Last Updated on 7 months by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Have you been considering getting some veneers installed? Wondering about the nuances of ownership? You found the right article then! Although they aren’t exactly the cheapest dental procedure, veneers are still immensely popular, and for very good reason. Those pro-grade photography smiles that you see so often on celebrities and public figures are a direct result of these crafty little coverings.
If you can find yourself a reliable, trustworthy dental expert, and if you can learn to take due care of your new oral additions, they are absolutely worth the investment, a few times over. Veneers are the most widely accepted way to get perfect pearly teeth. Luckily, they aren’t that hard to figure out, either.
In this article, we are going to look at what veneers are, what are they for, their pros and cons, what basic steps you should take to care for them properly, and some proven hacks for getting the most out of them.
Basic things to know about veneers
First things first, let’s go over what veneers actually are, what their exact purpose is and why you would even want them on your teeth. A veneer is a type of tooth covering, sort of like a thin shell that encases it. They were invented way back in 1928, for the sake of professional actors. Improvements grew with time, and by 1982 they could be made permanent.
They are applied by removing around half a millimeter of the enamel and then bonding the artificial casing ono the tooth. This way, it will not look all bulky and will fit your jaw configuration in the appropriate way. You can read up more on the procedure at this useful link.
You can have it on just one tooth, several, or all of your teeth, upper and lower.
A well-made veneer will be strong and hard to crack, which places them in high demand as cosmetic solutions. It will be set onto the tooth front, and is typically made either form composite resin or porcelain. People who have nicked, discolored, poorly aligned, worn, or incorrectly shaped teeth, or gaps in their dental arrangement, will often turn to veneers to correct these flaws.
Veneers are popular and widespread because they always look shiny and picture-perfect. That’s what makes those “Hollywood smiles” that have already become an idiom. This is their biggest selling point and their greatest weakness at the same time, because sometimes their signature gleam just looks way too unnatural – especially if a veneered tooth is right next to an unveneered one.
Will your new veneers stain like teeth do?
We know that this is the first concern you are going to have and we are glad to tell you, you’re safe. Obviously, if you are going to be sacrificing your enamel for this artificial encasement, you want to make sure it will do the job better than the original. Do veneers stain, you wonder? Nope! Have no fear: good quality veneers are stain-proof, especially with proper care. In fact, this is precisely the reason for the occasionally excessive brightens!
Porcelain ones are better in this sense than composite resin ones. They look more similar to natural healthy teeth and behave almost exactly the same when it comes to light refraction. On the flip side, they have a higher chance of looking unnatural and too shiny. When you consult your dentist, make sure to ask about the aesthetic element as well, and include that in your decision-making process. After all, if you don’t like what you see in the mirror every day, what was the point of such a permanent alteration? Take a look at the differences here!
The staple steps of veneer maintenance
Alright, so you know what veneers are and how they work. You have made your appointment. What comes after? As with any addition to your body, you have to learn the proper ways to maintain hygiene and function of your new shiny chompers. Here is some baseline know-how on caring for them on your own.
Fortunately, you don’t need to suddenly develop a whole new skill set. Taking care of veneers doesn’t require any special strategizing, just proper oral hygiene that you hopefully had even before you got them. These dental casings are sturdy and resilient against dirt and damage, so your dentist will probably just tell you to go on like usual.
Brush and floss minimum twice a day, after each meal if possible, and use a mouthwash (preferably an antiseptic one). That’s it!
One more specific tip (which you might also hear from your dentist) is to opt for a toothpaste that isn’t abrasive, and to select a brush with soft bristles when you go shopping for a new one. This is to prevent unnecessary erosion in the long term.
Maintaining proper oral and dental hygiene has one more enormous benefit: it helps decrease the risk of gum disease. This, in turn, will make sure your gums will not recede upwards, exposing the veneers’ tops and ruining your carefully crafted aesthetic. To learn about recognizing and handling gum disease symptoms, check out this comprehensive article: https://www.verywellhealth.com/signs-of-gum-disease-4129574
Finally, do not neglect your check-up appointments. See your dentist regularly to inspect and clean your veneers and the teeth underneath them. Although a properly mad evener is strong, like we mentioned earlier, you still want to catch any potential problems early on and pluck those weeds before they grow. Most dentists agree that a biannual visit (once every six months) is more than adequate.
Additional tips and advice on caring for your veneers
On top of the basic care and hygiene practices that we covered above, there are a few more things you ought to keep in mind. To make completely sure that your new veneers will remain in pristine condition for years to come, consider including these cautions into your everyday.
1) Mind what you chomp on! Veneers boast considerable sturdiness, yes, but they are still weaker than healthy natural teeth. Therefore, kick any habit you might have of chewing pencils, pens, plastic spoons from cafes, biting nails, crunching the ice in your drinks or desserts, gnawing on bones in chicken drums, etc. etc. Chewing on hard things like these might chip off some of your veneer – although it’s not terribly common, it has been known to happen.
In addition, many people recommend being careful with hard, tough, and crunchy foods, for example, raw carrots or apples, or nuts. Acidic, starchy, and sugary foods should never be allowed to stay in your mouth cavity for long.
This includes pasta, pastries, bread, crackers, candy, cakes, sugary drinks, carbonated sodas, citrus fruits, fruit juice, coffee, potatoes. It’s perfectly fine to eat them – we’re not about to reduce your menu to grass. Just make sure to clean your teeth as soon as possible after these meals and snacks.
2) Be careful around staining foods and drinks. Although veneers are made to resist discoloration, if you don’t take good care, they can start to stain over time, just like our organic teeth. The foods and beverages that might stain veneers are the same ones that might stain teeth: dark berries, red wine, coffee, and tea. Some dentists also recommend reducing or eliminating soy sauce, so if that’s a staple of your cuisine, you may want to start coming up with alternatives.
Tobacco is another major culprit in cases of yellow and brown teeth, so keep away from it to the best of your abilities. Whether you smoke, vape, or chew the leaf, genuinely consider quitting. Not only will it preserve the pristine whiteness of your smile, you will gain so much more in health benefits.
3) Address your bruxism if you’ve got it. Bruxism, or the phenomenon of grinding your teeth in your sleep, can be a serious hindrance. Not only might it damage your veneers, it exposes your natural teeth to extreme amounts of stress. Your dentist will most likely recommend that you wear an occlusal guard, also known as a mouth guard or bite guard.
4) Manage your alcohol consumption levels. Alcohol is very likely to weaken the composites that constitute the bonding of your veneers, what connects them to the teeth. You don’t need to worry that they will suddenly fall off, but it does mean a vastly higher possibility of staining, damage, and overall deterioration. This isn’t caused just by alcoholic drinks, either. Toothpaste that contains alcohol, or mouthwashes on an alcoholic base, are also something you need to be careful with.
What can you expect when you make a veneers appointment?
Finally, let’s take a look at what will happen during your appointment with your dentist. If you are looking to get yourself a set of veneers, you can usually expect the procedure itself to be carried out across two to three appointments. There are three major steps to the veneer procedure: diagnosis, preparation, and finalization. We are going to address each of these in order.
First up: diagnosis appointment. This also includes planning your treatment. Your dentist will conduct an examination of your teeth to make sure of their overall condition. If there is any damage, plaque buildup, calcification, cavities etc. it has to be correctly identified and duly addressed before any alterations are made. Yu might also have to get some X-rays done.
In this appointment, you have to make sure to actively communicate with your dentist. If they ask you about your dental care and oral hygiene routines, answer honestly and in detail, even if you feel embarrassed. Giving false information will only hurt your interests, not to mention that a health professional can tell if you are being truthful by the condition of your teeth and gums.
Be open to the possibility that getting veneers might not be the best option for your teeth right now. Hear your dentist out and take their suggestions honestly. If you really want those porcelain whites, the quickest way to get them is to make sure your teeth are well enough to take them. Ask about all the aspects of the procedure, limitations and risks as well as the benefits. Also, openly share your desired outcome: it can only help to tailor the whole thing to your needs.
Second round: preparation appointment. Supposing that you are indeed eligible to get veneers, this will be where the actual procedure begins. “Preparation” here means preparing the teeth themselves for the applying the veneers. First, your dentist will provide you with some local anesthetic if necessary.
Then, an amount of enamel will be trimmed off to make space for your veneers, as we mentioned before. Next, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth or otherwise make an impression of them. This is taken to the laboratory and used as a veneer-making blueprint. In many cases, you will be provided with temporary veneers that you can wear to protect your teeth until your custom permanent set is made.
Third step: finalizing the procedure. In your final appointment, when your custom veneers are prepared, your dentist is going to give them one last inspection to see if there are any issues with them. Each will be set on its respective tooth, without bonding, to check the color and fit. They will get repeatedly trimmed until they are just right, and then the color will be adjusted if necessary.
Then, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and their surface made rougher to allow the bonding cement to grasp more strongly. When each veneer is set and bonded, your dentist will remove any excess cement from the tooth, and possibly expose it to a special light that will make it harden up more quickly. Finally, you will be asked to demonstrate your bite: if you are not biting onto the new veneers properly, the teeth on the opposing side might get reduced a bit. In the end, you will be given care instructions and scheduled a follow-up appointment in a few weeks’ time.
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