped tooth or an area of discoloration.
- Reshape a Tooth: We can use veneers to give a tooth a new shape. If a tooth’s natural shape doesn’t quite fit in your smile, we can extend the veneer beyond your tooth and shape it, so it makes your tooth look flawless.
- Whiten Teeth: Instead of getting several periodic whitening treatments—which might not give you the exact shade of white you want—you can get veneers that make your smile suddenly bright and dazzling.
- Cover a Gap: If you have a small gap between two teeth, we can place veneers on the teeth on both sides of the gap, make them just the right size, and cover up the gap.
- Craft a New Look for a Whole Row: If you have several teeth in a row that look crooked, we can bond custom-shaped veneers to each one of them and make the whole row look straight and even.
Do Veneers Look Natural?
We’ll make sure to pick out veneers that are a natural color match to your other teeth. We’ll look at your whole smile with an artistic eye to make it look great.
Why does Dr. Greenhalgh only use porcelain for your veneers?
Some practices offer resin veneers, but Dr. Greenhalgh uses only dental porcelain at Pacific Northwest Smiles. He believes in the strength, hardness, glassiness, durability, and stain resistance offered with porcelain. Plus, porcelain has a similar translucence to natural tooth enamel, so it blends in with your adjacent natural teeth.
How are porcelain veneers applied?
The process of getting porcelain veneers with Dr. Greenhalgh takes two appointments. During the first appointment your teeth are prepared for the veneers. To begin, we thoroughly clean your teeth. If the tooth enamel is stained, we may recommend whitening first to get the teeth back to their original color. Next, Dr. Greenhalgh uses a shade guide to determine the veneer color that is the best match to your natural tooth color.
Next, the teeth are prepared 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 makes room for the veneers on the fronts of the teeth. Once we’ve shaved the enamel off, we take impressions of your teeth and send them off to the dental lab for the fabrication of your veneers. This process takes about a week; in the interim we usually apply temporary veneers to your teeth.
When your custom-made porcelain veneers arrive at Pacific Northwest Smiles you return for a second appointment. Dr. Greenhalgh first checks your veneers for color match and fit. If necessary, he shaves tiny bits off the veneers to make the perfect fit. Once both you and Dr. Greenhalgh are satisfied, the veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth and you’re finished.
Is it painful to have porcelain veneers placed?
Prior to shaving off the necessary tooth enamel to make room for your veneers, Dr. Greenhalgh provides local anesthetic. Some patients don’t feel the need for this, however. The cementing process is painless. After placement, you will have some increased sensitivity to hot and cold due to the removal of the small portion of your enamel. This passes within a few days after your veneers are placed.
How long will my veneers last?
Porcelain veneers are very durable, and you’ll love your smile for anywhere from 7-20 years. While this range seems unreasonably unspecific, the life of a veneer is dictated by the health of the tooth it is placed upon. If you keep your teeth in great shape, your veneers will last accordingly.
You do need to remember that having veneers is not a reversible process. Once we shave off a portion of your enamel, that enamel is gone for good. Your teeth will forevermore need to be covered with veneers (or a crown) to protect them. When your veneers reach their lifespan, you simply have another set placed.
How do I take care of my veneers?
Normal brushing (with non-abrasive toothpaste) and flossing are all that is required for maintenance of your veneers. You should use common sense with foods, not opening pistachios with your teeth or chewing bones or candy apples. Otherwise, just about all foods are fine.
What are the pros and cons of getting porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are an incredible way to change your smile. There are tons of pros to placing veneers on your teeth, but there are a couple of things to consider, as well.
- Porcelain veneers have a similar translucence and reflect light in a very similar way to natural tooth enamel, so they look completely natural.
- Porcelain veneers are highly resistant to staining, so they continue to look great for years and years.
- They can correct chips, cracks, pit marks, and other tooth imperfections.
- They can cover crooked teeth.
- They can fix gaps between teeth.
- They can make misshapen teeth look perfect.
- They can cover deeply stained teeth.
- They can give the patient a perfect, bright white smile.
- A perfect smile with veneers can give a person a real boost in self-confidence.
Caring For Your Smiles With Veneers
Once your veneers are bonded to your teeth, you’ll be able to clean them normally. When you see how good they look, you’ll want to take care of them! With a good dental routine, you can enjoy a fantastic smile for a long time.
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Make an Appointment for Great-Looking Teeth
When you come in for a veneers consultation, we’ll give you a quick exam to make sure that your teeth are right for veneers. Then, we can prepare your teeth, so we can bond the veneers to them.