Cosmetic Smile Enhancement


What are porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramics, which are bonded to the front of the teeth. This virtually painless procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Highly resistant to permanent staining from coffee, tea or even cigarette smoking, the wafer-thin porcelain veneers can achieve a tenacious bond to the tooth, resulting in an esthetically pleasing naturalness that is unsurpassed by other restorative options.

Why would you recommend a porcelain veneer?
Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth's colour, size or shape. In most instances they are not a substitute for braces.

Am I a candidate for porcelain veneers?

Patients must have a fairly sound tooth structure. Those with periodontal disease or whose teeth are severely broken down, or have little or no enamel remaining are not ideal candidates for porcelain veneers. If you clench or grind your teeth, you can cause the veneers to fracture on their edges. A night guard whilst sleeping may be necessary. Veneers may not last as long for these patients.

How long will they last?

Generally veneers will last for many years, and the technique has really shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.

What happens during the procedure?
Generally, patients need three appointments for the entire procedure: Diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation and bonding.

Diagnosis and treatment planning:
It is critical that you take an active role in the smile design. Computer imaging systems may be used to allow the patient to preview results. The consultation includes an evaluation of the present conditions, a visual examination, and sometimes X-rays. Some dentists take colour photographs to show the "before-and-after" results of the procedure. 

Preparation of teeth:
This appointment can take from one to two hours. To prepare the teeth for the porcelain veneers, the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local aesthetic. At this appointment, a mould is taken of the teeth. Accompanied with a prescription and a detailed plan, the mould is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers. This takes about one-two weeks. Because the teeth are buffed or reduced, they will look a little different until the next appointment when the veneers will be placed. During this period the teeth may be more sensitive than usual.

Bonding of veneers:

This appointment will take about one-two hours. First, the dentist places the veneers with water or glycerine on the teeth to check their fit and to get a sense of the shade or colour. To help make your decision, look at your teeth from different positions, under different lighting, while sitting and standing. At this point, the colour of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of the cement to be used. Colour cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. If the veneer must be removed after it is bonded, more of the tooth structure may be lost, and the second veneer may not bond as well as the first.
Once the final decision on colour is made, the tooth is cleaned with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. A special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth. Then a visible light beam initiates the release of a catalyst to harden the cement. Excess cement is removed.


Closing spaces and straightening teeth can improve your self -image and self-confidence, no matter how old you are.  If there is enough room, your dentist will manipulate the teeth and bone through the use of bands wires, elastics, headgear and other appliances to achieve a harmonious balance between facial muscles and teeth.  If there is not enough room, teeth may have to be removed to achieve the desired results.
Orthodontic treatment can enhance your smile by correcting teeth that are crowded or misplaced. 

The appearance of your teeth can also be improved by cosmetic bonding.  Bonding material is made of white composite filling material just like that used on anterior fillings.  It can reduce gaps between teeth, repair chipped teeth or cover teeth that are badly stained.  Some antibiotics can cause intrinsic darkening and staining that does not respond well to a whitening system. Your dentist will be happy to discuss all of the treatment options available to you and suggest the most appropriate course of treatment for you.

Only a qualified dental professional can perform tooth-whitening procedures. It is your dentist who understands your dental needs and who can protect your oral health.  The results of vital tooth bleaching can be quite spectacular; however, it may not be the choice of treatment for everyone.  For example, if you have an anterior white filling or a crown, the bleaching process will affect the colour of the natural tooth but not the restorations.  The results can then be disappointing.  That is why if you are considering whitening your teeth, you should discuss this with your dentist and or hygienist to determine which method will suit your needs.

There are two different types of whitening procedures that may be performed.  One procedure is done in the dental chair where the dentist will apply a hydrogen peroxide solution to the targeted teeth and apply a laser light to accelerate the process.  This is often referred to as laser bleaching.  Special care is taken to protect the gums and surrounding tissues while the procedure is in progress. This procedure may be repeated until the desired shade is achieved.

The second vital bleaching system is one that you can do at home.  You will visit the dental office for the consultation and have an impression taken for a night guard.  You will be supplied with a gel that is placed in the night guard that you leave in your mouth for a specific time, sometimes overnight.  It is very important to follow home care instructions carefully and not exceed the time when leaving the bleach on the teeth.  It is equally as important to see your dentist or hygienist regularly so he or she may track your progress and assess your treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity:
More than 7 million Canadians suffer from tooth sensitivity.  Enamel that covers the top of your tooth, protecting the root, can wear down from brushing too hard, gum disease, tooth grinding, gum recession and aging. Your dentist may suggest using desensitizing toothpaste, a soft bristle toothbrush using gentle strokes or an application of resin coating, which will seal the sensitive areas.  Sometimes root canal treatment may be required to remove the infected nerve.  Tooth sensitivity is often an early sign of minor or major dental problems so its important to ask your dentist what the most appropriate treatment would be.