Traditional Porcelain Veneers and Other Minimal/”No-Prep” Veneers
There are two common forms of Veneers. The first is the traditional Porcelain Veneer, where a shell or layer of tooth-colored porcelain or composite is affixed to the surfaces of your teeth in order to correct worn tooth enamel, incorrect tooth alignment or spacing, discoloration, and chips or cracks. Next are the minimal preparation and “no-prep” alternatives, such as Lumineers, Durathin and Vivaneers, which are bonded to the front surface of the tooth using an adhesive. These minimal preparation and “no-prep” options usually do not require as much reduction to the tooth as traditional porcelain veneers for proper placement, although there are certain cases which may require minimal reduction of the tooth surface.
Dental veneers are placed in the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create bright, white smiles with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. However, like most cosmetic procedures, they provide a benefit to your dental health as well, by protecting the surface of damaged teeth and may reduce or eliminate the need for more extensive treatments. Veneers are noted for their durability, an improved smile, and the need for much less removal of the tooth’s structure compared to crowns.
When do I need veneers?
The removal of any natural tooth structure is permanent, and many cosmetic dentists today typically try to offer patients the most minimally invasive options first. If your natural teeth are functionally and aesthetically adequate, dental veneers may not be the appropriate treatment for you.
However, if you suffer from severely dull or discolored teeth, Dr. Khodai may recommend treatment options such as porcelain dental veneers or composite veneers. Veneers have the added benefit of longevity over some treatment options, and they have a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile, and other facial features that are supported by properly shaped teeth.
Veneers vs. Teeth Whitening
Porcelain dental veneers or direct composite veneers may require the “shaping” or “prepping” (the process of removing enamel) of all teeth being treated. Therefore, it is sometimes recommended by cosmetic dentists to first try teeth whitening for individuals with mildly discolored teeth and want a whiter or brighter smile because it is the one of the least invasive cosmetic dentistry options. If you have crooked teeth or alignment issues also, whitening may be combined with orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign.
Uses of cosmetic dental veneers
Dental veneers may be used to correct a large variety of cosmetic dental issues, including:
- Worn Enamel — Over time, the thin layer of enamel that covers your teeth may become worn, dull, or discolored. Wear and discoloration may be by natural causes or the result of a genetic predisposition. However, it more often results from the consumption of soft drinks, tea, or coffee and from smoking or the use certain medications, etc.
- Wear and Tear — It’s a fact, teeth naturally wear down as people age. Aged teeth are known to have higher occurrences of chips, cracks, or a generally uneven appearance.
- Genetics — People are born with spacing between their teeth that widens with age.
- Uneven Teeth — Uneven teeth can be caused by tooth grinding or from general wear and tear.
Two of the most common materials used to create dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain. Indirect (created outside of your mouth) porcelain veneers and composite veneers are made by a trained dental technician in a dental laboratory and applied later to your teeth. Direct (created on your teeth) composite veneers are crafted by Dr. Khodai during your appointment.
Porcelain dental veneers are traditionally used to treat severe cases involving dullness, wear, discoloration, extensive chipping, cracking, spacing or uneven teeth.
Composite bonding (or just bonding) is an inexpensive, effective, and minimally invasive method of correcting small chips, cracks, or discoloration on your teeth.
Porcelain Veneers vs. Lumineers, Vivaneers, Durathin Veneers, Etc.
The placement of traditional porcelain veneers typically requires Dr. Khodai to remove some of your tooth structure, sometimes beyond the outer layer of the tooth (enamel), making it an irreversible procedure. However, some porcelain veneers which are available today can be placed completely within the enamel in a minimally invasive and possibly “no preparation” way.
Additionally, whereas traditional porcelain veneer procedures typically require an injection of local anesthetic to your gum, this might not be necessary if your dentist is able to place the veneers within enamel. Your level of sensitivity will determine if the usage of anesthesia is optional.
Undergoing a minimal preparation veneer procedure — such as for Lumineers, Durathin Veneers, or Vivaneeers — may also require tooth modifications like with traditional porcelain veneers, depending on the condition and position of the teeth being treated. However, such modifications are minimal, affecting only the enamel of your teeth, with no penetration into the dentin (layer of tooth substance beneath your enamel).
Care and Maintenance of Dental Veneers
Despite the durability of porcelain veneers, care must be taken not to abuse the veneers because the thin porcelain shells or composite layers may be damaged or break.
Dr. Khodai may also advise you against certain uses or dietary tendencies (such as eating carrots), depending on your specific situation, and may recommend you wear a protective appliance while sleeping, especially if you suffer from bruxism (teeth-grinding).
Dr. Neda Khodai and Veneers
Dr. Neda Khodai at Barranca Dental Excellence is renowned for her skill with veneers. As a dentist in Irvine, she understands the unique needs of her patients for an aesthetically-pleasing and effective solution, while maintaining affordability. Together you will set goals for your dental health and smile that are not just achievable, but long lasting.
If you want more information on Veneers and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Khodai, or if you need a dentist in Irvine, click below to get in touch with Barranca Dental Excellence.
Information in this article references the work of Greg Johnstone and Dennis J. Wells, DDS in their article “Porcelain Dental Veneers Information” as well as Nayda Rondon and Thomas E. Dudney, DMD in their article “Lumineers, Durathin, Vivaneers and Other Minimal and “No-Prep” Veneers”