Sparkling Smiles – Veneers

“My friend got veneers, Dr. Ford, and I want that smile, too!” is a sentence Dr. Carol Ford hears often. “Before we do cosmetic veneers, I take a tour of their smile to see what is going on right now. After that, we can set goals.” Dr. Ford says.

What would those shining-smile goals include? Smiles and brightness are subjective. And there are many reasons smiles may have dimmed. Teeth that are out of alignment can cast shadows on the neighboring tooth, dulling the whole smile. The amount of root that’s showing can create discoloration. Old crowns often don’t match the teeth anymore, and fillings can darken the tooth as well.

Veneers are porcelain covers for teeth that work much like acrylic nails worn over real fingernails. The veneer masks the color changes that have occurred over time. “The first step to veneers that last is aligning the teeth,” Dr. Ford says.

Most adults who need major alignment changes are referred to an orthodontist. If the changes are minor, Invisiline® braces can work wonders. Clear plastic, computer-generated for a perfect fit, Invisiline® braces fit over your teeth and can be taken out to brush, floss, or eat, but they have to be worn regularly to work. “It can take six to 12 months to get the right effect, but it’s worth it,” Dr. Ford says.

Having straight teeth is not only an element of beauty, but a function of healthy teeth—straight teeth don’t grind on each other or wear excessively. It’s easier to clean them, too.

Once the teeth are aligned, the teeth to be veneered are prepared and the veneers made to exactly fit the teeth. Each tooth that is to receive a veneer is cleaned and etched with an acidic conditioner. A bonding agent is applied to the tooth and allowed to dry. The veneer is then applied with a cement. “Veneers are thin to create a strong bond, in fact, the thinner the veneer, the stronger the bond,” Dr. Ford says.

The average veneer lasts about seven years; the average for Dr. Ford’s office is from 14 to 18 years. “We do a lot of preparation—like the alignment—to make sure the fit is good and the veneers last,” says Dr. Ford. “It pays off in how long the veneers last.”



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