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Sensitive teeth plagues many Canadians. To tame the pain of tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend veneers.
What are veneers?
Veneers are custom-made shells that cover the front surface of your teeth. They are tooth-coloured and blend in with your natural teeth. Veneers are made of thin porcelain and are resistant to stains. They also boost the appearance of your smile and restore the strength to the teeth they are placed on. Veneers, if taken care of, can last up to five years.
How are veneers made?
The veneer procedure involves making an impression of your teeth. You will then receive temporary veneers while your custom ones are being made in a dental lab. To prepare each tooth for the veneer, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from each tooth’s surface so that the veneers don’t stick out when they are placed on your teeth. You will be given a numbing agent or anesthetic in order to ensure your comfort while the enamel is being taken away.
After about two weeks, you will return to your dentist so that he/she can fit the newly made veneers to your teeth. Before placing the veneers in your mouth, your teeth will be cleaned, polished and etched to give the tooth a rougher surface making it easier for the veneers to bond. Using a dental cement, the veneers are bonded to the teeth. Then, your dentist takes a special light to the teeth that speeds up the bonding process. Finally, excess cement is removed, the veneers are adjusted and your bite is examined to make sure that everything is perfect.
You will probably require a follow-up visit to your dentist in 2-4 weeks. This is done so that your dentist can check on your gums and how they are responding to the veneers. Your dentist will also look at the veneers’ placement, making sure they are still intact.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the erosion of tooth enamel. The part of the tooth that protrudes above the gum line is covered with a protective layer of enamel. The roots of your tooth are protected with a layer of cementum and underneath that is a layer of dentin. When our enamel and cementum become damaged and erode it leads to the exposure of the dentin. The dentin is not as dense as the enamel and cementum layers and when it’s bare, the underlying nerves can feel pain when they are unprotected. Tooth sensitivity usually manifests itself when you consume foods and beverages that are cold or hot.
What leads to enamel erosion?
Sensitive teeth are caused by enamel erosion – and there are many reasons for this to occur, including: if you brush your teeth aggressively, brush more than 2-3 times daily, overuse over-the-counter teeth whitening products, experience tooth decay, have worn fillings, or drink and eat foods or beverages high in acid. For example, alcohol, citrus fruits and juices, coffee, and refined sugar are all highly acidic and can wreak havoc on your tooth’s enamel if not consumed in moderation.
Can veneers treat sensitive teeth?
The veneers will act as a barrier to cover the exposed dentin, thus, protecting the nerves underneath. When the nerves are protected, you will not experience tooth sensitivity. Besides ridding you of tooth sensitivity, veneers are used to strengthen the structure of the tooth they are bonded to.
Are you a candidate for veneers?
Having sensitive teeth alone does not make you a good candidate for veneers. If you’ve experienced tooth decay or gum disease, these issues must be treated beforehand. Furthermore, if you have absolutely no enamel left on your teeth, the veneers won’t stick. If you grind or clench your teeth, you can chip the veneers from the force. Finally, if you are missing most of the tooth that is causing your sensitivity then there are other options available such as getting a crown put in instead.
Caring for veneers
Once your tooth sensitivity is under control due to your new veneers, it’s important that you take care of them. Treat your veneers as if they are your natural teeth and brush and floss as you normally would. Continue visiting your dentist for cleanings every six months to keep up with your oral hygiene and maintain a healthy diet to keep cavities from forming under the veneer. When you eat, you must be careful when biting. Although veneers do strengthen teeth, they are susceptible to cracks when you consume hard or chewy foods. It’s important to remember that veneer treatment cannot be reversed.
At Dawson Dental we offer many treatments for sensitive teeth. Please contact us for more information about veneers or to book an appointment.