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Porcelain veneer introduction
Porcelain veneers are thin ceramic shells that hide defects such as tetracycline stains on the teeth or broken teeth. Even gaps between the front teeth or chipped and worn out teeth can be cosmetically repaired with porcelain veneers. They are a great alternative to crowns in many cases. Veneers are a much more conservative way of improving a tooth's colour, size, or shape.
Where are porcelain veneers used?
Porcelain veneers are used on the front of your teeth, which is the visible part of your mouth.
When are porcelain veneers not used?
Porcelain veneers are used to correct only cosmetic defects like staining or broken or chipped teeth. They are not the solution for decayed teeth, missing teeth, etc.
Pre- porcelain veneers preparation
Before beginning the procedure for porcelain veneers, you will have a thorough discussion with your cosmetic dentist. He/She will want to know what kind of an image you are trying to project of yourself, how much you want to spend on the procedure, etc. He/She will then create a smile design with the help of specialized software that will create a computer simulation of how you will look after the veneers are placed. Factors like the shape of your face, your hair color, and complexion are considered while creating the smile design.
Ask your dentist any questions you may have about the procedure, its limitations, etc. Once bonded, the color of the veneer cannot be changed. Hence, if you are planning to whiten your teeth, get that done before veneers are placed.
Porcelain veneer procedure
On your first visit after the discussion and finalization of the smile design, your teeth will be prepared by removing a small amount of the front surface of the tooth (about 0.3 to 0.5 millimeter) to make space for the veneer. You will probably be given a local anesthetic for this. Then the dentist takes an impression of your teeth, which will be used to create the veneers. This procedure can take from 1-2 hours, depending on how many teeth you are getting restored.
Between this visit and the next, your teeth will feel a bit rough and strange, but they will look just the same, even from very close up. During this period, brush your teeth well as they can stain easily at this stage. Of course, you can always ask the dentist to place a temporary veneer, but this also means some extra cost.
They will also be sensitive to air and cold stuff. This can be managed to an extent with a coating on the teeth.
On the second visit, you will try the veneer out. The dentist will check if the porcelain veneer meets your esthetic and functional needs. If it doesn't, other try-ins will be arranged until it looks perfect.
Major changes can be done only during the try-in stage. Hence, be sure before you tell the dentist everything's alright. Pay special attention to the color of the veneer. Once the veneers are bonded on, major modifications will require an extra fee.
On your third visit, bonding is done. This will take about an hour or two. This may even be clubbed with your try-in appointment. An elaborate series of steps have to be followed to bond the veneer to the tooth. To place the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with some chemicals to achieve a bond. Special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth and a light beam initiates the release of a catalyst to harden the cement.
Post-porcelain veneer care and precautions
The life of the beautiful porcelain veneers depends a lot on how well you care for them. Though porcelain is long-lasting and the bond between the laminate and the tooth is very strong, please remember that the exposed part of the tooth is still vulnerable to decay.
Here are a few steps to ensure the longevity of your veneers (they can last from 10-20 years with good care):
- Do not snack frequently: it helps tooth decay.
- Brush and floss regularly and diligently.
- If you notice puffiness in the gums or bleeding around the teeth with veneers, get in touch with your dentist.
- Go to the dental clinic at least four times a year for maintenance. This will give your dentist the chance to polish the margins, thus prolonging the veneer's life.
- A porcelain veneer is highly stain-resistant, but coffee, tea, wine, tobacco products, and other chromogenic products can over time stain the cement that is used to bond the veneer and the tooth. This can spoil the aesthetic effect achieved by the veneers. Hence, it would be advisable to avoid such foods.
- Avoid abrasive toothpastes, as they can scratch the margins.
- Porcelain veneers are durable and strong, but they are not designed to withstand sharp impacts. Biting pins, nails, etc., and striking them with hard objects may cause them to break. If you participate in contact sports, wear a mouth protector.
Porcelain veneers vs. implants
The fundamental difference between porcelain veneers and other dental restorations is that very little tooth reduction is needed.
Also, porcelain veneers are used only when it's just the outside of your teeth (the side that shows when you smile) that needs repair. Implants are used to replace a whole tooth. Hence, the functions of veneers and implants are very different.
Porcelain veneer and a dental filling
Dental filling is used to fill cavities and prevent decay within the tooth, whereas veneers are recommended for masking of defects on the frontal surface of teeth.
Resumes of dentists
For your reference, here are the resumes of some accomplished dentists:
Rafael Lorenzana, El Salvador
Narayanan Sreenivasan, Ohio
Angel Serrano, Tijuana, Mexico
Mario Bonilla Robert, Costa Rica
Porcelain veneers in USA vs. abroad
Porcelain veneers in the US generally cost from $300 to $2,000 per tooth. If this is a daunting cost, you can consider going to India, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, or El Salvador for affordable and quality porcelain veneers. You will not only achieve savings of about 60-80% over US prices, but will also be able to pack in a vacation, if you wish to.
Medical Tourism Corporation facilitates affordable porcelain veneers at many international locations including Mexico, India, Thailand, El Salvador, & Costa Rica. Fill out the free estimate request form for a free quote & more information.