A: Veneers are a very thin layer of porcelain that we bond to the outside tooth surface that makes up your smile. It helps change the color and the shape of your teeth. So, if you have worn down teeth due to age or some other condition, we can get you back to a normal, beautiful smile. By changing the shape or color to a permanent white color we make your teeth look healthy again.
Not every smile that needs correction is due to missing or decaying teeth. Sometimes, it’s a surface-level cosmetic issue that bothers us. Our teeth are fully functional and healthy, they just may have some staining or some shape issues. You may even have a few teeth that are slightly out of alignment and not nice and straight.
What if the issues you have can’t be resolved with tooth whitening, and aren’t severe enough for orthodontics? What options do you have for minor issues like these? The answer is dental veneers from Dr. Nahlah.
The Fix For Minor Issues
Now, patients that come in for a veneer, aren’t coming in with major dental issues that require dental surgery. They are coming in for those minor cosmetic issues such as deep tooth stains that are below the enamel. The issues they come in for are major to them in terms of self-image, but in the realm of dentistry—minor.
However, everyone wants that healthy, bright smile with teeth that are perfectly shaped and aligned properly. The reality is, very few people have that by nature—and that’s where a veneer can deliver a huge transformation.
It’s important to keep in mind that this solution only masks minor imperfections. Any issue that impedes oral health such as decay, a cracked tooth, or major misalignments will require more complex procedures. Some of the minor cosmetic problems that make patients seek the use of veneers are:
- Minor tooth misalignment
- Gaps or uneven spaces between teeth
- Slightly misshapen teeth
- Permanently stained teeth
- Minor size abnormalities with other teeth (mismatched front teeth etc)
These issues along with others are not detrimental to oral health and aren’t prone to lead to worsening conditions. The only impact they have is one’s self-image and confidence—which can be just as traumatic for some.
But, there is nothing to worry about because you can restore your self-image with dental veneers just like thousands of others have. Veneers are one of the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry, ranking up there with dental implants. However, many people don’t know what dental veneers are, how they work, or what they can do.
All You Need To Know About Dental Veneers
When you think of veneers, don’t overthink what they are. They are basically a concealer for your teeth. They hide abnormalities in shape, color, and size to give the appearance of perfectly colored and shaped teeth.
Veneers are fairly universal in their makeup, as most are made of one of two materials—porcelain or composite. Dr. Nahlah can help you determine which material you think is right for your situation.
Porcelain Dental Veneers
Porcelain is going to be the go-to material for those that want the most natural color and most durability. That’s just a couple of the reasons why patients request porcelain for their dental veneers in DC. The other benefits are:
- They last a long time with proper oral care.
- Feel as natural as they look.
- They don’t require as much enamel removal as crowns or caps.
- Are more resistant to staining.
- Dr. Nahlah must first remove a thin layer of enamel from the face of your tooth and a bit off the sides. This allows for a flush fitment of the veneers so they look just like your normal teeth giving you a natural appearance.
- Then, we need to get impressions of your teeth and choose the best color for your veneers to keep your smile a natural white. You don’t want to go too white or it looks cartoonish and fake.
- The impression is used by our lab to create the dental veneers customized to fit over your teeth with precision. This process can take several days, so we provide you with temporary veneers to protect your teeth in the meantime.
- On the final visit, Dr. Nahlah places the veneers on your teeth and makes sure the fit is right. Sometimes some minor adjustments are needed and made on the spot. Your teeth are then cleaned thoroughly and given a fine grit texture. This helps ensure a strong bond with the veneer cement so they don’t come off. Veneers, while being extremely reliable, may need replacement in 10-15 years, are considered a permanent solution.
Composite veneers are going to cost less as they are made from a resin that is colored like your teeth. This is often a choice patients go for when limited by their budget, but they also offer some other advantages:
- They don’t require as much enamel to be removed as porcelain dental veneers do.
- In most cases, composite veneers only need one appointment to be completed.
- Composites cost a lot less than porcelain, yet they look similar and are easier to repair than porcelain even though they aren’t quite as durable.
- Although not as strong or durable as porcelain, composite veneers are quite easy to repair compared to porcelain.
- Prep is the same as porcelain just with less enamel removed.
- Composite veneers are a direct, paint-on procedure. After the prep, the material is brushed onto your teeth, shaped, colored, and cured with UV light to bond.
- After curing, the dental veneers are buffed smooth and polished to give them a natural appearance.
What You Should Know Before Getting The Procedure
Although veneers are a common procedure there are some important things you need to be aware of before you commit. Being fully informed of veneers, the process, and the precautions will help ensure your process is routine and without issue.
- Healthy gums and teeth are a pre-requisite to get dental veneers. If there is any sign of gum disease or decay in the initial visit, you must correct those issues first.
- For those that grind or clench their teeth habitually, veneers aren’t always a good option. Veneers are very thin, and although they are durable under normal wear—teeth grinding and clenching are different. That is a lot of intense pressure and the veneers can chip or break completely. You might still be able to get veneers but you’ll need to wear a dental guard when you sleep to protect your investment.
- Once you commit to veneers and begin the process, it is not reversible. Once you’ve passed the stage of removing the enamel off your teeth—there’s no going back. Enamel does not regrow, so canceling the procedure that late in the game is not advised. It will leave your teeth vulnerable without that enamel. This is why you need to make sure you are really ready for veneers before committing.
- Veneers can come loose over time. Most veneers with proper care, last on average up to 10-15 years. However, with a lack of proper care, that estimate drops drastically. What do we mean by proper care? See below.
Once your veneers are applied there are some key aftercare tips you are responsible for. Following these tips will give you the most life out of your veneers and avoid problems.
Veneers do wear down like any other dental device or materials would under normal usage. However, if you follow these tips you will see the maximum benefit from your veneers:
- Do not chew on hard candy, fingernails, pen caps, or other hard objects. Veneers, even though they’re very durable can indeed break or chip. The damage you do to your veneers is a liability that falls on you as well as the cost to repair.
- You may need some time to adjust to your veneer to get used to the feel of it. Of course, veneers are going to feel weird at first, but after several days you will forget they are even there. Now, if you feel they are not aligned properly while in the chair let the dentist know right away. Once they bond them, that’s it. Dr. Nahlah does not rush patients and will make sure you feel ok about placement before bonding. Any adjustments to alignment can be made immediately if they’ve not been bonded yet.
- As with any dental procedure, dental care and oral health are completely up to you. If you do not maintain a healthy dental care regimen you can undo a lot of work. Cavities can develop beneath the veneer or around it. If it has to be removed to get to a cavity behind, the cost falls on you. Always use toothpaste, floss, and a good mouthwash such as Closys, to eradicate any bacteria.
Want To See If Dental Veneers Are Right For You?
If you’ve been seeking major improvement to a minor cosmetic problem with your smile, contact us today to see if a dental veneer is the right solution for you. Dr. Nahlah takes his time with each patient to make sure all your questions are covered.