Porcelain veneers are a popular cosmetic choice for persons with stained, discolored or otherwise less-than-perfect teeth. However, there are occasional problems that arise with porcelain veneers, many of which are caused by mistakes during preparation or installation by general dentists. Below is more information on some of these as well as why you should utilize a skilled cosmetic dentist when your porcelain veneers give you problems:
Possible problems associated with inadequately-installed porcelain veneers
While many patients experience satisfactory results when getting porcelain veneers from general dentists, there are several possible problems that can arise due to an unfamiliarity with the nuances of cosmetic dentistry. Below are possible problems that may indicate a need for renewed professional attention to your porcelain veneers:
Porcelain is a strong, durable and inert material that can last for decades, if treated correctly. However, porcelain is essentially a type of glass, and like most glass, it is brittle and can chip if exposed to sharp, direct blows. Most instances of chipping with porcelain veneers involve lack of patient care; for example, biting on hard foods, such as nuts and candies, can lead to chipping. However, some porcelain veneers can chip if they are made too thin. If you have chips in your porcelain veneers, and have been in compliance with directions regarding care of your teeth, an evaluation of the thickness of your veneers may help determine if they were properly-sized.
Porcelain is a strongly stain-resistant material, and properly-glazed veneers should not become discolored due to food consumption. In most cases, stains that appear are due to the erosion of the glaze coating over the porcelain; this erosion can occur if the glaze wasn't applied correctly or if it was removed due to an overly-abrasive dental procedure. You should suspect a problem with your glazing if staining occurs on the flat surfaces of your veneers.
If staining occurs along the margins of the porcelain veneers, where they meet your natural teeth, it is also possible that they were not properly bonded and are not protected by glaze. Staining can occur in this area from exposure to several food and drink items, but it can also happen if a patient uses certain types of mouthwash.
Another sign of trouble is the development of a persistent foul odor from the site of the veneer application. If the veneer is lifting from the tooth or was not completely sealed against the surface of the tooth, then bacteria can invade the tiny space between the tooth and veneer. Normal tooth brushing may not be adequate to eliminate this odor, though some temporary success can be experienced by using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash.
How to get help for your porcelain veneers
For the most part, the above problems with porcelain veneers require the intervention of a professional. The application of veneers is considered a permanent dental procedure, and correction will likely involve removal and replacement by a specialist. That is why you should seek the help of a cosmetic dentist if you experience any of the problems with your porcelain veneers.
While porcelain veneers may be applied by any licensed dentist in the United States, it is important to recognize there is a fundamental difference between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. General dentists are trained to treat structural flaws in the teeth, while cosmetic dentists are specialists in appearance dentistry; as a result, not all general dentists are fully familiar with how to improve the overall "look" of your teeth. On the other hand, because cosmetic dentists commonly work with veneers, they have the expertise and in-depth knowledge necessary to both install and fix porcelain veneers.
In addition, your cosmetic dentist can serve as an advocate for your care, and they are often able to work with your general dentist to resolve any problems. The care of your teeth is best served when it is handled as a team approach. Ultimately, your general dentist and cosmetic dentist working together will preserve both your oral health and personal appearance.
For more information, contact a local cosmetic dentistry clinic.