A porcelain veneer is a thin porcelain shell that fits over a tooth. Porcelain is a material that naturally looks like tooth enamel and can be used to reshape:
· Discolored or stained teeth
· Chipped, cracked or pitted teeth
· Unevenly shaped or sized teeth
· Teeth that have been ground down or damaged
· Gapped teeth
Because porcelain veneers resist staining, they can give you a whiter smile.
Finding a good cosmetic dentist
The lifetime of a porcelain veneer
A porcelain veneer, fitted by an experienced cosmetic dentist, can last over ten years if treated properly. Porcelain veneers are bonded to teeth after the enamel is stripped and the teeth are reshaped. The veneers are applied to the surface of teeth using a glue-like substance called a resin cement. The bond between the veneer and the porcelain is very strong and so a veneers not in any danger of pulling off. However, it’s not indestructible and, like tooth enamel, can be chipped.
Though the veneer itself is not susceptible to decay, any part of the tooth that’s uncovered can be a risk for decay, so it’s important to practice good dental hygiene. Additionally, the cement layer that’s exposed at the edge of a veneer can become stained.
Habits to increase the lifetime of a porcelain veneer
Certain at-home habits can extend the lifetime of porcelain veneers.
· Do brush and floss regular<br>
· Do avoid heavy alcohol consumption, since alcohol can dissolve the bonding material that bonds the veneer to your tooth<br>
· Do use a less abrasive toothpaste (ask your dentist to recommend one) <br>
· Do avoid biting on hard objects <br>
· Do avoid grinding your teeth (your dentist can provide a customized nightguard) <br>
· Do avoid habits that can increase risk for tooth decay, like frequent snacking<br>
· Do avoid foods or drinks that can stain the cement edges of a veneer (e.g., such as coffee, red wine, tea, etc) <br>
· Do void drinks that contain phosphoric acid or citric acids that can damage teeth<br>
· Do wear a mouthguard if you play a contact sport<br>
The importance of gum health
Receding gums can be an issue for those with porcelain veneers because the portion of the tooth that becomes visible will look different from the portion of the tooth covered with the veneer. A new veneer may be required.
To maintain proper gum health:
· Brush and floss regularly<br>
· Use non-alcohol based mouth washes<br>
· Avoid snacking<br>
· Quit smoking since nicotine can damage gum health by reducing blood supply to the gums<br>
· Visit your dentist regularly<br>
What your dental hygienist should know
Caring for your porcelain veneers through regular maintenance visits to your dentist can make them last longer. Do alert your dental hygienist that you have veneers because certain maintenance treatments should be avoided.
· The use of power polishing equipment<br>
· The use of pumice polish<br>
· The use of ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque<br>
Additionally, if you have fluoride treatments, your dental health care provider should only use neutral fluoride rather than acidulated fluoride.
Ask your cosmetic dentist how many maintenance visits he or she recommends to prolong the life of your veneers and to optimize your oral health.