This cosmetic dental procedure can help to restore discoloured, chipped and cracked teeth
Beyond wanting to have a healthy and trouble free set of teeth, many patients who attend our Canterbury dental practice would probably wish to have the best looking teeth possible too.
Although we can all help to prevent some cosmetic issues associated with our teeth at home, sometimes, only professional care can restore their appearance to the level that is desired.
In today’s Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic blog, we are going to look at one of the more common treatments that is used to restore teeth that have suffered from years of wear and tear, or have suffered from severe discolouration, perhaps from long term smoking.
A word about teeth whitening
Before we look at veneers, it is worth mentioning that, as far as discolouration goes, the first option should always be to investigate whether a teeth whitening procedure is possible. This is a non invasive procedure that can help to restore your teeth to a whiter colour. However this treatment is less effective where any discolouration is heavy and where there are physical deficiencies such as with chipped or cracked teeth.
What do dental veneers do?
As with many cosmetic restorations, dental veneers replace a damaged or discoloured part of the natural tooth. In this case, they are used as a replacement for the front surfaces of the visible teeth that are seen when we smile. By replacing the affected enamel of the teeth, they provide a realistic and even set of teeth that anyone would be proud off.
Dental veneers are very thin layers of porcelain that are shaped to fit the natural tooth. They are not an ‘off the shelf’ product though, and are individually made for each patient. This not only ensures an exact fit, but provides a natural look too.
In order to produce the individual veneers, we first of all need to see you for a consultation to examine your teeth and explain the procedure in full. Once you have decided to go ahead with the treatment, we can start the procedure that will greatly improve the quality of your smile.
Veneers are not ‘stuck on top’ of the current enamel. Instead, a very fine layer of equivalent thickness first has to be removed from the tooth surface. This is done using a tool called a dental burr. Although only a fine layer is removed, we will provide a local anaesthetic as the procedure would be quite uncomfortable without it. Once the enamel has been removed, we will then take a set of impressions of your teeth, from which your new veneers will be produced. This is done in our dental laboratory and we will provide you with temporary veneers whilst these are produced; a period of usually a week or so.
When your new final veneers are ready, you will be recalled to our Canterbury dental clinic, where the temporary veneers will be removed, and the new ones attached using a suitable adhesive. Finally, your veneers, will be trimmed and polished to give them a completely natural appearance. With good care, your new veneers should last you in the region of ten years, although this does vary from person to person and can be affected by a number of lifestyle factors.
Porcelain veneers are strong and natural looking but still require some aftercare. The most important thing to remember is that whilst the porcelain can’t decay, your veneers are attached to the natural tooth, which can. If decay sets in, this can weaken the hold that it has on the veneer and could cause it to become detached. It is essential that you continue to brush all of your teeth well, and use floss, including those that have veneers attached. It is also worth mentioning that whilst porcelain is largely non porous, certain substances may stain their surface if not cleaned regularly.
Over time, the adhesive used to attach the veneers may weaken a little, and, although small, there is a risk that the veneers may become detached if used improperly. You should avoid things like biting your fingernails (or other hard objects) or attempting to open packets with your teeth.
In the rare event that a veneer does become detached, under no circumstances should you attempt to reattach it yourself, especially using a general household adhesive. These can be very corrosive and harmful to both veneer and the natural tooth. In the rare event that this does happen, please contact us straight away and we will reattach the veneer for you.
If your smile is not what it used to be and you would like to find out how we can help you to restore it, why not arrange to have a consultation with one of our Canterbury based team? You can call Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic on 01227 463529. Our friendly staff will be delighted to assist!