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Porcelain Veneers or Teeth Whitening – Options Explained

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When teeth whitening is concerned, usually there are two options available – teeth whitening treatments or porcelain veneers. Understanding both these treatments, its mechanism, and the type of result that it can deliver will lead the way to the ultimate results.

Before getting into the details any further, let us understand what is teeth whitening and what porcelain veneer is.


Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the basic procedures that involves different techniques to remove debris and dirt from the surface of your teeth to give you whiteness. It is usually achieved through various whitening products available in the market, such as teeth whitening toothpastes, specially formulated gels, teeth whitening strips and many more. However, modern day teeth whitening have reached new heights with the concept of bleaching and blue light technology being the most popular whitening combination.

Today, teeth whitening is more of a bleaching procedure that uses bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide to whiten teeth. Bleaching is more preferred these days because of the simple reason that it is very effective, safe and delivers quick results too.


The Reasons for Teeth Whitening

We usually have glossy white teeth; it's all due to the porcelain-like surface of our enamel. It is the enamel of the teeth that are worst effected by stains and discolorations. Our teeth enamel is composed of tiny microscopic crystalline rod like structures that protects the teeth from prolonged effects of regular chewing, gnawing, acid attacks and trauma. Over years, the enamel wears down and becomes more and more transparent thereby revealing the yellowish dentin. This results in the stains and patches that we often see on the surface of our teeth.

In spite of our routine chewing and eating, the dentin remains as it is whilst millions and millions of cracks (tiny ones though) tend to occur in the surface layers of the enamel. These crack and the spaces occurring between the rod-like structures then gradually start accumulating debris, dirt and stains that eventually results in a dull and dreary appearance.

Through teeth whitening, it is possible to remove all these debris and stains, thereby leaving the cracks exposed to the regular wear and tear. Some cracks usually re-mineralize with the saliva, while some others rapidly fill up with dirt.

Teeth whitening has now become a popular procedure that will remove stains completely to give you a glowing appearance. There are options like the in-office teeth whitening procedure that usually involves the use of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide followed by laser or blue light. This is usually a 60 minutes long procedure that gives amazing results.

There is another procedure for teeth whitening that gradually changes the color of your teeth – the At-home teeth whitening system dentists take the impression of teeth to create mold or trays that contains bleaching agent. These trays are to be placed inside the mouth or approximately an hour everyday to get the best results. This usually takes about 7-14 days to show results.


Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers, on the contrary, are also known as porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are basically custom-made shells representing a tooth. These are made from ceramic material that are applied all over the tooth or teeth to cover up the worn enamel and even hide the even alignment of teeth, gaps, spacing, cracks and chips.

Porcelain veneers are not just limited to teeth whitening, it is true that they are the perfect way to make up for some of the major teeth defects, but they aren't the ultimate whiteners. They have various other functions as well, such as re-aligning teeth, spacing teeth, filling up chips and cracks etc. The quality of the veneers available today are excellent for improving the natural look of teeth, as they are translucent in nature and of ceramic quality.

Irrespective of the type of teeth problem and the cause of defective teeth, porcelain veneers have the capability of solving almost all the cosmetic dental problems, such as worn enamel regular wear and tear, genetically defective teeth and uneven teeth.


The Reasons for Using Veneers

Veneers are the apt treatment for restoring small cracks and chips in teeth. These are minor problems that take the form of major gaps if left untreated. Porcelain veneers can perfectly repair different dental problems, and can as well protect the structure of your teeth against wear and tear, dullness, discoloration, chipping, cracking, uneven alignment and spacing. Also, applying porcelain veneers on the teeth helps in hiding stains from the surface.


Porcelain Veneers or Teeth Whitening – Which One Is A Better Choice?

Teeth whitening usually provides a whiter smile for discolored teeth. However, when the discoloration is stubborn and the stains are really difficult to get rid of, porcelain veneers seem to be the only favorable option.

Whilst teeth whitening simply effects your already present and functional teeth that are esthetically adequate to serve all purposes, porcelain veneers are only recommended when the teeth are not functioning properly as porcelain veneers are basically permanent restorations that requires prepping and shaping or teeth that further needs to be fitted into custom-designed shells, it is therefore not really a good choice for teeth whitening only.

Although porcelain veneers have certain added benefits, they are only effective when your teeth are totally damaged. Veneers provide adequate support and longevity to teeth that enhances the mouth, smile and the other aspects of having well shaped and structured teeth. These are more of a commitment towards the durability and long-lasting benefits, unlike teeth whitening.

Actually, there are many factors that determine whether or not these procedures are good for an individual. It also depends on individuals and their needs.

Given a choice, teeth whitening should be chosen for whitening purpose as no such dramatic restorations are required for this procedure. However, if there are problems with chips, cracks and gaps along with stains and discolorations, porcelain veneers could be the most viable choice.

Consult your dentist before you choose any of these methods to check whether or not your dental state is ready for this exercise.

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