A PAINLESS MAKEOVER by Brian P. Midgette, D.D.S.
We enjoy doing a lot of cosmetic dental makeovers at Midgette Family Dentistry. People are taking a greater interest in the way they look, realizing that the appearance of their smile is important for both personal and professional success. A roadblock for many is the expense and discomfort associated with significant dental procedures.
One of the most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedures is porcelain veneers. High quality porcelain veneers can be very expensive, about $1,000 per tooth, but the results can be life-changing. Additionally, nice porcelain veneers are very demanding of the dentist, requiring much skill and patience.
As far as discomfort is concerned, traditional porcelain veneers require numbing of the teeth and gums, as usually the teeth must be slightly shaved down to accommodate the layer of porcelain. Also, temporary veneers must be worn while the laboratory is making the porcelain veneers. Transient tooth sensitivity is common during the temporary veneer stage as well as after the final veneers are cemented into place because some enamel has been removed. This sensitivity usally dissipates after a few days to a few weeks. Again, these veneers can be beautiful and most patients feel that the temporary discomfort is worth it.
There have been advancements in the arena of porcelain veneers over the last few years. There are newer porcelains that allow the veneer to be made extremely thin, about the thickness of a contact lens. Thinner porcelain means that often very little or no drilling on the tooth structure is required. Little or no drilling means no need for numbing and no need for temporary veneers. These thinner veneers (referred to as "Lumineers" by the lab that produces them), although very thin, are extremely strong once bonded to the tooth's enamel. This development will hopefully reduce the downside of having dental veneers done.
Veneers are a great treatment for straightening crooked teeth, lengthening short teeth, changing tooth color, and closing spaces between teeth. Hopefully these patient-friendly "Lumineers" will allow more people to beautify their smile in total comfort.