When you make the decision to get dental veneers, you are making an important investment in self-esteem. This minimally-invasive technique brings lovely symmetry to your smile, and a boost to your confidence in social and business situations. Dr. Sameet Koppikar helps his patients in the Phoenix, AZ area get years of beautiful smiles from veneers, with a few special care tips.
How veneers are made and placed
The dentist prepares teeth, usually by removing a thin layer of enamel and altering the shape as needed. A single tooth may be treated, but more often the focus is on the four to eight front upper teeth. If your smile shows bottom teeth, they may be veneered, as well. Then impressions – either traditional molds or digital images – are taken.
Impressions go to a professional dental laboratory, where a master ceramist fabricates each veneer using a dental laminate process. A stone cast of your mouth is created from the impressions. Then each veneer is made by precisely layering thin coatings of ceramic, firing at high temperature after each layer. This results in extremely strong veneers, with visual depth and translucency similar to healthy tooth enamel. The final step in fabrication is hand-staining for subtle shading variations that look extremely natural.
When Dr. Koppikar receives the veneers back from the lab, usually in about two weeks, he carefully checks the fit of each one. The doctor makes minute final adjustments if necessary, before cementing veneers in place. Your smile is polished, and you receive care instructions.
When veneers are used
Veneers are an esthetic treatment which Dr. Koppikar may recommend to improve:
- The appearance of minor misalignment.
- Stubborn discoloration.
- Chips and cracks in enamel.
- Natural bumps, grooves, or pits.
- Teeth that have unusual shape or size.
- Teeth that look short or worn down.
- Gaps between teeth or irregular spacing.
How patients in Phoenix, AZ keep dental veneers looking great for years
While porcelain is very hard, it is brittle. To avoid cracking or dislodging veneers, do not chew on ice, bite fingernails, or put hard objects into your mouth. If you eat hard foods such as raw carrots, cut them into bite-sized pieces, rather than biting into them directly.
Veneers are made with a layered process and bonded with a cement onto natural tooth structure. Each of these components has a different thermal coefficient, so temperature extremes can be a problem. Try drinking hot and cold beverages with a straw to bypass veneered teeth.
Protect your new smile with a custom-fit sports mouthguard when participating in any activity that could result in impact to the face or cause jaws to snap together suddenly. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, Dr. Koppikar will fit you with night guard. It protects veneers (as well as teeth and other dental work) from excessive bite force that could cause chips, cracks, and wear.
Veneers bring dazzle to your smile. Keep it that way by minimizing stains. Although porcelain is quite resistant, veneered teeth could develop dark edges from discoloration of the bonding agent. Please do not smoke. In addition to serious health hazards, tar and nicotine leave brownish pigments behind. If you drink tea, coffee, cola, or red wine, don’t hold it in your mouth longer than necessary, and swish with plain water after finishing your beverage.
Home hygiene is by far the most important factor in keeping veneered teeth healthy and attractive. Veneers cannot foster decay, but your own teeth underneath can. Plus, without good oral hygiene, bacterial plaque will build up at the gumline. You could develop gum disease, causing soft tissue to get puffy and discolored, and gums to recede. Gum disease not only spoils the look of your smile – it is can have grave health consequences.
Use a soft toothbrush and a light hand to brush teeth – at least morning and night (each time you eat is better). Be sure to use a mild toothpaste. Whitening or abrasive paste will scratch porcelain, causing veneers to lose their luster. Floss every night, moving gently past veneer contacts. Dr. Koppikar may recommend adding a water flosser to your daily routine to keep teeth and gums extra clean.
Dr. Koppikar gets excited about dental veneers, because he sees the happiness in his patients’ faces when they get the first glimpse of their new smiles. Call (602) 954-8200 to schedule a consultation at Biltmore Dental Center in Phoenix, AZ.