Dental veneers are a popular choice for men and women who want to improve the way their smiles look. With their versatile design and application process, porcelain veneers can correct the appearance of an array of cosmetic flaws to transform your smile, typically in just a couple of office visits. But while porcelain veneers may be best known for their cosmetic applications, there are non-cosmetic reasons to consider veneers as well. In some cases, veneers can be a good alternative to other restorations, like bonding and crowns, but they’re not all interchangeable. Understanding when a veneer might be a good option and when it’s not is an important part of making sure you know all your treatment options. Here are three non-cosmetic reasons to consider veneers.
Repair superficial cracks
Teeth can get cracked for lots of reasons. Some cracks are very serious, threatening the tooth’s integrity and substantially weakening the tooth. In most cases, these teeth need to be covered with a crown that encircles the entire tooth to prevent it from breaking off completely. But lots of cracks aren’t so serious. More minor cracks don’t extend all the way through the tooth, appearing instead in the superficial front layers of tooth materials. While they may not threaten the tooth’s integrity, they still look unattractive. What’s more, any opening in your tooth provides a pathway for bacteria that can wind up causing decay and serious infections. If you don’t treat and seal the crack, you can wind up needing a root canal or even an extraction.
In these instances, a veneer could be a good alternative to a crown. Because veneers are bonded to the surface of a tooth, they can be very effective in sealing off a crack, so bacteria can’t enter the tooth. Plus, the porcelain material helps strengthen the tooth to prevent further damage. While a crown requires significant “grinding down” of the existing tooth to make room for the restoration, a veneer requires only a small amount of tooth material to be removed — just enough to enable the new veneer to rest at the same level as the neighboring teeth. Since more tooth material is retained, the veneer placement process is a lot less invasive than a crown restoration, which means less time spent in the dentist chair.
Restore damaged enamel
Your tooth enamel provides a hard outer “cover” for your teeth, keeping out germs and decay. But even though enamel is tough, it can still wear away and erode over time. Some enamel wear occurs as a result of normal wear and tear, while other enamel damage can be caused by the foods we eat — especially foods high in acids — and our oral hygiene habits. Still other people have naturally thin enamel or enamel that wears more easily. No matter what causes your enamel to wear away, the result is the same: Your teeth are exposed to a much greater risk of decay.
Porcelain veneers can be an excellent way to restore damaged enamel. Resting on the tooth surface, the hard porcelain veneer serves the same purpose as your enamel, providing an impenetrable barrier to decay- and disease-causing bacteria. Plus, porcelain is resistant to acid erosion, which means your “new” tooth surface can be even tougher and stronger than your natural enamel, providing you with years of important protection.
Fill in gaps and uneven spacing
Sometimes, you get a cavity on the chewing surfaces of your teeth, particularly the larger molars in the back of your mouth. But often, cavities form in between teeth, especially the teeth in the front of your mouth. These are called “interproximal cavities,” and they can be a lot more common among people with wider-than-normal spaces between their teeth. Gaps between teeth make it a lot easier for bacteria to reach the interproximal areas, and it’s also a lot easier for sticky plaque and hard tartar deposits to collect on the surfaces between teeth. Plaque and tartar provide protective “harbors” for decay-causing bacteria, and that means if it’s easier for plaque and tartar to form, your risk for cavities can increase substantially. Plus, gaps between teeth can allow acids from foods to penetrate the enamel in the interproximal area, which means it’s even easier for decay to begin.
Veneers are frequently used to “seal” gaps between teeth, making it a lot harder for plaque, tartar and decay-causing bacteria to set up shop. Plus, when your teeth are evenly spaced, it’s a lot easier to care for your teeth and gums, so you can ward off cavities and gum disease, too.
Are veneers right for you?
Veneers can be a great solution for many people, but they’re not always the best choice for repairing damaged teeth. To learn more about the veneers we use at Dr. Darj Dental or to schedule an evaluation and consultation, book an appointment online today.