Porcelain Veneers Create Dramatic "Smile Makeovers"

DR. JERRY GORDON
Porcelain Veneers Create Dramatic "Smile Makeovers"  

Recently, Porcelain Laminate Veneers or simply "veneers" received national attention when discussed by a prominent New York dentist on Barbara Walter's television show "The View." Veneers are custom-made porcelain wafers that the dentist places over the fronts of the teeth to enhance their appearance and repair damage. 

Veneers can dramatically change a person's smile and help improve their self-confidence. In the 1920's and 30's, actors, actresses and other performers would often go to the extreme measure of having their teeth extracted and dentures (false teeth) made to improve their smile. Fortunately, this radical procedure has given way to veneers, a far more conservative approach. Veneers are what give many Hollywood movie stars that dazzling smile we see on the silver screen. People seek cosmetic dentistry for many reasons. Some want to look younger, and veneers can quickly "reverse" the natural aging process of the teeth. For them, veneers are a facelift for their teeth. Others, the majority, have had unattractive teeth their whole lives, and have always felt self-conscious because of them. They will rarely smile, which can often hide a warm side of their personality.

Veneers can be used to improve a wide variety of cosmetic dental problems. They can whiten stained or discolored teeth, close gaps between teeth, "correct" a crooked smile without the need for braces, repair chips and imperfections, and create a more attractive or youthful looking smile. The procedure usually involves removing only a thin amount of the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel. The dentist then takes molds (impressions) of the mouth. Temporary veneers are then placed for the patient to wear while the permanent veneers are being made. Next, the laboratory carefully crafts the porcelain into veneers. The dentist then bonds the veneers onto the fronts of the teeth, improving both their appearance and strength. The procedure takes only about two weeks from start to finish.

There is no doubt that veneers are an excellent option, but how about the cost? That largely depends on how many veneers are required to produce the desired results. In most cases, a minimum of six veneers are needed, and are usually placed on the upper six front teeth, from the canine (sometimes known as the eye tooth) on your right side, to the canine on your left side. Prices vary, but an average fee for most cases will run several thousand dollars.

Before you make an investment this important, you should consider the following: Is the dentist experienced in cosmetic dentistry and has he or she taken advanced continuing education courses in current techniques? Can you see before and after pictures and testimonial letters of people who have had similar treatment in the past? Does the dentist have imaging or presentation devices to help demonstrate how the procedure is done, and what results might be expected? If the answer is no to these questions, you might consider getting a second opinion.

Porcelain veneers have been the most significant advancement in cosmetic dentistry this decade. They are both esthetic and durable. They are not, however, appropriate for every person seeking cosmetic dentistry. Many times, gentle shaping of the teeth, and tooth whitening will give you the results you are looking for. The most important thing is that you and your dentist talk about what outcome you expect, and you explore all the alternatives available in the exciting area of cosmetic dentistry.
Courtesy of DentalComfortZone.comDr. Jerry Gordon