Porcelain Veneers in Scripps Ranch
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Millions of people have transformed their smiles with veneers, which are custom-made, ultra-thin pieces of porcelain that are placed over the front surface of the teeth. Veneers conceal problems with tooth shape, size or alignment and help create a uniform and attractive smile. Because of their wide array of functions and very natural appearance, veneers are a popular treatment option at Village Center Dentistry, the practice of Dr. Jennifer Santoro.
What Can Porcelain Veneers Accomplish?
Porcelain veneers are an extremely versatile tool in a cosmetic dentist’s toolbox. They can be used to camouflage a number of dental issues, including the following:
- Slightly chipped or cracked teeth
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Worn tooth enamel
- Abnormal spacing between the teeth
- Minor misalignment
The placement of veneers can be performed as a standalone treatment or combined with other cosmetic dentistry treatments or procedures as part of the smile design process.
Alternative Types of Veneers
Minimal prep veneers
Minimal prep veneers require a very minimal amount of tooth structure (if any at all) to be removed. This is better for the long-term health and strength of the tooth.
Composite resin veneers are sculpted on the teeth rather than in a dental laboratory offsite. A tooth-colored resin material is applied directly to the tooth and sculpted and shaped to create the desired tooth shape, size and color. The resin is then hardened with a special light.
When selecting your veneers, Dr. Santoro will review the available options and discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each. Together, you will decide on the veneer type that best suits your needs and goals.
Porcelain Veneer Placement Process
The veneer placement process is irreversible — in other words, your teeth receiving the veneers will always need to be covered by a veneer or another type of restoration. During a one-on-one consultation, Dr. Santoro can evaluate you for treatment with veneers and recommend whether you are a suitable candidate to receive veneers. If she believes you are, the two of you will discuss how you wish to change the appearance of your smile and select your preferred veneer shape, size and color.
The first step of treatment with veneers is to remove a small amount of tooth structure, which is necessary for the veneer to look and fit properly. Impressions will be taken of your prepared teeth to send to the dental laboratory that produces your veneers. Dr. Santoro will select the shade of porcelain that most closely matches your surrounding natural teeth and convey that information to the lab. Dr. Santoro uses the best cosmetic dental lab that is used by leading cosmetic dentists across the country. Her lab tech is very detail-oriented and extremely esthetically driven. Lab work done here is almost undetectable (in a good way)!
Temporary veneers will be placed over your prepared teeth to protect them while your permanent restorations are being fabricated. This allows you time to acclimate to wearing veneers and provide a preview of your anticipated results.
Once your permanent veneers are ready, you will return for a second appointment with Dr. Santoro. She will remove your provisional veneers and place your permanent veneers in your mouth, checking the way they look and fit. You can offer feedback if needed to modify or adjust your veneers. Once you are happy with the way the veneers look, fit and feel, Dr. Santoro will cement them onto your teeth and finish by polishing them.
Porcelain Veneer Aftercare
Veneers must be brushed and flossed like natural teeth to avoid any problems and prolong the longevity of the restorations. You do not need to change your diet to accommodate your veneers but you might consider cutting up apples and corn on the cob rather than biting into them. After veneers are placed, it is a good idea to invest in a nightguard to protect your brand-new smile. Veneer materials are strong but they do not last indefinitely. Unnatural pressure or teeth grinding/clenching can cause the veneer to crack, chip or fracture. Avoid biting on hard objects (e.g., shells, pen caps). Also, veneers cannot develop cavities but the underlying tooth structure can, so oral hygiene is important to decrease the chances of tooth decay and unnecessary plaque buildup.
Make sure to see Dr. Santoro every six months for an exam so she can check the integrity of your veneers and ensure there are no problems.
How Long Will the Results Last?
There is never a guarantee due to the difference in people’s oral flora, hygiene habits and grinding patterns, but you can extend the life of your veneers with proper at-home oral hygiene care, consistent in-office dental cleanings and exams with Dr. Santoro as well as a protective nightguard.
Porcelain Veneers FAQs
What’s the Difference Between Porcelain Veneers and Dental Crowns?
A porcelain veneer is a thin porcelain shell that covers the front portion of your tooth to improve the overall appearance of your smile. Porcelain veneers are typically used for cosmetic purposes to cover tooth flaws such as tooth chips and severe discoloration. In contrast, dental crowns have restorative and cosmetic uses.
A crown completely covers a tooth that is weak or compromised due to decay or trauma. The damaged areas of the tooth are removed, and the dental crown protects the remaining tooth structure. Dental crowns are thicker than veneers, requiring more tooth reduction for a natural appearance that doesn’t look bulky. These restorations can also provide a brighter, flawless smile and are made to match the adjacent teeth.
At Village Center Dentistry, we offer minimal-prep veneers that preserve more tooth enamel than traditional porcelain veneers that are sculpted onto your teeth for the perfect fit, shape, size and color.
Will My Results Look Natural?
Our approach to porcelain veneers provides a natural look and feel for your smile. The porcelain is designed to match the shape and color of your teeth. You can choose to have teeth whitening beforehand to improve tooth discoloration and staining so your veneers can be brighter as well. Most of the time we also have you visit our cosmetic lab technicial to perfectly color match your teeth.
The materials used for porcelain veneers and composite veneers mimic the natural sheen of your teeth. The thin, minimal-prep shells are semi-translucent, allowing some light through like your tooth enamel. Dr. Santoro will discuss your veneer options with you and ensure you achieve results that look beautiful and natural.
Can Porcelain Veneers Get Cavities?
The material of your porcelain veneers will not decay, but the underlying tooth is still susceptible to tooth decay and may develop a cavity without proper dental hygiene. You need to floss once a day and brush twice a day to maintain good oral health. Bacteria buildup is a concern for cavity formation and gum disease development. Gum disease can wreak havoc on your mouth but also affects the appearance of your porcelain veneers if your gums start to recede and reveal the edges along your gum line.
The best defense against cavities underneath your porcelain veneers is daily dental hygiene and bi-annual dental exams and cleanings at Village Center Dentistry in San Diego.
When are Porcelain Veneers a Good Option?
Candidates for porcelain veneers and other cosmetic dentistry options have tooth imperfections such as misshapen teeth, cracks, chips, gaps or overcrowding. Severe discoloration that doesn’t respond to teeth whitening treatments can also be addressed with veneers. However, good oral health is essential. Any gum disease, cavities or other oral health concerns should be treated and eliminated before moving forward with porcelain veneers.
Dr. Santoro will evaluate your teeth and gums during your initial exam and determine if porcelain veneers are a good fit for your aesthetic concerns.
Do Porcelain Veneers Stain Over Time?
Your natural teeth can stain quite easily with repeated exposure to common culprits, including red wine, coffee and tea. Veneers are primarily stain-resistant because they are less porous than your tooth enamel. Your natural tooth enamel is susceptible to staining and absorbs the coloring from foods and beverages or habits such as smoking. While veneers may experience discoloration down the road, they typically provide a brighter, flawless smile for years or decades for some.