In a perfect world, our teeth would last a lifetime, providing us with decades of brilliant happy smiles. However, given the imperfect world in which we find ourselves teeth often suffer from various forms of damage. They may be chipped or stained, or may be naturally misshapen, or may have unwanted spaces between them. While this is all-natural, it can have a negative effect on our quality of life. For many people, a bright and healthy smile is the source of confidence and positive self-image, and beyond the aesthetic concerns, misspaced or misshapen teeth can cause real dental health problems.
The good news is that there are often easy solutions to misspaced, misshapen, or damaged teeth. Dental veneers are an easy solution in many such cases: a routine procedure with minimal discomfort to the patient which can often be completed in only a few visits to the dentist’s office. But what are dental veneers, and how should you care for them if you have them?
What Are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are, as the name suggests, porcelain or ceramic veneer which is attached to the front side of a tooth to cover up damage or discoloration or to correct for shape or spacing. The procedure generally goes something like this: if your dentist thinks a veneer is right for you, they’ll take a series of images of the damaged tooth and use them to create a porcelain or ceramic veneer of the appropriate size and color. They’ll then reshape your damaged tooth to accept the veneer and fit the veneer to it with a strong dental adhesive. This is generally done with minimal discomfort to the patient–most of the time there’s none at all.
How To Care For Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers restore or correct the appearance of the repaired tooth, they’re not quite as strong as a natural tooth is. As such, there are a few things to bear in mind if you have a dental veneer.
Dental veneers require regular brushing and flossing, along with regular exams and cleanings in the dentist’s office. Just like regular teeth, they need routine care, so don’t ignore them or skip your regular brushing and flossing routine!
Using the right toothpaste can make a big difference. Gritty or abrasive toothpaste can rob veneers of their shine, so a softer toothpaste or gel product may be the right choice for your new dental veneer.
Avoid hard foods or chewing on hard objects. Your dental veneer is intended for a lifetime of use, but it’s not as strong as a natural tooth. Hard foods like carrots or harder candies can damage a veneer. Likewise nervously chewing on pens or pencils, or using your teeth as a bottle opener or ice crusher can cause damage to your veneer. It’s best to avoid such behaviors.
Be careful with alcohol and coffee or other dark-colored beverages. Alcohol can damage the adhesives used to bond the veneer to the tooth, leaving it loose and prone to damage. Coffee and other such dark-colored beverages can discolor your teeth or even your veneer. It’s best to limit the consumption of such things if you have a dental veneer in place.
Avoid grinding your teeth. If you’re prone to tooth grinding at night, a mouth guard may be in order to protect both your veneer and your natural teeth from the damage that grinding can do over the long term. Your dentist can make one for you or you can buy a soft athletic mouthguard from most sports supply stores.
Dental veneers can work wonders for your appearance and save or restore your smile. However, they do require a bit of extra care. By following these tips and making sure that you visit your dentist regularly, you’ll ensure that your veneer–and the rest of your teeth–will last a lifetime!