When Veneers were invented by a dentist in California, their main use was for temporarily changing the appearance of an actor’s teeth for the film industry. Since they were held on by denture adhesive, they fell off after a short while, but it was discovered – thanks to some research that was started in 1982 – that composite resins could be used to bond porcelain veneers to a tooth forever.
Present-day veneers can last for up to thirty years.
For cosmetic dentists, veneers are important tools; a single veneer can restore a damaged or discolored tooth, or a patient’s entire smile to give them a look straight out of Hollywood. Veneers can give teeth a uniform look, fill in spaces and restore color lost by age and lifestyle choices.
Unfortunately, these are often overused in situations where they are not needed. Be sure to thoroughly consult with your dentist – there may be another, permanent and cheaper fix for your tooth problems.
Alternatives to Veneers
Today, there are many alternatives to veneers, including crowns, composite resin bonding, cosmetic contouring or orthodontics. Veneers that aren’t permanent can also be obtained – they’re moulded to your teeth and are made from resin instead of porcelain. They can be removed and re-used!
How Are Veneers Applied?
When you first visit your dentist, they may give you a local anesthetic before they remove a portion of the enamel from your teeth. This is done to ensure that there’s enough room for the veneers. The dentist will then make an impression of your teeth, which is sent to the dental lab so the veneers can be made. When they are finished, they are sent to your dentist.
In another visit, a mild chemical is applied to the teeth to roughen them up – this way, the veneers will stick to the teeth without any extra steps. Once that step is complete, the veneers are attached to each tooth using a resin cement.
How Do Veneers Handle Stains?
They don’t. That is, they resist stains and discoloration. Since porcelain is rather glass-like, it doesn’t stain.
The Care and Feeding of Veneers
Like your teeth themselves, your veneers will require proper cleaning on a regular basis. Brush with a non-abrasive toothpaste and floss regularly. Try to avoid biting your nails or other hard objects, and avoid impacts (if at all possible). Even though the veneer itself will not stain, the cement holding it will, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the edges of your teeth.
Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth, too. If you do this while sleeping, talk with your dentist to see what preventative measures can be taken.
Problems With Veneers
It is possible for veneers to break or otherwise come off, and if that happens, the dentist will have to create a new veneer for you (though, if it just fell off and is in decent shape, the veneer can simply be bonded back into place).
Veneers can’t be placed on teeth that are decayed or involved with gum disease, so you will have to get those conditions treated before you can have a veneer put into place. They will not strengthen your teeth, either, and teeth that have lost most of their structure should probably have a crown placed on them instead.