Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells of porcelain which are securely bonded onto the front side of teeth so to make a cosmetic improvement in their appearance. Porcelain veneers are routinely used to enhance teeth that are discoloured, worn, chipped or misaligned. The veneers are extremely strong and durable and the cosmetic results are remarkable.
Two of the greatest advantages of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental fillings are:
1) Porcelain veneers create a very life-like tooth appearance.
You might be surprised to learn that teeth are made of different layers. The enamel component of a tooth is only the outer shell. One property of this enamel covering is that it is translucent (see-through). This means that when light strikes a tooth's surface it is not immediately reflected off, but instead penetrates through into the orange/brown dentine layer beneath. The light is then further reflected from this. This property of translucency is an important part of what gives teeth their characteristic appearance.
In the past, the cosmetic dental adhesives dentists used were only semi-translucent. This meant that most of the light striking the tooth did not penetrate into the dentine layer but was reflected off the adhesive's outer surface. The net result was an improved appearance. However, there was no sense of depth projected and no sense of a tooth's characteristic translucency.
Light striking a modern porcelain veneer will penetrate its thickness, and then subsequently be reflected back out once it has reached the adhesive and tooth structure lying underneath the veneer. We are now able to select the precise translucency of the dental adhesive we use in each individual case. Using this translucency effect provides a sense of depth, and thus a very life-like appearance to give us the perfect cosmetic result.
2) Porcelain veneers resist staining.
A significant advantage of porcelain veneers over other types of cosmetic dental bonding is related to the fact that a porcelain veneer's surface is just that, porcelain. Since porcelain is a ceramic, and therefore glass-like, its surface is extremely smooth and impervious. This means that the surface of a porcelain veneer will not pick up permanent stains.
This even applies to those patients who have excessive exposure to tea, coffee, red wine, or cigarette smoking.
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