All New Yorkers want beaming white smiles, but life can get in the way of that goal.
Coffee, tea, wine, and other popular beverages stain teeth. A smoking habit will discolor teeth as well. Some people grind their teeth in their sleep or when they’re stressed, leading to further damage.
Even if you abstain from staining liquids and smoking and don’t grind your teeth, just eating sugary foods and getting lazy with your oral hygiene routine is enough to seriously mar the appearance of your smile. You only get one chance to keep your natural tooth material white and shiny. Enamel doesn’t grow back.
Thankfully, modern dentistry has a solution to all the wear and tear our teeth have to deal with day in and day out. With the use of dental veneers, damaged teeth can look flawless after just a few trips to the dentist.
Porcelain Veneers: The Basics
Dental veneers are porcelain facings that are bonded to teeth to correct undesirable shape or color.
Tribeca Advanced Dentistry uses two different kinds of porcelain in our veneers: feldspathic porcelain and e.max. Feldspathic porcelain is used for thin veneers, when the damage being corrected is minor and relatively little tooth structure needs to be altered.
E.max is stronger than feldspathic porcelain and is used when the aesthetic or structural damage to a given tooth is more significant and therefore more tooth material must be replaced. It’s also a good option for those who have a tendency to grind or clench their teeth, as this behavior would eventually fracture or crack weaker veneers.
Veneers vs. Crowns
Dental veneers are sometimes called partial crowns, depending on how much structure needs to be replaced.
What exactly is the difference between a veneer and a crown? To understand that difference, fist you have to understand how a tooth is composed. Each tooth has 5 surfaces – the biting surface, and the 4 sides of exposed tooth around that biting surface.
The difference between veneers and crowns is that veneers replace 2 sides of the tooth, while crowns cover up more surfaces.
One way to think of it is that veneers replace 180 degrees of a tooth, while crowns replace all 360 degrees. Crowns are also made of e.max, and we often use them in conjunction with e.max veneers to restore multiple teeth at once. Dental technology is advanced enough today for many crowns and veneers to be placed at the same time and blended to the point where you can’t tell the difference between a set of natural teeth and a set of altered teeth.
The Typical Dental Veneer Procedure
Veneers are usually installed for aesthetic reasons, so the first step of the process is to sit down with the patient and talk about their aesthetic goals, what kind of smile they want to achieve. Visual aids help here – Dr. Malkin encourages patients to bring old pictures of themselves when their smile was at their best, or else maybe bring a picture of a celebrity’s smile that you want to emulate.
After this initial consultation, we’ll inform you of all the fees associated with this procedure, so you won’t be surprised by anything later on.
Then, we’ll take pictures of your teeth from many different angles, which will help us determine what kind of structure will look best. We’ll also make a mold of your teeth and take some other measurements.
All these pictures and measurements are sent to the dental lab. Here, a mock-up of the veneers is created that can be presented to you as a sample. For some patients, this mock-up can even be placed in their mouths to provide an extremely accurate projection of what their appearance will look like post-veneer.
The next step is for the patient to come in for the actual procedure of preparing for veneers. Depending on the amount of teeth that are being worked on, this can take quite some time. We can arrange for an anesthesiologist to come in for patients who are anxious about drawn-out dental procedures, and we also offer sleeping pills at no charge as a more affordable form of sedation. Nitrous gas is available as well.
To prepare for dental veneers, a small amount of natural tooth material has to be removed. After that, temporary veneers are placed on the teeth. These temporary veneers are made based on the lab mock-up, so they look very closely to what the final veneers will look like.
In 3 days to a week after applying temporary veneers, once all numbness has worn off, the patient returns and we take pictures of how the temporary veneers look and record any thoughts or concerns the patient has with the veneers at this stage (this information is used to improve the final veneers).
It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for the dental lab to fabricate final veneers. The patient is numbed again, and then the final veneers are tried on. Here, the patient gets one last chance to note any changes they want to make (if this is the case, the final veneers are sent back to the lab for alterations).
When the patient is happy, the veneers are cemented. In 2 to 4 hours, the final veneers are set and the process is complete.
As a Prosthodontist Dr. Malkin can see the Big Picture
Dr. Malkin of Tribeca Advanced Dentistry has been trained as a prosthodontist, a dental specialist who undertook rigorous 3-year post-graduate residency program where she was trained in aesthetic and reconstructive dentistry.
Dr. Malkin’s training helps her to see the mouth as a whole – even when a patient comes in complaining about one particular area, she assesses the entire mouth, because any action taken on one part of the mouth can have effects on the other parts.
This level of insight allows Dr. Malkin to create long-term roadmaps for individual patients, detailing every procedure that could be used now and in the future (whenever time and financial restraints allow) to improve one’s smile.
Another factor that makes Dr. Malkin one of your best options for veneers in NYC is that she has well over a decade of experience performing this procedure.
The Pros and Cons of Lumineers
Many patients ask us about Lumineers which is widely marketed by DenMat company, their producer. Tribeca Advanced Dentistry doesn’t use Lumineers based on our assessment that the drawbacks outweigh their advantages in most cases.
Lumineers, which are made of feldspathic porcelain, are what is known as “prepless” veneers. They are more convenient to apply and, unlike traditional veneers, Lumineers are reversible. But with those advantages come some drawbacks as well.
The quality of the material in these veneers isn’t as strong as our other offerings, so only a small amount of our patients qualify for this particular product (to be a viable candidate for Lumineers, a patient must not have any cavities, and they also need small teeth and sizable spaces between their teeth).
The problem with Lumineers is that when they are bonded to teeth they make the teeth very thick and create a ledge at the gum line. This irritates the gums and creates an ideal space for plaque to collect, leading to inflammation, tooth decay, and other oral health complications down the road. Please read this excellent discussion of Lumineers for further information about their advantages and disadvantages comapred with traditional dental veneers.
In the vast majority of cases, we recommend traditional veneers over prepless veneers. If you have any questions about Lumineers, dental veneers in general, or anything else related to dentistry in the New York City area, feel free to contact us and ask.
See before and after photos of porcelain veneers