Dentistry for oral health is the most common reason we find ourselves sitting in the dentist’s chair. Getting in to see the dentist on for regular cleanings in extremely important and beneficial to one’s overall health. However, there is another reason why people head into the dentist office. Many successful dentists offer cosmetic services in addition to their oral health related options.
Today we are going to take a closer look at one of these services, veneers. Though primarily used for cosmetic reasons, there are times when veneers can be useful tools in oral health care. For example, a patient who suffers from deteriorating teeth due to gum design may be fitted with veneers to stop further degradation. Cosmetically, veneers might be used to cover up discoloration due to years of heavy smoking or from an injury. Teeth that are worn or misshapen can also be affixed with a veneer.
To familiarize yourself with this interesting tools for cosmetic dentistry, check out this handy guide:
Definition of Veneer
Dental veneers are ultra-thin layers of porcelain or composite material used to permanently cover a tooth for a variety of reasons. The most common uses for veneers are aesthetic, though they do have other uses. They are typically affixed to the tooth using an etching and bonding process and are meant as permanent solutions to a variety of issues. Veneers can be built on the tooth itself or fabricated in a lab.
Reasons for getting veneers:
Veneers are useful for a wide variety of issues. They are typically unnoticeable upon casual glance and are popular for these, among other, issues:
- Injury associated discoloration
- To cover damage caused by root canals and other procedures
- Yellowing caused by heavy smoking that isn’t responsive to whitening
- To cover small caps between teeth that may lead to other issues
- To cover irregular, misaligned, overcrowded, or uneven teeth
- To cover teeth that are worn, broken, or chipped
Veneers are a valuable tool for these uses and more. If you think one of these cases applies to you, you should schedule a consultation with your dentist as soon as possible.
The History of Veneers
People have been focusing on developing the field of cosmetic dentistry since at least the 19th century, and probably before. Braces were invented by the early 1800s, so it’s clear that people have been trying to improve the way their smiles look for many years. Even veneers were first invented in 1928, that’s 87 years ago! Of course they weren’t the same as the veneers we use in modern dentistry. Still, teeth veneers for cosmetic smile restoration have been around longer than most people. Charles Pincus, a Hollywood dentist, gets credit for inventing the first veneers. They were used by actors on the set of a film. However, they weren’t permanent, and even the acrylic veneers he invented in the 1930s were only a temporary solution. It wasn’t until much later, 1982 to be exact, that a solution for attaching permanent veneers was found. The process of etching teeth had been developed in the 1950s, but the discovery that hydrofluoric acid would greatly enhance bonds on teeth made permanent veneers a possibility. Of course they’ve been refined over the years, but for the most part the modern veneers we use today were created in the early 1980s.
The Process of Attaching the Veneers
Veneers are extremely popular, and one reason is probably the fact that they can be attached without surgery. A local anesthetic is enough to get the job done in almost every case. Even better, the entire process usually on consists of two visits to the office. Generally it is no issue to have more than one veneer attached at the same time. The process is non-intrusive and fairly straightforward for cosmetic dentists with experience.
During the first of the two visits, the teeth will be prepped for the process. The dentist will cut a very small piece of the enamel out of the tooth. This is to give the veneer a place to attach to the tooth. It’s during this visit that the dentist will take an impression of each tooth as well. He or she will need something to base the veneer off of. The the process of fabricating the veneer in the lab will begin, this usually takes one to two weeks. After it is finished, the next part of the process is ready to begin.
At the next appointment, the dentist will first remove any temporary veneers placed on the teeth. Next the teeth will be thoroughly cleaned in order to make the bonding process go as smoothly as possible. As the veneers are attached to the teeth, they will be trimmed and adjusted as needed. Then, the process is complete. A follow-up appointment will occur a couple of weeks later to make sure everything is OK, but that’s it. The patient is good to go with their new veneers.