Many patients experience damage to a tooth or multiple teeth throughout their lives. This damage may be due to tooth decay, or accidents. Whatever the case may be, if a tooth is damaged, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible. This will help to ensure the ongoing health of the tooth, as well as the overall oral health of the patient. For the repair of a damaged tooth, there may be different options that a dentist will consider. The option that they go with will often depend on the severity of the damage, and which options will allow them to repair the tooth while maintaining as much of the natural tooth as possible.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are dental prosthetics that replace a portion of a tooth that has been damaged. A porcelain veneer is a thin laminate that covers the front surface of a tooth.
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Tooth Repair Options
Some of the options that a dentist may consider for the repair of a tooth or teeth include:
- Dental Fillings
- Dental Veneers
- Dental Bonding
- Dental Crowns
For minor damage, a dentist may decide to go with bonding, or a dental filling. Once the damage becomes a bit more intensive, they will often go with a veneer. When the damage is more severe, the dentist may decide to place a dental crown—or even extract the tooth.
If you have a tooth that is beyond minor cosmetic damage but isn’t severely damaged, there is a likelihood that your dentist will opt for the placement of a porcelain veneer.
Why Have a Porcelain Veneer Placed?
Porcelain veneers are often used to repair teeth that are:
Dental veneers help to return the appearance and functionality to the tooth. This means patients can continue to bite and chew much like they did before the damage. Porcelain veneers also help to prevent future tooth decay.
The Porcelain Veneer Placement Process
In order to have a porcelain veneer placed, you’ll first need to visit your dentist to take a look at a tooth that has been damaged. They will check the extent of the damage, and then they will consider repair options that include the placement of a filling, crown, veneer or bonding material.
Once they have decided that a porcelain veneer is the right option, they will decide whether a prep-less or minimal prep veneer is right for you. They will also discuss options for which materials will be used. At this time, you can let your dentist know that you would like to go with porcelain.
The preparation process of the tooth that is being restored will involve the reshaping of the healthy tooth to allow for the placement of the veneer. Your dentist will also make sure to remove any tooth decay. Your dentist will do their best to maintain as much of your healthy tooth as possible during the reshaping process. After the reshaping, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth for the custom creation of your porcelain veneer. Your dentist will then send this away to a lab to have the custom veneer fabricated. Once the custom porcelain veneer is ready, your dentist will have you come in for a fitting and placement.
During this appointment, your dentist will perform a basic cleaning, and will polish the tooth. From there, your dentist will check to make sure the prosthetic fits properly, and matches the look of the tooth and surrounding teeth. Once they are satisfied, they will bond the veneer to the
tooth with a dental cement.
Your dentist may schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the health of the prosthetic, and your comfort.
During the first couple of weeks, it’s normal to experience sensitivity, especially with exposure to hot and cold foods. You’ll also want to have any teeth clenching treated to ensure the health of the prosthetic. There will also be certain harder foods that you’ll want to avoid to ensure the health of the prosthetic. Speak with your dentist about what foods you should avoid to ensure the longevity of the porcelain veneer.
Taking Care of Porcelain Veneers
A porcelain veneer can last upwards of 25 years—if it is properly cared for. This means following the advice above, along with proper oral care. It’s very important to remember that—while the dental veneer is a prosthetic—it is still attached to a natural tooth. This natural tooth can still become infected and decayed. This will, in turn, affect the integrity of the bond between the tooth and veneer.
Make sure to practice general oral healthcare, including brushing, flossing and rinsing twice a day, every day. Also make sure to visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup. If you are experiencing any pain, discomfort or any issues directly involving the prosthetic, set an appointment with your dentist for as soon as possible to have the tooth checked and the prosthetic repaired. The tooth may have become decayed or infected, or the prosthetic may have been damaged in some way. With proper oral healthcare, as well as proper treatment of the porcelain veneer, the dental prosthetic should last as long as a couple of decades!