Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They are an option for correcting stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth. Veneers are made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from a model provided by your dentist. Placing veneers is usually an irreversible process, because it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to accommodate the shell. Your dentist may recommend that you avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneers such as coffee, tea or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture. But for many people the results are more than worth it.

 

The Hows and Whys of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.

 

The bond between original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the esthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.

 

Porcelain laminate veneers consist of a compilation of several thin ceramic layers which replace original tooth enamel, and an adhesive layer. To apply a veneer, a very small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This is essential as it creates room for the porcelain veneer to fit within the mouth and most accurately restore natural tooth function while creating an even better appearance than the original tooth.

 

The bond between original tooth and porcelain veneer is critical as it not only provides the esthetic perfection desired, but also a strong bond which is essential for correct veneer function. Light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light.

 

Porcelain veneers are a very successful option in many situations where the original tooth has developed poor color, shape, and contours. It is also a good choice for fractured teeth, gaps between teeth, and in some situations where the tooth position is compromised and there are minor bite-related problems. For some people, superficial stains do not respond well to tooth whitening or bleaching. In these situations, a porcelain veneer may be the best option.

 

The Benefits of Veneers

Since veneers are individually sculpted for each patient, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth. Unlike natural teeth, custom-made veneers resist coffee and tea stains, and cigarette smoke because they are made of high-tech materials.

 

With veneers—as opposed to crowns—your natural teeth remain largely intact with only a minimal amount being altered to fit the veneer.

 

For teeth that resist whitening, veneers can make even the darkest teeth appear bright white.  Dentists may also recommend veneers to quickly fix minor twists, overlaps, and small gaps.

 

Potential Veneer Downsides

Because a portion of the original tooth enamel is reduced, a veneer is not considered a reversible treatment. Although adjustments and even new veneers can be made, you can never reliably return to the original condition of the tooth.

 

Creating porcelain veneers requires some laboratory time, so expect at least a week before they’re ready to be applied.

 

After the porcelain veneers are attached you will probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to the removal of that thin layer of enamel. This typically disappears within a few days. In a healthy mouth properly treated with porcelain veneers—and where destructive forces are minimized or eliminated—a patient should be able to use porcelain veneers like his or her own teeth. Although they’re very strong, veneers are also brittle. You should avoid the same excessive stresses you would avoid with non-veneered teeth: don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles with your veneers!

 

If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, your dentist may fit you with a nighttime bite guard so you do not damage your veneers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, provide good durability and resistance to fracture in small to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. They can be used on either front or back teeth. They are a good choice for people who prefer that their fillings look more natural.  Composites cost more than amalgam and occasionally are not covered by some insurance plans.

 

Sometimes composite filling material is used to change the shape and/or color of the front teeth.  This is called resin bonding or cosmetic bonding.

 

Cosmetic bonding is a process where the dentist attaches or “bonds” materials directly to your tooth in order to change the color and shape.  Many people receive cosmetic bonding to close gaps between their teeth.  The natural tooth enamel is then fused together with bonding materials such as porcelain and resins to create a strong structure that still feels like your original tooth. 

While it can be used for different purposes, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, tooth bonding is most useful for repairing chipped teeth. That’s because the bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color, and allows for a finished product that closely matches your surrounding teeth.


 

A crown is a cap that covers the whole tooth.  Most of the crowns completed at Zent Family Dentistry are made of porcelain or a combination of porcelain and zirconia. 

 

Full porcelain crowns look more natural and esthetic because they can mimic the translucent look of a natural tooth. Sometimes when more strength is needed due to a person clenching or grinding, or having a bite that is not idea, zirconia is used as a base for the crown or for the entire crown.  Zirconia is a tooth colored material that is stronger than porcelain but not quite as esthetic.

 

A crown can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth structure remaining to hold the filling. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant.

 

 

 

 

 

Missing a tooth or teeth can be a daily embarrassment. It can also cause difficult in chewing or speaking. Bridges can help restore your smile.

 

Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. This is done by preparing the teeth immediately behind and in front of the open space for crowns. Then the lab creates the bridge which is a single prosthesis consisting of an anchor tooth on each side of the open space and a “dummy” tooth or teeth in between to span the gap.  Unlike a partial or denture, which you can take out and clean, a bridge is cemented in place.

 

For areas in the front of the mouth, Zent Family Dentistry offers porcelain fixed bridges.  The dentist works with the lab to make a bridge that is not made from gold or metal and is instead made from porcelain or a combination of porcelain and zirconia. 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable or don't want to have good tooth structure removed to make a bridge, talk to your dentist to see if dental implants are an option for you.

 

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. In fact, the development and use of implants is one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

Most patients find that a dental implant is secure, stable and a good replacement for their own tooth.

 

There are generally three phases to getting an implant:

First, the dentist surgically places the implant into the jaw bone. Your dentist may recommend a diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup during the healing process.

 

Next, the bone around the implant heals in a process called osseointegration. What makes an implant so strong is that the bone actually grows around it and holds it in place. Osseointegration means “combines with the bone” and takes time. Some patients might need to wait until the implant is completely integrated, up to several months, before replacement teeth can be attached to the implant. Other patients can have the implants and replacement teeth placed all in one visit.

 

Finally, it’s time for the placement of the artificial tooth/teeth. For a single tooth implant, your dentist will customize a new tooth for you, called a dental crown. The crown will be based on size, shape, color and fit, and will be designed to blend in with your other teeth.

 

If you are replacing more than a single tooth, custom-made bridges or dentures will be made to fit your mouth and your implants. (Note: The replacement teeth usually take some time to make. In the meantime, your dentist may give you a temporary crown, bridge or denture to help you eat and speak normally until the permanent replacement is ready.)

 

If you are interested in dental implants, it's a good idea to discuss it carefully with your dentist first. If you are in good general health this treatment may be an option for you. In fact, your health is more of a factor than your age. You may be medically evaluated by a physician before any implant surgery is scheduled. Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or leukemia, may interfere with healing after surgery. Patients with these issues may not be good candidates for implants. Using tobacco can also slow healing.

 

 

 

 

Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.

 

Start by speaking with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

 

If you are a candidate for teeth whitening, Zent Family Dentistry makes custom whitening trays to fit your mouth.  These trays can be used in the comfort of your own home and last for years.  We have multiple strengths of whitening gel to serve patients with differing levels of staining and also to help those with sensitive teeth.  Zent Family Dentistry recommends all patients undergoing teeth whitening to use a desensitizing toothpaste.

Composite Filling/Bonding

Dental Implants

Teeth Whitening

 Fixed Bridges

Crowns (Caps)

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