Dear Dr. K.C.:
I am 55-year-old female and am embarrassed whenever I smile. I had braces when I was a teenager and don’t want braces as an adult. My teeth are moving more and more and are chipping on the edges. I used to have a big smile, but now I only sort of smile to hide my teeth. What can I do?
– Smile Handicapped [sic]
Dear Smile Challenged:
As a cosmetic dentist, I hear someone confess this concern at least a couple of times a week. There is an advanced dental procedure which can rejuvenate a person’s smile in two appointments. This miracle of dentistry is called porcelain veneers.
Porcelain veneers were developed a number of years ago. Their popularity has soared due to state-of-the-art porcelain, advanced materials and improved techniques for fabricating and placing veneers. Porcelain veneers are extremely thin pieces of porcelain which are bonded to the front and edges of your teeth. To prepare the surface of the tooth, a dentist will slightly reduce the tooth to make room for a thin piece of porcelain. In some cases tooth structure does not have to be removed at all. In some cases, no dental anesthetic needs to be given.
Porcelain veneers are used to correct a multitude of problems such as:
- crowded teeth.
- gaps between teeth.
- discolored teeth (such as tetracycline stains or years of abuse such as coffee, smoking etc.).
- chipped or worn teeth from age or a dysfunctional bite.
Porcelain veneers are mainly utilized on the upper and lower front teeth, but in selected cases, they may also be fabricated on back teeth as well. Like all dental procedures you and a dentist should discuss the advantages of veneers as well as other alternative avenues of treatment. 2019 is a great year to renew your smile.