You know your teeth are healthy. Your dentist gave you a clean bill of health. But your teeth just don’t look right. You’ve tried traditional whitening programs. You’ve brushed with whitening toothpaste. You’ve used those whitening trays and strips. You’ve even gone in for special treatments at your dentist. But your teeth still look dull and discolored.
Why Teeth Discolor
There are many reasons why your teeth may not look white. Your lifestyle may contribute to your tooth color. That color starts with the outside layer of your teeth, which is called enamel. This layer is a little bit porous and rather fragile. So what you eat, drink, and generally put in your mouth can affect the enamel of your teeth. Drink a lot of fruit juices and smoothies? Well, that fruit contains acid that may soften your enamel. Plus, many fruits have pigments that can stain the enamel. Smoke or chew tobacco? The tar and nicotine from tobacco seep into the enamel, leaving stains.
In addition, as you age, your enamel layer can thin from eating and brushing, allowing the dentin, the next layer of your tooth, to show through. Finally, some people are just born with discoloration or spots on their teeth. These spots may be white, brown, or even appear purple.
How Tooth Veneers Work
Tooth veneers work just like they sound. They are wafer-thin pieces that Dr. Dennis permanently bonds to the surface of your tooth. After the procedure, your teeth look and feel just like natural teeth. Most people who get tooth veneers do so on the top, front teeth. These are the teeth most likely to be seen during a smile. Veneers cover the discolored face of the tooth and immediately whiten and brighten your whole smile. There are generally two types of tooth veneers: porcelain and resin. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the dentist applies them in different ways.
As the name implies, this type is generally made of porcelain or ceramic material and takes several appointments before you get the look you want. In the first visit, Dr. Dennis will take a cast of the teeth you wish to have covered. Then he will make a replica of the teeth and send them off to the ceramic lab. At the lab, veneers are crafted to fit your teeth exactly. When they are ready, Dr. Dennis will call you back to the office and apply them to your teeth with a permanent bonding agent. When you leave, the teeth will look and feel like your natural teeth.
Resin or Composite Veneers
These veneers are made from a composite material primarily composed of resin. One of the advantages of this type is that you can have them crafted and applied in one visit. For this type, Dr. Dennis chooses a resin color that is white, but most closely matches the other teeth in your mouth. Then he carefully applies the resin to your teeth, sculpting it into a natural shape. When you are both pleased with the look, he shines a special light onto the composite, curing it and permanently bonding it to your teeth. This method works extremely well if you are filling in small chips or imperfections in your teeth.
Caring for Your Veneers
It is important that you not only take care of your veneers, but also take care of the teeth beneath. So, floss every day, and be sure to brush after every meal with the toothpaste your dentist recommends for your type of veneers. Use care when biting or chewing hard objects and avoid anything that puts pressure on the veneer surface, such as biting your nails or chewing ice, pencils or pens.
Find Out if You’re a Candidate for Veneers
Call Dr. Dennis, and sit down to discuss your whitening options to determine if tooth veneers are right for you. You can discuss the types of veneers and see what works best with your mouth and your lifestyle.