The Swiss Army knife is an amazing tool. It has a everything built into an innocuous-looking red oval. Dental veneers are just as ingenious. They too have multiple purposes built into the shape of a common tooth.
Veneers are truly one of the most versatile products to treat cosmetic tooth issues. Discolored teeth? Check. Chipped teeth? Check. Misaligned and misshapen teeth? Check and check. It's as simple as placing a wafer-thin porcelain shell over top of the existing tooth to mask all of these problems and to reveal a straighter and whiter smile. It's virtually a one-size-fits-all process.
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But the one thing that veneers and the Swiss Army knife thankfully don't have in common is the blade factor. The placement of veneers is entirely scalpel-and-stitch-free. During the initial consultation, the patient and dentist discuss the desired shape, size and color of the veneered teeth. An x-ray and tooth inspection ensures general oral health. Digital imaging is then used to preview the smile makeover and to ensure the results look natural. A wax mock-up may also be tried in the mouth to ensure a comfortable fit.
During the second appointment, the teeth are gently buffed to remove less than 0.5mm of thickness and allow a fingernail-width of space for the porcelain. If only the enamel (or outer layer) needs to be shaped, then no local anaesthetic is required; however, if the dentin (or middle layer) is exposed, then a numbing agent or general sedation can be used. A mouth impression is also taken to create a mold for the lab. While a ceramist customizes the permanent set, a temporary veneer or protective coating can then be placed for minimizing tooth sensitivity to food temperature and pressure.
The final office visit occurs about a week later, when the temporaries are removed and the final veneers are placed. The teeth are first etched with mild solution to roughen their texture and allow the porcelain to better adhere. The veneers are then adjusted to ensure an exact match, permanently bonded with dental cement, hardened with a curing light and polished to a translucent shine.
With a delivery system that allows the upper and lower arches to be placed at once, the appointment takes only an hour. And the best part is that, with simple daily care, they can last for more than ten years before any touch-ups are needed.
Now you can smile, grin and beam to your heart's content, knowing that your veneers reflect light as naturally as real teeth. You can also bite, chew and nibble any food you like, including darkly colored ones, because veneers are resistant to staining. And you can strut, prance and swagger with the newfound confidence of your enhanced appearance. That's nine things that a single veneer procedure can give you. The Swiss Army knife has a new competitor in the usefulness category. Multi-purpose indeed.
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