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June 11 2011

There are Several Types of Dental Veneers to Brighten Your Smile

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Cosmetic dentistry offers many choices for repairing less than perfect smiles. Dental veneers are one of the most in-demand cosmetic dentistry types of procedures done because they can make even mis-aligned teeth appear straighter and brighten a smile at the same time. They can fill in unsightly gaps and cover permanent stains. Unlike teeth whitening which requires periodic reapplication, veneers provide a semi-permanent cosmetic solution.

Featuring what amounts to a second chance for a smile, dental veneers have been a viable solution to unsightly teeth for many years, so the procedure has gone through multiple manifestations, and the number of options available has expanded. The many types available differ in terms of price, procedure, longevity and durability.
There are two basic types: porcelain and composite resin. Porcelain veneers consist of a thin, fully translucent ceramic shell that is shaped from an impression then bonded to teeth. Composite resin starts in a relatively soft, flexible state. It is form fit to the shape of teeth before being hardened using special blue light. Costs vary for reasons ranging from clinic location to the aesthetic and specialised skill of the sculptor and dentist. The material also plays a major role in the cost. Composites run between $250 and $1,500 per tooth, while porcelain may cost anywhere from $900 to $2,500 per shell.  
Although costlier, most people opt for porcelain because of their durability, their more natural appearance and their stain resistance. On the flipside, porcelain – unlike composite resin – is not repairable. In most cases, the procedure requires a minimum of two office visits, while composite resin veneers can be created and affixed on a single visit. With the proper care, porcelain veneers may last from ten to twenty years, while composite resin types may last up to seven. However, the composite resin is prone to staining after only a couple of years, hence the waning popularity.

Lumineers are a relatively new arrival on the scene and provide another option. They are a brand of ultra-thin porcelain veneer that requires less tooth preparation than standard porcelain. This means no anesthetic, drilling, shaving or pain. They can last up to twenty years, and can be taken off readily without leaving a damaged tooth behind, in case one changes their mind.
An office visit will typically last anywhere from one to three hours. For regular porcelain veneers, the initial visit entails a dental examination, preparation, forming an impression and the possible fitting of temporary veneers. Preparation involves shaving off a thin layer of tooth enamel in order to achieve a natural look once the porcelain shells are attached. This procedure usually requires a local anesthetic, although full sedation dentistry is not required. On a second visit, the custom-made veneers are permanently bonded to the tooth enamel.
Composite resin veneers are formed and fitted on a single visit. As with porcelain, a thin layer of enamel is slowly removed and the bonding agent is applied. The composite resin is then affixed, cured, finished and polished.
Nearly all customers are delighted with the results. Smiles of pleasure are brighter and more confident, as unsightly features of one’s natural teeth are disguised. In most cases, a computer-generated preview of what teeth will look like following your procedure is available, giving one a vision of the future.

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As with almost any purchase these days, it can really pay to shop around. Especially in a metro area, there may be numerous practices that offer the service, so competition will cause prices to vary, and specials may be available as well. It’s important to remember, too, that cosmetic dentistry is no replacement for proper dental care. Daily brushing and flossing and twice-annual cleanings are still necessary. In addition, people with dental veneers should avoid chewing on hard items like ice, nuts or other food that could cause them to crack.

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