ARDMORE, PA, January 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Porcelain veneers are a versatile cosmetic dentistry treatment, but they are not really a good way to protect your teeth from decay. When cavities form behind porcelain veneers, it can lead to damage or loss of veneered teeth.
To avoid this risk, it's important to make sure you understand what porcelain veneers are and how to properly care for your veneered teeth.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are intended to correct cosmetic complaints people have about their smiles to improve the appearance of teeth. Porcelain veneers are thin facades of a special dental ceramic that can be attached to the front of teeth. Generally, they replace the entire front of the tooth and sometimes they even go up over the top of the tooth as well. They are used to correct cosmetic complaints from discoloration to chips to gaps.
Because porcelain veneers are fitted only to the front of your teeth, they cannot completely protect your teeth. They are not suitable for placing on a tooth that has received significant structural damage from decay, cracking, or previous fillings. To protect these teeth, you need a dental crown.
Porcelain Veneers and Tooth Decay
The first step in preparing your teeth for porcelain veneers involves removing dental enamel from the surface where the veneer is to be placed. This means the front and possibly top of your tooth will have less enamel to protect the interior of the tooth from attack by bacteria.
However, when the porcelain veneer is applied to the tooth, it should be adequately protected. The seal formed between veneers and dental enamel or dentin (the inside material below the enamel) is strong and water tight. Porcelain has non-stick qualities that make it harder for bacteria and food to adhere to them. It is also resistant to attack by the acids that bacteria secrete, so there won't be cavities that form in the veneers themselves.
Decay can form in the natural tooth enamel that remains behind the veneer. Once decay penetrates into the tooth behind the veneer, the concealing properties of porcelain veneers may prevent you from knowing about it until the damage reaches the tooth nerve, or pulp, leading to infection that may require removal of the tooth or a root canal. Sometimes, this infection may threaten several teeth and even your jawbone.
Caring for Veneered Teeth
To prevent the risk of serious decay behind porcelain veneers, it's important to maintain good oral hygiene habits.
Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, using an appropriate toothpaste recommended for the care of porcelain veneers. It's also important to floss every day to remove plaque from between your teeth. The side angle where the veneer meets the tooth becomes the most vulnerable approach in your teeth.
When you visit your dentist, make sure you communicate any changes in sensitivity associated with your veneered teeth. Newly-sensitive teeth may be suffering from decay.
Properly cared for, your veneered teeth should remain healthy and the veneers on them should last a decade or more.