Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental procedure that improves the appearance of the gums or teeth. The procedures are not necessarily done to improve on the functionality of teeth. It primarily focuses on improvement in dental aesthetics in shape, color, alignment, size, position, and overall smile appearance. Dental porcelain veneers are a great solution to help you attain the look you desire. The procedure is mostly applied to those with teeth gaps, crooked teeth, or teeth shape flaws. Although placing porcelain veneers on the teeth is an aesthetic procedure, it still requires the expertise of a qualified cosmetic dentist, as is it a serious dental procedure. You should contact us at Washington Dental, and we will provide primary preventative care and specialized dental procedures. We have local offices in Lomita, Carson, and downtown LA.

What are Dental Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers, also known as dental porcelain laminates, are very thin, customized shells designed to mimic the color and shape of teeth. The materials designed are meant to conceal the front and outer exterior of teeth to enhance your smile. The shells are securely joined to the frontal and outer surface of the teeth altering their shape, length, color, or size.

Porcelain is a fragile cosmetic material that can be shaped to resemble a natural tooth making it the most commonly used cosmetic dental procedure in dentistry. Furthermore, porcelain veneers are long-lasting and can last for 7 to 15 years if you continuously maintain your oral hygiene.

Dental Complications Fixed by Porcelain Veneers

  • Teeth discolored or stained either due to use of drugs, excessive application of fluoride, or massive resin fillings causing discoloration of the tooth
  • Worn down teeth because of health conditions, injuries, or regular teeth functions like grinding and clenching.
  • Broken or chipped teeth caused by pressure from grinding, biting hard foods, or injuries.
  • Misaligned or unevenly shaped teeth which cause pain in the jaw and can lead to problems with chewing and speech.
  • Closes the gaps between teeth. If the teeth are too small for the jaw bone, spaces between the teeth will occur.

Dental Veneers Process

The two common types of aesthetic veneers are full and partial. Partial veneers are usually applied in circumstances where the teeth defect is minimal while full veneers procedure is performed when the dental defect covers a significant part of the tooth surface.

Your first dentist’s appointment will involve discussions, diagnosis, and deciding on the best treatment plan. It is your opportunity to describe the look you wish to achieve and discuss your payment and treatment options. Your dentist will first perform an examination of your teeth to make sure that you are a good candidate for the dental procedure. The process, in most cases, may involve producing negative imprint of your teeth and doing x-ray tests.

Preparing your tooth for a dental veneer involves the removal of about 11/2mm of your tooth’s enamel from the surface. An impression or a model of your tooth is then created and taken to a laboratory. The veneer to be bonded on your teeth will be crafted for some weeks and later on delivered to your dentist. As you wait for the veneer to be ready, you have the option of requesting a temporary veneer to be placed over the defect.

The initial step involves trimming the defective tooth to remove the decayed tooth so it can be ready for bonding. Trimming is also done to align the layer of the tooth enamel so that the porcelain veneer can be correctly placed. In most cases, a veneer is only bonded to a filling if the tooth filling procedure was done less than a fortnight before the bonding process. This means it is better to acquire a filling before the cosmetic dental veneer procedure.

Your dentist will select the appropriate color of the material by clearly examining the color of the surrounding teeth. For the dental veneer to be extremely similar to the rest of the teeth, your dental care professional will also coat or whiten the visible teeth.

When the dental care professional has trimmed your tooth and cleansed the surrounding defect area, he or she will then create an impression of your tooth together with the neighboring teeth and gums. The effect creates a negative representation of your jaw, which assists in finding out how to go forward with veneering. For the impression to be created, a thick substance is applied onto the teeth, and you can press your teeth on a stock or special tray, which will set and harden creating a solid rubber mass. Your dentist may also take an image of the teeth.

After the veneer is prepared, your dentist will place it in the affected area to verify if it fits properly to avoid problems that may arise from the complications. The veneer will be placed in your mouth, separated, and the rough edges will be cut to get a perfect fit. You will be requested to perform regular teeth functions such as biting or grinding, or opening and closing your mouth to determine if it will cause some discomfort once it is permanently placed. If you feel any discomfort or pain, you should inform your dentist about it immediately.

Once all the necessary preparation for the procedure is done, including the shape, shade, and the aesthetics of the porcelain veneer, your dentist will then bond it to your tooth. The outer layer of both your tooth and the veneer will be refined before the bonding process.

A gel of acid will then be applied onto the outer exterior of the tooth for a period of 20 seconds. The process is known as etching, and it involves the creation of a rough surface so it can better hold onto prosthetic, which means the veneer can bond to the tooth. After it roughens the surface, the acid gel is rinsed, and an agent is set on the porcelain veneer to strengthen the bond. A color similar to the rest of your teeth is then applied to the inside of the veneer. Light is passed over the veneer to complete the bonding process. After the procedure, the dental care professional will then floss and clean the teeth.

Advantages of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are way better than composite resin veneers in terms of durability as it is a stronger material even though some improvements have been made to the composite resin. A well-maintained porcelain veneer can last for a period of ten to fifteen years, while the lifespan of a composite veneer ranges between 5 to 7 years.

Porcelain veneers are widely used as it offers the most natural, teeth-like aesthetics. They have a translucent attribute that is quite similar to the tooth enamel. Porcelain is also extremely resistant to chipping and staining because of the material strength and the application of glaze after treatment. Composite veneers are porous and are not resistant to staining, meaning you might have to change your diet to avoid stains. Composite veneer also needs to be regularly polished to attain a tooth-like aesthetic.

The procedure involves the placement of a temporary veneer while you await the permanent one to be molded. However, most dental care professionals use the on-site manufacture procedure allowing for a one-time placement of the veneer. While searching for a porcelain veneer solution, it is essential to evaluate the kind of modern technologies that your dentist uses for dental procedures, and you might drastically reduce the overall treatment time. Porcelain veneers offer an executable treatment method for all cases of uneven teeth, wear and tear, worn enamel, or genetic defects. For instance, porcelain veneer procedures may also get rid of visible discoloration and remove gaps between teeth. Your dentist will conduct a complete oral health evaluation during your consultation to go through your options.

Composite resin veneers as an Alternative to Porcelain Veneers

Composite resin veneers are made from a filling material similar to a tooth’s color bonded to the tooth. Composite veneers are a traditional alternative to porcelain and are made from translucent resin that is carefully sculpted and hardened by your dentist in a single appointment.

Composite Resin Veneers Dental Process

Direct composite veneers, also known as composite bonding, are sculpted on your teeth rather than sent to a laboratory.

The tooth-shaded resin is directly applied to the teeth, where it can be sculpted and shaped the dental care professional. The shaped resin is then hardened using a high-intensity blue light, which leaves room for more resin to be applied and sculpted onto the teeth to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome.

Once the procedure is completed, the resin is polished to mimic a more natural, tooth-like appearance. The composite procedure, therefore, tends to be much less invasive and noticeably quicker than porcelain.

Advantages of Composite Veneers

Compared to porcelain dental veneers, composite resins are less expensive and can even be half the price of porcelain. As most dental procedures are not covered by insurance, you may need to pay the dental fees by yourself, making the composite resin procedure the best option for those who cannot afford porcelain.

Another advantage of composite veneers is the fact that composites can typically be fabricated while you wait, and the treatment is done immediately.

As the composite veneer procedure is not as invasive as porcelain, this means the composite resin procedure can be easily reversed. Porcelain requires the tooth trimming procedure to reshape your natural teeth so they can properly fit the veneer. Composite veneers require minimal preparation, and tooth trimming is not necessary, meaning the resin material placed can still be removed and replaced with another. Composite veneer dental procedures require less removal of the tooth enamel compared to other cosmetic dental procedures such as dental crowns or porcelain veneer.

What to Consider Before a Dental Veneer Procedure

For you to be a fit candidate for a dental veneer procedure, your gums and teeth should be healthy. Your dentist can tend to any decay or disease before the placement of the veneers.

Veneers are not an excellent dental cosmetic selection for patients who grind or clench their teeth because the veneers may break or chip, especially for composite veneers. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dental care professional may propose you put on a dental mouth guard while sleeping.

Although your dentist gets rid of as little tooth enamel as possible for veneers, especially in composite resin procedures, the process can't be reversed once the enamel is removed.

As veneers may become loose with time, you may need to replace them after the completion of their average lifespan.

It is essential to discuss all your treatment options and expectations with your dentist before making the decision of which veneer is best for you.

What to Expect After Getting Veneers

Veneers can break or chip under pressure. So you should avoid chewing on hard foods, such as sugar cane or ice. Be aware that there is a risk of increased sensitivity to cold or hot drinks and foods after veneers are put in place. Also, your gums might be sore as they adjust as well.

It may take you several days to get used to the texture of your veneers. But you should inform your dentist if you are feeling uncomfortable or some pain while biting after the placement of the veneers.

Keep your gums and teeth clean by regularly flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash, and brushing every day as you can still get cavities around and under veneers. Although dental veneers do not require any special care, you should continue to follow good oral hygiene practices. Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may still recommend that you avoid stain-causing beverages and foods.

What are the disadvantages of dental veneers?

While veneers offer an approach to changing a tooth's shape and color, they generally don't need to be extensively shaped before the operation as crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

Despite offering all these benefits, there are still downsides to dental veneers:

  • The veneers can be removed, but the process is not reversible as the tooth sometimes need to be reshaped.
  • Veneers are very expensive compared to composite resin bonding.
  • They are usually not repairable should they crack or chip.
  • Removal of the enamel causes your teeth to become more sensitive to cold and hot beverages and foods.
  • Veneers may not be entirely similar to the color of the surrounding teeth. Also, the color of the veneer can't be altered after placement. You can only whiten or bleach your teeth before undergoing the dental veneer procedure.
  • Although it is highly unlikely, veneers can, at times, fall off or become loose. You can prevent this from happening by avoiding hard foods or putting excessive pressure on the veneer.
  • Teeth with veneers may still experience decay, and if it becomes severe, you may need to undergo more invasive procedures such as dental crowns.
  • A veneer is not an appropriate procedure for an individual with unhealthy teeth or gums. You may first need to undergo treatment of the gums or dental fillings before the placement of veneers to avoid further complications. It is also not recommended for those who have an insufficient portion of existing enamel on the tooth exterior.
  • Individuals who grind or clench their teeth are not good candidates for porcelain veneers, as it may result in cracking or chipping of the veneers.

Other Types of Cosmetic Dental Procedures

There are various choices for cosmetic dental procedures that can help improve your smile. There is no doubt that cosmetic dentistry is on the rise as dentists can transform peoples' teeth to give them a smile they desire. Your dentist will be able to help you determine the best treatment option by demonstrating their outcomes. The following are the cosmetic dental procedures currently used:

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

The procedure is also known as teeth bleaching and is performed to get rid of stains and discoloration by whitening and brightening your teeth. This is a standard cosmetic dental procedure because it can significantly improve how your teeth look. Whitening is not a one-time procedure as it needs to be repeated from time to time to maintain a brighter color.  

There are two common types of whitening procedures. Vital whitening is only performed on teeth with live nerves. Non-vital whitening is done on teeth that have undergone root canal treatment and no longer has a live nerve.

The most popular type of vital tooth whitening involves the application of a gel, which contains hydrogen peroxide, directly to the tooth surface. The teeth whitening procedure can be done either at home or at a dentist's office. A dentist may apply a more powerful gel or also use a laser or a specialized light to activate the gel and allow a faster bleaching process.

The vital tooth whitening agent can't get rid of stains coming from the inside of the teeth. To get rid of such blemishes, your dentist will have to use the non-vital whitening procedure. Your dentist will also apply a whitening agent inside the teeth and put a temporary filling over them. The whitening agent and the mixtures will then be removed after a few days. You may undergo this procedure only once or do it regularly until you get the results you desire.

Cosmetic Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth root placed on your jaw to hold bridges or replacement teeth. It is mostly an option for individuals who have lost their teeth as a result of periodontal disease or injury. The implants provide strong foundations for either permanent or removable replacement teeth that appear similar to natural teeth. Dental implants have replaced previously used methods such as bridgework as they eliminate the need for granting.

The following are the two types of dental implants applicable in the modern world.

The endosteal dental implant procedure involves the placement of small titanium screws, blades, or cylinders that are gently placed in the jaw to provide a foundation for fixating teeth or stabilize a denture. One or more teeth support each implant.

A subperiosteal dental implant involves placing the implant on the jaw and metal posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. This type of dental implant is suitable for individuals with minimal bone height and those who put on conventional dentures.

Cosmetic Dental Crowns

A crown encases the entire tooth and can be made of porcelain, metal, or a mixture of both. It is normally around double the thickness of a veneer, making it more resistant and durable to cracking compared to a veneer. Crowns are typically needed when the teeth are badly cracked or broken, or after a root canal treatment. The crown is used to keep the tooth intact and protect it from any further damage that might lead to extraction.

Cosmetic Teeth Reshaping

They are also known as enamel shaping. The dentist can reshape the tooth by removing or filing part of the enamel. This process is not painful and can produce immediate effects. Teeth reshaping is one of the most cost-effective, convenient options for fixing poorly aligned teeth, or chipped teeth. The procedure is usually done to correct overlapping teeth, chipped teeth, or crooked teeth. This procedure can be applied to avoid the use of braces.

Cosmetic Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding is the application of a tooth-colored resin material using adhesives and a high-intensity curing light. The procedure gets its name because materials are bonded to the tooth. Bonding is typically used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of discolored or chipped teeth. Unlike veneers, which are designed in a laboratory and require a customized sculpture to achieve a proper fit, bonding can be done in a single visit.

Cosmetic Orthodontic Treatment

Although orthodontics is mostly applicable to kids, adults may also seek treatment for cosmetic purposes. Orthodontic treatment straightens the teeth or moves them into a better position. This can improve their visual aspect and the way the teeth function, while cleaning becomes effortless. When the teeth are improperly aligned, muscles of the jaw will strain, causing joint and jaw problems and even headaches. Orthodontic treatment can help you reduce the pressure and bite more evenly.

Contact a Dentist Near Me

A smile makeover improves the appearance of your smile through cosmetic porcelain veneer dental procedure. Although cosmetic dental procedures are non-essential in improving your oral health, still, they can offer a wide range of benefits, including making regular cleaning more comfortable and improving your confidence and your smile. You can obtain these services from a well trained and experienced team of dentists from Washington Dental. We have local offices in Lomita, Carson, and downtown LA. Contact us today!

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