from Fall '01 with permission.
Part Two of the Perfect Smile:
By Susan Williamson
Matt Damon, Tom
Cruise, Claudia Schiffer and Drew Barrymore: what do they have
in common besides mega money and star status? Courtesy of good
dentistry and porcelain veneers, all four have fabulous smiles.
While chicklet-style teeth may have been in vogue twenty years
ago, today, both star and fans alike are sold on the natural look.
But why porcelain?
“Because it reflects and transmits light beautifully,”
says Dr. Mark Kochman who specializes in esthetic and rehabilitative
dentistry at his practice in Toronto. “Porcelain veneers
capture the translucence of natural teeth, so you can look as
if you were born with them, only better!” The colour looks
natural because it’s customized to suit your eyes, complexion
veneers are applied to the enamel of the tooth, but the similarity
ends there. Porcelain veneers are not a paste. They’re actually
fabricated and fired in a dental laboratory from molds your dentist
makes of your teeth. These wafer-thin ceramic veneers, which fit
around the top and sides of the tooth like a slipper, are permanently
fused to your enamel using a light-sensitive resin.
cost you a lot more than bonding, and they definitely take time.
“The process is technically-demanding,” Dr. Kochman
explains. “It is very precise work and the actual insertion
requires both critical skill and artistry.” Veneers also
hold up much longer. With good oral hygiene and regular professional
cleaning, your veneers should last for ten years…maybe longer.
can benefit from this process, though, and your dentist will tell
you on your first visit if your teeth are too discoloured for
veneering. Those teeth that are badly broken down or really out
of line with each other will need capping or orthodontics. And
a tooth that has had root canal work done may not be suitable
will do is correct minor crowding and fill in chips and gaps.
It’s also a great rejuvenator of yellowing teeth, although
many patients opt for tooth whitening beforehand because the porcelain
is translucent. And since veneers fit snugly, your gumline may
need to be corrected or shaped. When and if all systems are ‘go’,
your dentist will take molds of your teeth for temporary acrylic
veneers and book your next visit.
At this appointment,
dentists like Dr. Kochman will have had a wax model of your teeth
prepared for you to look at. This allows you to envision the final
result and discuss any modifications that you’d like made.
Then about 10 per cent of your tooth enamel will be removed and
final impressions taken. Before you leave, the temporary veneers
are put in place to protect your teeth for the next week. You
may experience some tooth sensitivity now but this will subside
after permanent veneers are fixed to your teeth.
The next scheduled
visit usually completes the process. Your dentist will remove
the ‘temps’ and try on your new porcelain veneers.
If you’re happy with the result, he or she will permanently
bond them to your teeth, and finish up with some minor shaping
and polishing. After insertion, your gums may be tender, but this
should last only a couple of days.
are thrilled with the results…in more ways than one. “The
contours of the lips are improved,” says Dr. Kochman. “And
small wrinkles can disappear because of better underlying support.”
Porcelain veneers seem to be one of those cosmetic procedures
that have a high ‘wow’ factor because you’re
bound to get more ‘oomph’ than nature usually provides.
NEXT ISSUE: The
Rolls-Royce of tooth restoration: porcelain crowns.
For more information:
The Kochman Centre