With the desire of an orange county smile, veneers are often placed to cover tooth discoloration, improve smiles and brighten teeth color. They are an excellent way to conservatively mask any undesired defects that individuals may have as a result of being on certain medications, or due to injury or some other traumatic event.
Placing veneers may take several appointments, it will require proper diagnosis, planning the treatment and deciding how the veneer will be placed.
What happens at the first/second appointment?
The teeth are prepared for the placement of the veneer. A small amount of the natural tooth is removed, so that the veneer can be added on top of the natural tooth. If the veneers are made of ceramic, a temporary veneer will be placed and the impression will be sent to the laboratory. At the second appointment, the permanent veneer will be placed. At this appointment, it will be crucial to check the color, shape and feel before cementation.
Veneers are simple to maintain just like natural teeth. Just like natural teeth, avoid grinding your teeth or chewing things extremely hard, such as ice or hard candy. Initially, you will go through a period of getting used to the new teeth, however after about one-two weeks the veneer will feel comfortable.
Why Teeth Whitening? Examining Enamel
Most of us start out with sparkling white teeth, thanks to their porcelain-like enamel surface. Composed of microscopic crystalline rods, tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acid attacks caused by sugar. But over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin – the tooth’s core material – to show through.
During routine chewing, dentin remains intact while millions of micro-cracks occur in the enamel. It is these cracks, as well as the spaces between the crystalline enamel rods, that gradually fill up with stains and debris. As a result, the teeth eventually develop a dull, lackluster appearance.
Teeth whitening removes the stains and debris, leaving the enamel cracks open and exposed. Some of the cracks are quickly re-mineralized by saliva, while others are filled up again with organic debris.
Tooth Discoloration: The Two Types of Tooth Stains
There are two categories of staining as it relates to the teeth: extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.
Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear. Superficial extrinsic stains are minor and can be removed with brushing and prophylactic dental cleaning. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth bleaching. Persistent extrinsic stains can penetrate into the dentin and become ingrained if they are not dealt with early.
Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals (like tetracycline) during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. In the past, it was thought that intrinsic stains were too resistant to be corrected by bleaching. Today, cosmetic dentistry experts believe that even deep-set intrinsic stains can be removed with supervised take-home teeth whitening that is maintained over a matter of months or even a year.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
- Age:Over the years, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation.
- Starting Color:We are all equipped with an inborn tooth color that ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey, and intensifies over time.
- Translucency and Thinness:These are also genetic traits that become more pronounced with age.
- Eating Habits:Acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar contribute to enamel erosion. As a result, the surface becomes more transparent and more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.Nicotine leaves brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
- Drugs & Chemicals:Tetracycline usage during tooth formation produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are very difficult to remove.
- Smoking:Nicotine leaves brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.
- Grinding:Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding (gnashing, bruxing, etc.) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.
- Trauma:Falls and other injuries can produce sizable cracks in the teeth, which collect large amounts of stains and debris.