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At Smiles4OC in Costa Mesa, CA, our professionals work closely with patients to help them learn about all we have to offer in general, cosmetic, and restorative care. Men and women who have imperfections on the teeth near the front of the mouth, called the “social six,” may want to ask about the benefits of using porcelain veneers to enhance their smiles and address issues that cause them to feel self-conscious about their appearance.
A porcelain veneer is a special cosmetic restoration used in dental practices all around the United States to address teeth that have certain imperfections. These imperfections may include:
The veneer is a facing that is bonded onto the front of a prepared tooth. This facing provides a disguise for the imperfection and allows patients to quickly and easily address their problems, without having to undergo years of dental work, orthodontics, or even expensive procedures.
Because our team of professionals focus on ensuring dental restorations look natural when placed in the smile, we assure patients that their restorations will be indistinguishable from the rest of the smile. These restorations are custom made based on the color, shape, and size of the existing teeth. When bonded in place, friends, family members, and coworkers are unable to tell that the veneers are even there!
Because porcelain veneers are made of a ceramic material that is still susceptible to breakage, it is essential that patients take great care in protecting their restorations from damage. With proper care, patients can enjoy their porcelain veneer for a decade or longer. Patients should avoid chewing or biting on objects or hard foods such as ice to keep their smile free from damage, and individuals who have conditions such as bruxism, which causes clenching and grinding should also speak to their dentists about the use of a specialized night guard to protect not only the porcelain veneers, but also their natural tooth enamel from damage.
The very first step in obtaining a porcelain veneer is to consult with the team of professionals at Smiles4OC. Drs. Thomas Rolfes, Christina Do, Cary Dunne, and Timothy Rolfes are all available at our practice in Costa Mesa, California for a consultation visit. During the first appointment, patients can go over the specific imperfections of the smile that make them feel self-conscious. When these imperfections involve the anterior (front) teeth, they may be improved with the use of porcelain veneers. Our professionals will talk to patients about the care needed to maintain veneers, and work with patients to determine if their dental insurance will provide coverage to reduce the cost of veneers. When patients learn about the overall cost of treatment, they can also speak with our front office team about financing plans to make them obtainable.
Once patients have decided that they want to use porcelain veneers to enhance their smiles, they arrange their first dental appointment for preparations of the natural teeth. Preparations are required to place the veneers and take accurate impressions for the fabrication of the new restorations. Preparation of veneers requires patients to have a thin portion of the tooth enamel filed down prior to taking impressions. The impressions are molds that are used to obtain the shape of the tooth, so the dental ceramist can fabricate a porcelain veneer that fits precisely over the natural tooth. The impressions are sent to a laboratory for the creation of the veneer with specific instructions from the dentist regarding the shape, size, and color of the new restoration.
Within weeks, the final restoration is sent to the team at Smiles4OC, and patients come back in for their placement appointment. This visit is fast and simple and allows the dentist to bond the veneer onto the tooth of concern to provide immediate repair. Patients leave the practice with their new smile to share with others and can work with our team to continue to care for their porcelain veneer.
Porcelain veneers require minimal special attention. Patients should be aware that conditions such as cavities and periodontal disease can still impact their natural tooth underneath the veneer – the veneer cannot protect the tooth from this kind of damage. Therefore, it is essential that patients continue to visit their dentists on a regular basis for cleanings, examinations, and even x-rays to monitor the health of the natural tooth underneath the veneer. At home, patients should brush and floss their teeth as they normally do, maintaining not only their porcelain veneers but also their natural smile!
Any patient who has a front tooth that has an imperfection may be considered an appropriate candidate for porcelain veneers. However, patients should also make note that when they have restorations such as these in their smiles, they may be disqualified for certain cosmetic procedures such as professional teeth whitening. This is because the porcelain is not affected by the bleaching agents used in this procedure and will stand out as a discolored tooth instead. Some patients may choose to have professional whitening done prior to having their veneers placed and then continue to whiten their teeth to maintain the same look. This can be discussed with our dentists during the initial consultation appointment.
In some situations, there may be alternative ways of improving the smile without porcelain veneers. Another option that patients may consider is dental bonding. Dental bonding is the use of composite resin material that is applied to the teeth and shaped in place. Then, it is hardened with a special light, filed down, and polished to look like natural tooth enamel.
For teeth that are spaced or misaligned, patients may want to learn about the advantages of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontia is often used to reposition teeth, and address concerns such as poor bite alignment. Repositioning the teeth can improve the aesthetics of the smile as well as the functionality. While this treatment can take some time, it is one of the best ways of addressing misalignment.
Teeth that are not near the front of the mouth may be addressed with the placement of a dental crown. Dental crowns are like porcelain “caps” that are bonded over a natural tooth to either provide an extra layer of protection or to cover cosmetic issues. They are used on teeth that are chipped, broken, or weakened, as well as teeth that have a cosmetic concern. Additionally, dental crowns are placed over dental implants to replace single teeth. This versatile restoration is used a lot in certain situations and may be used as an alternative to a porcelain veneer, depending on a patient’s specific needs.
To determine the alternative options available to you for your smile, we welcome patients to ask about these and other solutions available at Smiles4OC for enhancing teeth when imperfections are present.
If patients decide later that they would not like to have their porcelain veneer, they can have them removed. However, the natural tooth enamel that was removed for placement cannot be restored. Patients considering porcelain veneers will want to think about having them in place permanently as a solution to their imperfect teeth before moving forward with having them placed. Otherwise, our team of professionals may suggest an alternative that will not affect the natural tooth underneath the restoration. Our dentists find that patients who are serious about permanently improving the appearance of their smiles love the results of this treatment. Other dentists may provide solutions such as Lumineers, which are even thinner and do not require the removal of natural tooth enamel to place. This treatment can be reversed, but the thinner restoration is more susceptible to damage. We encourage patients to consider porcelain veneers for long-term restoration of natural teeth, not a short-term solution.
If you live in or around the community of Costa Mesa, CA and are interested in learning more about the benefits of porcelain veneers for enhancement of your smile, we welcome you to book an appointment at Smiles4OC. We offer comprehensive dentistry and sports dentistry for patients ready to work with a team offering decades of combined experience. Drs. Thomas Rolfes, Christina Do, Cary Dunne, and Timothy Rolfes are here to assist with general, cosmetic, and restorative care. Call us today at (714) 557-0700 or visit the office conveniently located at 1530 Baker Street, Suite J. We accept new patients.