One of the most rewarding treatments we provide as dentists is when we correct a person’s front teeth to give them a beautiful smile. The results are more than just about looks—giving someone a bright, pleasing smile can have dramatic efforts on their self-confidence and personal and professional life.
There are many treatments we may use to achiever a better smile, including tooth whitening, minor orthodontics (straightening), aesthetic recontouring (smoothing the teeth), gingival recontouring, microabrasion, and cosmetic bonding with white filling material. But the most predictable and dramatic results are when we bond custom-made porcelain facings to the teeth, called veneers.
Why are veneers so much more predictable?
With veneers, we are custom-making the shape, size, colour, and position of each tooth in the laboratory, so we have control over what the final result will look like.
How will I know what my result will look like?
In many cases, the dentist will take models of your existing smile and have the laboratory technician, called a ceramist, build up what the final result will look like in wax. In some cases we will also build up a temporary plastic version of the possible result, which you can snap onto your teeth in the clinic. As well, we will sometimes take a digital or scanned photograph and enhance it on the computer to demonstrate what is possible. It really depends on the case and what we are correcting.
What are the veneers made out of?
For most cases, dentists in the group are using IPS Empress, a pressed porcelain system. This material is strong and easy to work with, but still has the translucency of natural teeth.
What is the procedure?
A small amount of the tooth is smoothed off on the outside—we may or may not use a small amount of freezing depending on how much has to be removed. Then we take a very accurate model of the smoothed teeth using a rubber-like material. Depending on the amount of tooth removed, we may make temporary covers to protect your teeth for the week or so it takes the ceramist to construct the veneers.
When you return, the veneers are tried in and any minor adjustments made. Then the veneers and the teeth are treated with special chemicals and the veneers are bonded to the tooth surface.
How long do porcelain veneers last?
Once they are bonded onto the teeth, veneers are very strong. Unless the person has an unusual bite or habits, modern veneers should last over ten years and may last much longer. The things we see causing early failure—accidentally biting a fork, for example—would probably have broken a natural tooth anyway. Minor chips in modern veneers can be repaired easily just like a tooth.
How many teeth do I need to treat?
Every case is different. Cases range from treating just the two upper front teeth, to treating the front ten teeth top and bottom. And in many cases we will veneer some teeth, and use other treatments on other teeth in the same case. Again, this is something to discuss with the dentist.
Aesthetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers, are only done after careful planning and consultation. Talk to one of our dentists and discuss what treatment might be right for you. As always, we are committed to providing you with the best care available, and that includes giving you a beautiful smile.