Porcelain veneers are extremely thin, custom-made enhancements that are permanently bonded to the fronts of teeth, usually to improve the appearance of the teeth visible in a wide smile. The porcelain pieces are made to fit over the free edge of teeth and bond to the front surface, similar to a dental crown but only covering the visible portions of teeth and with less tooth preparation prior to bonding. Veneers are traditionally used to even the color of teeth when significant discoloration is present, as well as a form of restoration for broken, cracked, or damaged teeth.
The porcelain design of veneers is durable and glazed, resembling the design of natural teeth with protective tooth enamel. Unlike natural teeth, however, porcelain veneers are generally not porous due to the protective glaze and therefore unlikely to develop stains. The natural teeth behind the veneers can still absorb stains and the thin nature of porcelain veneers can occasionally show staining on teeth underneath if stains are significant. For most patients, maintaining regular dental checkups, professional cleanings, and engaging in sufficient at-home oral hygiene habits can reduce staining on natural teeth and preserve the appearance of veneers.
Veneers are a popular treatment option in cosmetic dentistry, with the ability to conceal minor imperfections in teeth and alignment. The veneers can be used to close a gap between front teeth, to conceal the appearance of a crooked or misaligned tooth, and to smooth the surfaces of uneven teeth to improve the appearance. Alternatives to porcelain veneers vary with individual patients and circumstances, but often include the use of composite dental material to reshape, smooth, or improve the appearance of teeth, or the more complete dental crown option, covering the entire tooth.
With porcelain veneers, patients are free to brush and floss for at-home care as usual, making it relatively easy to maintain oral health with veneers. While the fronts of many teeth are covered by the veneer pieces, the backs of teeth and in between teeth will need regular cleaning to prevent plaque build-up, tartar, and cavities. Good at-home cleaning and maintenance will preserve the veneer bond and reduce risk of stains to natural teeth.
To learn more about aesthetic options for improving smile and confidence, contact our experienced cosmetic dentistry team today!