Restorative dentistry is restoring decayed teeth in order to bring them back to their best functional and aesthetic health. It also includes the repair or replacement of damaged or defective teeth. Before any work is done an x-ray of the area would be taken. If there is a recent x-ray, the dentist reviews them to establish a treatment plan. Once that is done and the area is numb the dentist will begin by removing the decay. Then a filling is used to fill in the area of a tooth that has been drilled out (the cavity).
What are veneers?
Veneers are very thin shells that are attached to the front part of teeth. They are often made of porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are stronger than composite resin veneers and do not change color or stain. Generally, porcelain veneers take at least 2 dental visits. Porcelain veneers generally last longer than composite resin veneers.
With porcelain veneers, your dentist may give you a local anesthetic. Your dentist then removes a thin layer of the enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. Then your dentist makes a mold of your teeth. This mold is used to custom‐make your porcelain veneers. In the meantime, your dentist may place temporary veneers to replace the portion of the tooth that was removed. These are worn until your porcelain veneers are ready. The temporary veneers are very fragile and need to be treated gently during eating and cleaning as they come loose very easily.
On your next visit, your dentist removes the temporary veneers and puts a mild chemical on your teeth to make them a little rough. This helps the porcelain veneers stick to your teeth better. The porcelain veneers are then glued to your teeth one by one, using composite resin cement.
Who can get veneers?
Not everyone is a good candidate for veneers. Here are some reasons why your dentist may suggest treatments other than veneers:
- If a tooth has decay or is in an area that has periodontal disease (gum disease). These problems must be treated first.
- If a tooth has little enamel left, a veneer will not stick to it properly.
- If too much of the tooth is missing, a crown may be another option.
- If a person grinds or clenches his or her teeth. This habit is called bruxism and can chip or break porcelain veneers.
What else should I know?
Just like your natural teeth, your veneered tooth needs to be brushed and flossed daily. Once you have veneers, you cannot reverse the treatment because part of your enamel has been removed. If a veneer chips or peels off, or if a cavity forms under a veneer, the veneer must be redone. The other option is to put a crown on the tooth. Constantly grinding or clenching your teeth may cause your bonding or veneers to chip or break. Porcelain veneers and bonded teeth can be chipped if you are not careful when biting or tearing into hard or chewy foods. Do not bite hard objects like ice cubes or fingernails. Cosmetic dental treatments like bonding or veneers might not be covered by your dental plan. You may be responsible for those costs yourself.