Dental veneers are a popular cosmetic dental procedure. Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the front surface of the patient’s teeth to improve the appearance of the tooth. Veneers can be a very effective option for many cosmetic issues.
Veneers are an excellent choice for correcting discolored teeth that do not respond well to bleaching or whitening. Teeth that are darkened or discolored due to stains on the interior of the tooth rather than on the surface generally cannot be bleached with teeth whitening products. For example, teeth that have turned gray due to tetracycline will not respond to teeth whitening. Veneers work well to hide these types of dark or stained teeth.
Veneers are also often used as an alternative to orthodontics for moderately misaligned teeth. Veneers can be shaped so that the teeth appear straight without the time, discomfort, and hassle of braces. With veneers, the patient does not have to wear a retainer to maintain the position of their teeth.
Veneers can fill in gaps between teeth and provide length and fullness to short or misshapen teeth. If the teeth are severely worn, a cap or crown may be a better choice than veneers.
Results are immediate and often dramatic with veneers. Placement generally takes two visits to your cosmetic dentist. During the first visit, your cosmetic dentist will prepare the surface of your teeth and take an impression which will be sent to a lab where the veneers will be made. Once the veneers are ready, a second appointment is scheduled and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. You will walk out of the dentist’s office after the second appointment with your dazzling new smile.
The aisles of your local drugstore are crowded with teeth whitening products such as whitening strips, gels, and pastes. Most of these products provide some whitening, but for truly effective teeth whitening, see your local cosmetic dentist. It may cost a little more, but you will see much better results.
Teeth whitening products available over the counter use bleaching agents similar to those in professional grade products that your dentist uses, but in much lower concentrations. Since they are not as strong as professional strength whitening products, they take much longer to achieve the same results. You will usually see several shades whiter in a single visit to your dentist but it could take a week or more of daily use of over the counter products to get the same results.
In addition, results with over the counter teeth whitening products can be blotchy or uneven. The whitening strips don’t come in contact with the entire surface of the tooth and leave yellowed areas behind. They also do not reach your back teeth, only the surface of your front teeth. Whitening trays are better, but since they are one-size-fits- all they still are not as effective as professionally applied whitening products used by your cosmetic dentist.
If you have tooth colored fillings or bonding, you definitely need to see your dentist before whitening your teeth. The composite material used for these fillings and for bonding is not affected by teeth bleaching products. When the filling or bonding was done, your dentist carefully selected a color to match the color of your teeth. If you whiten your teeth, composite fillings and bonding will look yellow compared to your natural teeth.
Finally, teeth whitening will be most effective if done after your teeth have been cleaned and during the whitening procedure your cosmetic dentist will be better able to protect your gums and lips from the whitening agent and help you with any tooth sensitivity issues.
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