When it comes to enhancing a patient's smile, a cosmetic dentist may utilize a variety of treatment options to achieve the desired look. One of the most commonly used procedures in cosmetic dentistry is applying veneers to teeth that are permanently discolored, irregularly sized or shaped, or unevenly spaced in the mouth. While this technique works well for most patients who choose to utilize it, dental veneers are considered a permanent procedure. The preparation process requires irreversible changes to the surfaces of the affected teeth. As a result, the patient must commit to wearing veneers for life.
Before a cosmetic dentist can apply veneers, all affected teeth must go through a detailed readiness procedure. This helps ensure a secure, comfortable, and natural-looking fit.
Patients who wish to achieve a more beautiful smile with dental veneers must first undergo evaluation. Unsightly teeth can sometimes be caused by extreme deterioration or decay. However, veneers must be attached to teeth that are otherwise healthy and strong. A physical exam and X-rays may be performed to determine whether or not a patient is a good candidate for the procedure.
To prepare for the application, the dentist will use a powered grinding tool to gently remove the outer layer of each tooth receiving a veneer. Typically, about half a millimeter of enamel surface and tooth structure is removed. Tooth enamel cannot be regenerated or regrown over time. Once it is worn away or removed, it is gone forever. Following the completion of this grinding process, there is enough space to accommodate the veneers when they are cemented in place.
After the teeth are prepped, impressions are taken and sent to a lab where the veneers are created, usually from ceramic or porcelain. Once the coverings are ready, teeth are treated a second time to ensure a rough surface for improved adhesion. The coverings are permanently attached, and the veneers are shaped and polished for a finished look and comfortable feel.
While dental veneers do require commitment, the process results in a very natural look for a more beautiful smile. Many patients find the treatment process to be less invasive than other alternatives. Veneers are also incredibly durable. Patients who maintain good oral health and stick to regular dental checkups can enjoy the results for 15 to 20 years. When replacement is necessary, the reapplication process is much simpler and faster with the majority of the prep work already complete.
The veneer preparation and application process requires permanent changes to the surface of the tooth. As a result, the affected teeth will require veneers or some other type of permanent dental procedure for life. While this technique does alter the shape and capacity of the natural tooth on its own, the treatment also prepares it for improved appearance and function. Patients who may feel hesitant about this irreversible process should discuss all available options with a cosmetic dentist. For many patients, veneers are an appropriate and even advantageous choice.
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