A veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer, composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory, and later bonded to the tooth, typically using a resin cement. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.
Stained or discoloured teeth are a major problem for many people. We all start out with beautiful, white teeth but over time, our teeth begin to discolour as a result of many factors. These factors include tea or coffee drinking, food especially curries and nicotine stains as a result of smoking.
Another factor is that of genetics: some people do find that their teeth are prone to staining more than others. Others notice that their teeth start to get yellow or darken with age. Whatever the reasons or level of stain, discoloured teeth are a cause of embarrassment and lack of self-confidence for many people.
If you are one of these people who dread smiling because of the state of your teeth then teeth whitening can help.
Teeth whitening is a form of cosmetic dentistry which uses a bleaching process to remove stains from teeth. This also improves their colour and overall appearance. Scaleing and polishing is required as the first step before teeth whitening. Teeth whitening involves a light or laser, in conjunction with a whitening gel, which helps to speed up the whitening process.
The dentist will cover your gums with a protective gel or cotton material to protect them from any splashes of bleach. You will be given goggles to wear to protect your eyes from the laser beam or bleach. Your dentist will then apply a whitening gel to your teeth. This gel contains a high concentration of peroxide which helps to bleach the teeth white. The dentist will then use a light which emits a beam onto your teeth and so stimulates the bleaching process. This has the effect of speeding the process up. This process can take up to an hour.
Once this is done the dentist will rinse off the whitening gel before reviewing the final result.
Aesthetic fillings and replacement of amalgam fillings
A dental filling is a form of treatment which is carried out to repair a damaged or decayed tooth. The ‘filling’ can be made of composite or silver amalgam.
Nowadays more and more peolple are opting for the composite filling or ‘white filling’ for aesthetic reasons. Rather than showing harsh metal fillings the white fillings blend in well with your natural teeth and can improve your smile and self-confidence. The amalgam filling has come in for a bad press recently as it contains mercury along with other metals. If you are concerned about this then one option is to have your amalgam fillings replaced with white fillings.