What veneers are and what conditions they can treat.
Taking care of our oral health can feel like a challenge throughout our lives. We try to do our best, though sometimes life gets in the way. Whether it’s genetics, health issues, lifestyle habits, or, frankly, bad luck, our oral health can suffer despite our best efforts. Of course, the best thing you can do is brush regularly, floss daily, and maybe use mouthwash sparingly if that is your preference. But, things happen whether it’s in our control or not.
The important thing to focus on is how the state of our teeth impacts our lives. Studies have found, if not outright causality, some correlation between low self-esteem and poor oral health. This makes sense. Consider how much of our confidence is tied to our physical appearance. Do you hesitate to smile in pictures because you’re self-conscious about discolored or damaged teeth? Do you avoid social situations because you feel like everyone notices the state of your teeth? If you answered yes to those questions, or feel some embarrassment to a lesser degree about your oral health, it’s time to do something about it so you can go back to enjoying life.
If you haven’t spoken to your dentist lately about your concerns, what are you waiting for? There are cosmetic procedures that might be the exact solution you’re looking for. But, you’ll never know unless you make an appointment to see your dentist. If you don’t where to begin or the right questions to ask, let’s start here. Assuming you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth or the damage to them, you might be interested in asking your dentist about the possibility of getting veneers.
What are veneers?
While you may be familiar with the term, we are frequently asked what veneers actually are. With so many dental procedures available for similar issues, it’s easy to mix things up. Veneers are a less intrusive alternative to procedures like crowns or braces. They are irreversible, however, which is why it’s so important to educate yourself on them. Essentially, veneers are thin porcelain covers that go over your existing teeth to improve their appearance. While porcelain is the most common material, other materials like composite resin might be used as well.
Porcelain is an ideal material for a cosmetic procedure like this because not only is it durable, but it also looks similar to your natural teeth for a seamless solution. Our gums also respond favorably to porcelain so you don’t have to have concerns about bad reactions. These custom fitted veneers are placed onto your teeth with a cement that adheres to your natural tooth enamel. They typically last anywhere from 10 to 20 years before you need to get them replaced.
What do they treat?
There are a few different conditions that veneers are ideal for. The first is tooth discoloration. That can surprise people because they usually wonder why they can’t just opt for a teeth whitening procedure instead.
Sure, if the discoloration of your teeth occurs because you drink a lot of coffee or wine or you smoke, your teeth would respond positively to the bleaching that occurs during a teeth whitening procedure. It also goes without saying that you should quit smoking not only for your health but to stop the discoloration of your teeth. But there are some causes of teeth discoloration that won’t respond terribly well to teeth whitening chemicals. For example, if the color of your teeth is closer to brown or even gray rather than yellow, bleaching will have a minimal effect.
What causes these kinds of changes to darker colors? One common reason is injury or trauma. More dentin, which is what causes that dark appearance, may appear under the enamel. Teeth whitening chemicals won’t reach that. Another reason is medications. Some medications for allergies, high blood pressure, or your mental health may cause reactions that darken your teeth. Chemotherapy or radiation can also have this effect.
Beyond persistent discoloration of your teeth, veneers also treat chipped teeth, gaps between your teeth, and the appearance of having too much of your gums showing when you smile (or “small” teeth, if you think of it that way). Veneers can cover up the chips for a fresh, revitalized appearance and go over reasonably small enough gaps so you don’t have to opt for something like braces. The same goes for crooked teeth. In these instances, however, your dentist will tell you specifically if your condition qualifies for veneers. Otherwise, orthodontic treatment might be what’s best for you.
Do veneers sound like something that would solve your problems? Are you ready to start smiling confidently again? We want to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment. Together we’ll find the best treatment option for you so you can love your smile.