I hate my smile – Can I make it look better without shaving my teeth down?

Subject: Porcelain Veneers to Improve Your Smile

For many years, the only way to replace chipped, broken, poorly spaced or discolored front teeth was to shave the teeth down and to put crowns on these teeth. Today, dental science has perfected the art of porcelain veneers. These thin ceramic facings allow the cosmetic dentist to provide patients with a beautiful smile utilizing a minimally invasive procedure that retains much of the patient’s own tooth structure. These veneers recreate the look of natural teeth while providing strength and resilience. To fabricate a standard porcelain veneer, the dentist will need to reduce the front portion of the tooth. This reduction of enamel, generally less than 1 millimeter, is necessary in order to allow room for the porcelain restoration.

An impression is taken of the prepared tooth and sent to a special laboratory which will fabricate the veneer. At the insertion visit, the enamel of the tooth will be prepared with a special etchant. After checking for fit and esthetics, the porcelain veneer will then be bonded to the front of the tooth. This very strong bond allows for the veneer to function as if it were a natural tooth.

Modern dental science and advances in ceramic technology has allowed for the use, in certain cases, of what are known as minimal prep or “no-prep” veneers in which even less tooth structure is removed. Porcelain veneers are certainly a consideration for patients who need minor tooth changes, want gaps between teeth closed or have discolored teeth that have not responded to bleaching. Once placed, porcelain or ceramic veneers act and should be treated like natural teeth.