A: It’s yes and no. We cannot put veneers on rotten teeth because any type of cosmetic work that we want to last for a long time—we have to make sure the tooth is structurally healthy.
So our process would be to get the tooth healthy first, then, of course, we can do the veneering process after that.
If you’ve been hoping for a new smile that wows your family, friends, and new people you meet—veneers might be your answer. Veneers are a great way to hide minor cosmetic imperfections that don’t affect oral health.
However, if you have issues with your teeth that go beyond cosmetic, such as cavities, or tooth decay—it gets tricky.
You see, veneers don’t correct oral health issues, they are simply a façade that hides stained, slightly misshapen, or slightly crooked teeth. They also hide abnormal gaps or gumlines that might make your smile less than perfect.
The tricky part is, to get veneers, your teeth must be healthy, they may not look great, but they must be structurally sound. Any decay, cavities, or other issues must be corrected before veneers can even be considered.
There’s a good reason for this but to understand that reasoning you need to know what veneers are and why they can make things worse on rotten teeth.
What Are Veneers?
Veneers, in a nutshell, are very thin shells usually made from porcelain or on the low end, a tooth-colored composite. Both materials are shaped to fit flush over your teeth after your tooth surface is shaved down a bit for a proper fit. For that reason, veneers are a permanent decision. You can’t just go from wearing veneers to not wearing them. They are bonded to your teeth for life, even though you may need to replace them every 10-15 years)
What Do They Do?
Veneers are not a new invention—they’ve been around since 1928 and began as an extension of makeup artistry in films. They were used to temporarily alter the expressions of actors in various dramatic performances on film.
Eventually, they were adapted for dental use to permanently improve patients’ smiles. Originally created from acrylic, they are now made from several different materials, the most popular being porcelain.
When You Should (And Shouldn’t) Use Veneers
Veneers are a great option to hide stained teeth that cannot be corrected by whitening. Usually, these are stains that occur beneath the enamel. Some patients also use veneers to conceal an unsightly gap between teeth.
That’s what’s so great about them—they can mask just about any minor cosmetic imperfection with your smile. They are handcrafted and delicately painted to look just like natural teeth, so it’s quite natural-looking.
Additionally, veneers are not an all-or-nothing procedure. You can cover one tooth or several teeth with a partial veneer. These are all options best discussed during your initial consultation, to determine what’s going to work best for your situation.
Who Should Get Veneers?
These lifelike “curtains” for your teeth are perfect solutions for patients that struggle with:
- Irreversibly stained teeth where no other solution has worked sufficiently
- Chipped teeth that are otherwise healthy but misshapen now due to the chip
- Being unhappy overall with their entire smile due to minor cosmetic issues
However, not everyone is a viable candidate for dental veneers. If you struggle with any of these issues, veneers may not be a great choice for you:
- Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
- Cavities that are beyond filling (where extraction is the remedy)
- Advanced gum disease (unless you get it corrected)
- Bite and alignment issues due to severe malocclusion
They Aren’t The Cure, Just The Cover-Up
Patients that struggle with the consequences of bruxism, which is grinding of the teeth, usually aren’t a good fit for veneers. Even if they’re made from composite, bruxism will significantly shorten the lifespan of any veneers your get.
Also, if your natural teeth have major decay or your overall oral health is poor, veneers would be a waste and a hindrance. Veneers do nothing to help with oral health issues, they are solely for cosmetic improvements. So, if you have untreated cavities and advanced periodontitis, veneers will not reverse or stop that. You must get it treated completely first, and then be reevaluated for veneers.
You may come to find out that other procedures like a root canal or a crown are a better option in situations like that.
Finally, crooked teeth are also not corrected through veneers. If the teeth are just slightly crooked, veneers might still be an option. However, significant malocclusions will only be aggravated by veneers and cause more issues.
These conditions must be corrected rather than covered up. Solutions may include procedures such as braces, aligners, or some other orthodontic treatment. Some severe cases may even require maxillofacial surgery.
Proper Veneer Care Is Crucial
Your smile speaks volumes about you as a person. It conveys so many non-verbal clues about how you’re feeling. So you might end up opting for veneers if you are a good candidate.
Once you get veneers, you may think that your smile is now perfect and that’s it, you’re done. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Veneers, especially porcelain ones, require some specialized care in your daily routine. Of course, most of the tips here are things you should already be doing. However, there are a few that you might not realize.
Don’t Rush The Brush
You already know that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. That’s drilled into your head as soon as you can walk. That being said, there’s a difference between rushing through each session and brushing your teeth properly.
What does that entail? Think of your mouth as four quadrants—those of you with Sonicare toothbrushes know where we’re going with this. For the rest of you, you want to spend 30 seconds on each quadrant. So that’s 30 seconds on the lower left, 30 on the upper left, and so on.
Make sure you are brushing both the front-facing surface of your teeth and behind in circular strokes. What you are doing is getting any film and plaque off the surface of your teeth and out of the small crevices. Pay special attention to the molars in the back as they often go neglected and do all the dirty work when chewing.
Brush & Floss—Like Batman & Robin
Plaque is notorious for hiding out in the dark crevices between the teeth that your toothbrush has trouble getting to. Like a good crime-fighting duo, brushing and flossing are a plaque fighting duo—they complement each other.
Floss once a day at the very least to remove trapped particles of food along the gum line. Ideally, you can floss after each meal to prevent buildup. That build-up can start to really get a funky odor to it as the day wears on. If you notice people avoiding being within speaking distance of you, you might want to break out that cinnamon-flavored floss, STAT!
Grab That Mouthwash
When you have dental veneers you want to make sure the remaining tooth enamel you have stays fortified. The best way to do that in addition to common sense brushing and flossing is to use a fluoride mouthwash. We love Smart Mouth brand mouthwash because it adds fluoride. However, it also has ingredients such as zinc that neutralize sulfur compounds in your mouth that cause bad breath.
Don’t Chew Ice Or Use Your Teeth Like A Swiss Army Knife
Do we really have to say this? YES! You’d be surprised how many grown adults come in with chipped teeth from doing things like this. They try to pop a bottle cap with their teeth, bite through a tag on that new Astros jersey they bought, and a lot of other crazy mishaps.
Don’t do that, just because veneers are made from durable porcelain, doesn’t make them stronger than your teeth. If your teeth can be worn down from chewing ice or popping a bottle top, so can your veneers.
Come See Us For Your Smile Not Your Co-Pay.
Another obvious tip but one that so many don’t follow. We’re not after your exam fee, we want to see you every 6 months so we can check on your teeth. If we can catch a problem such as a cavity early on, the more likely we can save a tooth.
The other option can be quite a bit more expensive. Dental implants are great for missing teeth, but you want to avoid losing your teeth in the first place right? We thought so.
So, if you’re considering veneers, or you just need to go ahead and schedule routine care, come to the best dentist in Webster. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!