What are veneers?

Veneers are a cosmetic overlay formed by a thin layer of plastic or porcelain that is adhered to the visible portion of your teeth. They are used to fix many cosmetic issues, and can take as few as two appointments to achieve. Most typically, veneers are placed on the teeth which are most visible when you smile. Veneers are firmly bonded in place, and they are always custom crafted to fit your exact teeth and coloring. Veneers can be used to fix minor cosmetic issues on just one tooth, or a person might have a complete smile makeover using veneers to completely transform their whole smile.

Am I a good candidate for veneers?
Nearly everyone with healthy teeth is a good candidate, just ask Dr. Ertl to discuss this cosmetic option with you.
Why do people choose to get veneers? What can veneers do?
If you have irregularly sized or shaped teeth, then veneers can make your teeth appear more uniform in a natural and beautiful way. They completely cover the front of your teeth, giving them a brand new, healthy appearance. Veneers can close or mitigate gaps between your teeth, they can also lengthen teeth or alter their shape. Some people have teeth that naturally resist normal whitening procedures; veneers can be used to give these people the brighter smile they desire. Veneers can also correct damage from chipping, cracking or wearing of teeth, and they can protect teeth from future damage.

What are composite veneers?

Composite veneers are strong and durable, but they do not last as long as porcelain veneers. However, they hold one advantage over porcelain veneers: if they fracture, they can be fixed by patching it with the same composite material used to fabricate them. By contrast, when a porcelain veneer breaks, the entire veneer must be replaced. Composite veneers can be created in just one appointment. Composite veneers may darken over time because they are not as resistant to staining as are porcelain veneers. However, Dr. Ertl can easily replace any composite veneers that lose their natural color.

What can I expect from the composite veneer procedure?
First, Dr. Ertl will match the color of the composite veneer material to your natural tooth color. Then he will roughen the surface of your teeth to create a better bond between the resin bonding material and the natural tooth. The bonding material that forms the composite veneer is soft and malleable, and it can be molded like clay. He will craft it to form a thin shell that fits on the surface of your tooth, and use a high intensity light which will cure the bonding material and harden it in only a few seconds. This procedure will be repeated, and he will apply multiple layers. It may take an hour or more, depending upon how many teeth you elect to place veneers upon. At the end of the procedure, he will smooth and polish all of the new composite veneer surfaces. When finished, the composite veneers are quite strong and they appear much like your natural teeth. They may feel slightly different at first, but in time they will feel exactly like your natural teeth.

What are porcelain veneers?

When you look at your teeth in strong light, you’ll notice that they have a translucent appearance: the light will nearly shine through thinner parts each tooth. It is this translucency that porcelain veneers most closely mimic. Porcelain also delivers the most long lasting and lifelike results, which is why they are considered the highest quality material for veneers. Porcelain is extremely durable and anyone who owns a porcelain coffee cup knows that the material is naturally resistant to staining. Porcelain veneers take less than two appointments and require a longer preparation time than do composite veneers, because some of the existing tooth structure must be removed. But the result is well worth the wait. One disadvantage to porcelain is that although it bonds tightly with your natural teeth, it is more prone to fracture under extreme stress such as the grinding that some people do unconsciously while asleep. Once fractured, a porcelain veneer will most likely need to be replaced in its entirety; it can’t be patched as can a composite veneer.

What can I expect from the porcelain veneer procedure?

You can expect to come in for two visits, because porcelain veneers require a longer preparation time. Dr. Ertl must shape your teeth by removing some tooth tissue to make room for the new veneers. He will also roughen the surface of your teeth to ensure a tight bond. A wax impression of your prepared teeth will be made, and will serve as a model for your new porcelain veneers to be crafted to your specifications. You will receive temporary plastic veneers to wear until your permanent porcelain veneers are made by a dental lab. When you come back for your second appointment, the new porcelain veneers will be fitted and bonded to your teeth using a harmless high intensity light which will harden the adhesive bonding agent.

What type of veneer is right for me?

Composite veneers make a good choice for the cost-conscious or those without the flexibility to schedule two appointments. Porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite, but their strength, durability and lifelike appearance make them a very popular choice year after year.

Once I have veneers, what can I expect?

Veneers are considered a permanent tooth restoration, and they will function just like your regular teeth. However, even though considered “permanent,” they will not last forever; most can be expected to last around 10 years with proper care You will need to care for them properly, and keep the remaining tooth structure healthy and free from decay. You will still need to schedule regular dental examinations and cleanings to keep your veneers beautiful and your teeth healthy.

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