Saturday, February 9, 2013

Understanding What Is Involved in Dental Veneers

Whether it is due to aging, accidents or simply poor oral hygiene, our teeth are always subject to damage. Often we get chipped, broken or worn down teeth due to years of grinding or chewing or we get discolored teeth from taking certain medications, drinking certain beverages and generally because age is creeping up on us. Whatever the reason, we can certainly change the way they look and how they are shaped with something called dental veneers.

Who doesn't want to bring back their formerly glorious smiles? When we begin to feel insecure about the way we smile, it shows in the way we conduct ourselves publicly, often refusing to smile for pictures or to smile at people when we first meet them because we are ashamed of the way our teeth look. Somehow, we feel that it may be misconstrued as a reflection of who we really are and the last thing we want anybody to think of us is as a slob.

So this is why we thank enterprising and innovative souls for coming up with dental veneers, which are custom-made shells of tooth-colored material designed to cover the front surface of the teeth to change their color, size, shape and length. They are wafer-thin so they are hardly noticeable when we smile, since they are also designed to closely mimic our real teeth's light-reflecting properties. They used to be made only from resin composite materials but these days, they are also made from porcelain, which is infinitely preferable for a lot of reasons.

For one, they resist stains better than resin composite materials and provide a more natural-looking appearance for your teeth, in addition to being more tolerated by gum tissues. You also have the option of selecting the color of your porcelain veneers so that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

As with any medical or dental procedure, you will need to have a dentist confirm your qualification for the procedure and should you be found fit for it, there are things that you need to know and understand before getting the procedure done. First, it will require three visits to the dentist's office - the first one for consultation, wherein you get to explain to your dentist exactly the kind of look you want to achieve. The dentist will then give your mouth a thorough examination to determine what type of veneers are best for you, by taking x-rays and making impressions of your mouth and teeth.

The second and third visits are mostly to make and apply the veneers. As preparation, the dentist will remove about ½ millimeter of enamel from your tooth's surface using a local anesthetic. Next, the dentist will make an impression of your tooth which will then be sent to the dental laboratory that will make your veneers and this process usually takes 1-2 weeks. If you happen to have very unsightly teeth, temporary veneers may be put in place but it may cost you extra.

After the dentist receives your veneers from the dental laboratory, he or she will fit it on your tooth to check the color and fit before it is permanently cemented on your tooth. The dentist will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer until you and he are satisfied that it fits well over your tooth and that it matches the rest of your teeth. Next, your tooth will be cleaned, polished and etched to strengthen it for the bonding process then special cement is applied to the veneer and placed over your tooth. Once your tooth is in place, a light will be shone on the cement to activate the chemicals within so that it hardens very quickly.

Once this is done, the final steps will involve having any excess cement removed and checking your bite and making any necessary final adjustments. You will then be scheduled for a follow-up visit so the dentist can check how the veneer is doing, how well your gums are responding to it and its placement.

Remember that just like your regular teeth, veneers need to be taken care of very well via regular brushing and flossing and to prevent them from discoloring, your dentist may also ask you to avoid teeth-staining drinks like coffee, tea, chocolate, red wine, etc. With proper care they should last about 5 to 10 years, at which time you need to have them replaced. The cost for getting veneers varies from country to country but the ballpark figure is around $500 to $1,500 per tooth. They are not usually covered by insurance so you will need to check with your insurance company if they cover it or not.

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