What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers, also termed dental veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are one of cosmetic dentistry’s more recent developments. Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells of porcelain that can be bonded onto the front side of teeth to make a cosmetic improvement in the teeth’s appearance. Porcelain veneers are routinely used to idealize teeth that are:
1. Stained or discolored
5. Alternative to orthodontic treatment
For decades dentists have had available to them materials that can create a durable bond to tooth enamel. These bonding materials are used to securely attach a thin sheet of porcelain (the porcelain veneer) to a tooth. Although porcelain is inherently brittle, when it is firmly bonded to a sturdy substructure (a tooth) it becomes very strong and durable.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
The use of porcelain veneers are gaining immense popularity due to the ease of applying one of these veneers on, and also the long-lasting benefits that porcelain veneers have in enhancing your appearance.
Realistic Appearance – One property of the teeth’s enamel covering is that it is translucent. This means that when light strikes a tooth’s surface it is not immediately reflected off, but instead penetrates into the thickness of the enamel. This property of translucency is an important part of what gives teeth their characteristic appearance. Historically the cosmetic dental bonding materials dentists have had available to them were only semi-translucent which didn’t give a realistic appearance since the light striking the tooth did not penetrate into the bonding layer but instead was reflected off the bonding’s outer surface. Although, the bonding improved the teeth, the sense of depth projection did not give the teeth its characteristic translucency. Porcelain veneers are glass-like, which have a great advantage over other types of cosmetic dental bonding by the fact that they are translucent. When they are bonded onto a tooth’s surface they mimic the light handling characteristics of enamel. This translucency effect provides a sense of depth, and thus a very life-like appearance.
Resists Staining – In the past, cosmetic dental bonding materials were susceptible to staining and discoloring. This was especially a problem for those people whose teeth had excessive exposure to tea, coffee, red wine, or cigarette smoking. A significant advantage of porcelain veneers is related to the fact that a porcelain veneer’s surface is just that, porcelain. Since porcelain is a ceramic, and therefore glass-like, its surface is extremely smooth and impervious – this means that the surface of a porcelain veneer will not pick up permanent stains.