Aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry – porcelain veneers
In recent years, we have seen an increase in demand for cosmetic dental treatment. Patients have been showing a greater awareness in this important branch of health. This is mainly due to a decisive factor – improving self-esteem and wellbeing.
There is an almost infinite variety of dental treatments nowadays, which together and in an integrated fashion, can contribute towards developing and improving smile aesthetics. The integration of different techniques and sub-specialties has resulted in a positive change to both our teeth and our smiles.
Cosmetic dental treatment can achieve stunning results in a person’s general appearance, self-esteem and a desire to smile more often. With recent developments in this field, cosmetic treatment can include anything from simple colour correction (teeth whitening) to the perfect replacement of missing teeth.
However, we are going to focus exclusively on the current state of the art in aesthetic dentistry: porcelain veneers.
Despite the recent increase in the demand for veneers, they have a long history. The first ones, made of ceramic, were used nearly 100 years ago by the North American dentist Charles Pincus, who originally developed them to improve the smiles of Hollywood stars. At that time, they were temporary solutions, used only during filming, but as a symbol of the famous “Hollywood smile”, they quickly gained prestige.
It was only in the 60s that another dentist, Dr Michael Buonocore, developed the techniques and necessary knowledge to establish adhesive dentistry, a procedure used in applying porcelain veneers that became widespread and accessible to everyone from 1982.
In just under 40 years, technology has developed exponentially, so that we can now produce nearly imperceptible, natural-looking porcelain veneers.
Porcelain veneers are designed and produced individually for each patient, and it is virtually impossible to detect the difference between a veneer and a natural tooth.
Veneers are personalised in such a way that they replicate the colour of the adjacent teeth or are used to improve the smile – the so-called “makeover smile”.
Several types of materials can be used to make veneers, but porcelain is the preferred material because it reflects light in the same way as a natural tooth and, when applied, behaves exactly like a normal, healthy tooth.
Being semi-translucent, it unequivocally contributes to a perfect and natural integration resulting in a beautiful, winning smile. Because veneers are long-lasting and attractive, they are actually a work of art in the creation of smiles, giving patients a sense of pride in sharing those smiles with those around them.
Veneers also have the advantage of requiring only a few consultations until they are ready to be applied, as opposed to crowns, maintaining most of the patient’s dental integrity (minimally invasive), with only a minimum preparation. By removing less dental structure, veneers help to support the stability of natural teeth and bite.
There are situations, however, where there is no need for preparation. In these cases, veneers can be referred to as “contact lenses” (mainly due to their nearly-microscopic thickness) or ceramic fragments, when only a small size ceramic material is necessary, as is the case when spaces between the teeth (diastemas) need closing.
For many patients, veneers can be used to solve small dental imperfections and fractures or to correct slight misalignments and size or shape abnormalities.
Contrary to natural teeth, porcelain veneers do not suffer from pigmentation or from coffee, tea or tobacco discolouration. With correct maintenance (regular visits to the dentist or oral hygienist), veneers are a very long-lasting and stable treatment.
For teeth that are too discoloured or resistant to whitening (due to past trauma, previous treatments or use of medication), veneers can transform dark teeth into a luminous smile.
People with beautiful white teeth, smile more and are more confident.
You can rely on us to give you the smile you have always wanted. We have the know-how, the equipment and, above all, the passion to achieve incredible results.
By Dr. Hugo Nascimento
Dr. Hugo Nascimento is a dentist at the HPA Health Group.