Improving your smile with porcelain veneers: everything you need to know

A great smile can brighten our whole face and boost our confidence. However, small imperfections in our teeth can chip away at our self-esteem. This includes misshapen and worn teeth, gaps, or strong discolouration where whiteners don’t work. 

Porcelain veneers can help. 

What are porcelain veneers and why are they so popular? 

Porcelain veneers are thin shells made out of porcelain material that are placed over and bonded to your natural teeth. They look, feel and function just like regular, healthy teeth.

Porcelain veneers are popular because they are a quick and easy makeover for your smile. Many people with healthy teeth and gums get veneers to help hide imperfections and improve their smiles. 

Porcelain veneers are highly customisable to suit the shape of your face, which makes them look and feel very natural. 

As we age, our teeth often experience wear or become brittle and discoloured. Porcelain veneers can help us look younger by masking the signs of aging in our teeth. They offer the anti-aging benefit of a facelift without the invasive medical procedure. 

Are porcelain veneers permanent? How long do they last?  

While porcelain veneers themselves are long-lasting, and are designed to be permanent, any restorative material we use in the mouth will wear over time—just like your natural teeth. Although we like to keep the adjustment of your own natural tooth structure absolutely minimal, we do remove a little bit of enamel from your teeth during the procedure, and therefore it is not reversible. Your custom porcelain veneers are then bonded to your teeth using a special type of cement. 

When treated with care, porcelain veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more. You will have to continue to practise good oral hygiene to maintain your veneers and to prevent tooth and gum decay. The New Zealand Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day, flossing, reducing your sugary foods and drinks intake, and visiting your dentist and hygienist for regular recalls and maintenance.  

To protect your porcelain veneers, dentists also recommend that you avoid any potentially damaging habits such as fingernail biting or chewing on pens or other hard, non-food substances, and obviously bottle caps go without saying!  You may also have to use a night guard if you grind your teeth at night.

How long does it take to get porcelain veneers?

How long treatment takes depends upon your individual circumstance; however, if your mouth is healthy and you are ready to get veneers, it usually takes 4 appointments. Here’s what to expect at Dental Holistix.  

Appointment 1: consultation and scans

First, we use the latest 3D digital imaging software to scan your mouth. The technology helps us capture the shapes and shades of your teeth, down to the tiniest detail. Using the scan and an oral exam, we are able to tell whether you are a good candidate for veneers. If you have gum disease or your mouth is not in the best shape for veneers, we prepare a treatment plan that can get your mouth back to optimal health so that you can reach your goal of getting veneers. If we believe you’re ready for veneers, we use the first appointment to discuss the details with you and to better understand what you are trying to achieve. This consultation is a great time for you to ask us questions about the process or the veneers themselves. 

Appointment 2: trial smile

We have a 3D template of your ideal smile ready for you to look at. We also show you a 2D “Photoshop” visual with your new smile superimposed over your existing teeth. This gives you a good idea of what your new smile will look like, and make any changes we think are necessary.. We then discuss the materials we will be using and the stages and timeframe required to complete your treatment.

Appointment 3: temporary veneers

We selectively trim the enamel on the front of your teeth (that is outside the proposed shape of the finished product) using a custom made template. We then take an impression of your teeth and fit you with temporary veneers—in the exact shape of what was approved in the previous appointment. This is another opportunity to make any  adjustments  necessary. You can now take your smile for a test drive until you get your permanent set of veneers. The 3D scan and impression of your teeth is sent to our laboratory, where our experts handcraft your veneers to perfection. We check up on you once you’ve had some time with your temporary veneers just to ensure you are happy with how they function and look. If there are any further adjustments to be made, we forward these on to the lab. This transition stage usually lasts around two weeks; however, there is some flexibility to shorten  this a little, or take more time to really feel like the new shape and colour are right for you.

Appointment 4: placing your permanent veneers

Your new, custom porcelain veneers are ready and waiting for you. After testing them on your teeth to make sure they fit well, we try them in with a try-in (non-setting) cement to replicate the finished product. This will be at least the 4th opportunity we will have to make any final changes to the shape or colour—just to make sure you are 100% happy with them. We then permanently bond the veneers to the front surface of your teeth using special medical-grade cement. You’re now ready to show your new smile to the world!

How much do porcelain veneers cost? 

Pricing for your porcelain veneers will vary based on your requirements. Please book a consultation with us to learn about payment options and the right veneers for you. 

Watch Jess Coate’s veneer journey at Dental Holistix: part 1 and part 2. Jess is a fitness trainer and coach, bodybuilder, and WBFF Pro Bikini Champ from Hamilton, New Zealand. 

COVID-19: Orange

Dear patient,

The clinic is open at the current traffic light setting.

The health and wellbeing of patients has always been the top priority at Dental Holistix and this priority is doubly important to us amid the current community outbreak.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of what we are currently doing.

As always, we are dedicated to keeping you safe while providing you with outstanding dental care.

Traffic light setting: orange

1. Offering routine dental care for all patients.

2. Ensuring all staff who are sick stay home.

3. Screening all patients with upcoming bookings to ensure patients are not showing signs of active viral infection.

4. Allowing only one patient at a time within common areas of the premises.

5. Ensuring thorough disinfection of all surfaces in the administrative and clinical areas between patients, and ensuring hand sanitiser is always available in our reception and waiting area.

6. Practicing physical distancing within our reception and waiting area.

7. Being extra vigilant with personal hygiene and the cleaning and sterilisation of tools and surfaces using medical grade disinfectants.

8. PPE (personal protective equipment) worn by all staff members at all times

9. Rubber dam application where possible to isolate the tooth we are working on and shield the rest of the mouth.

10. Peroxyl mouthwash in surgery as a pre-operative rinse to lower bacterial and viral count.

Pregnancy: Why oral hygiene matters for you and baby

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Right from the start, your pregnancy hormones have been hard at work orchestrating your little one’s development. As early as six or seven weeks, your baby will have a beating heart, pair of lungs, a head, and even start growing limbs. The same miracle-working pregnancy hormones—oestrogen and progesterone—that are at play during your baby’s development can also impact your oral health and that of your baby.

When you are pregnant, your gums can get more sensitive and become prone to inflammation. If your gums were already inflamed, this can worsen, leading to bone loss around the teeth. For these reasons, cleaning your teeth thoroughly, paying attention to what you eat, and ensuring regular dental checkups and professional hygiene treatment, can help your mouth to remain healthy, and give your baby a headstart when it comes to their oral health.

Poor oral hygiene during pregnancy may lead to infections, tooth decay, and more. In some cases, it may even lead to premature delivery and affect a child’s early development and oral health. If you take care of your teeth and gums before and during pregnancy, you are less likely to experience the oral health issues associated with pregnancy.

Here are some of the common pregnancy-related oral health conditions to be aware of.

Gum inflammation or gingivitis

Your gums may become more sensitive to bacterial infections during your pregnancy when higher levels of the pregnancy hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, affect your immune system. Ever wondered about the sticky film you feel when you run your tongue over your teeth? It’s called ‘bacterial plaque’ and is quite normal. It develops when bacteria in your mouth interact with sugars and starches. Problems arise when plaque builds up, hardens and forms tartar (also known as calculus). This can cause gum inflammation or gingivitis. In pregnant women, this issue may intensify, particularly during the second to eighth months of pregnancy, leading to swelling and bleeding of the gums.

Women with healthy gums before pregnancy can prevent pregnancy gingivitis with continued good oral care. However, with poor oral hygiene, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more severe gum disease.

The best way to avoid pregnancy-related gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene at home with regular brushing and flossing and to visit your dental professional for hygiene care.

Loss of enamel or dental erosion

During pregnancy, you may experience greater nausea and vomiting due to morning sickness or increased stomach acid reflux, and this can frequently impact teeth. Our teeth are covered by a hard, protective layer called enamel, and when stomach acids present in vomiting or reflux, it can dissolve or soften tooth enamel.

Reducing or eliminating acidic drinks from your diet like fruit juices or carbonated beverages can help minimize enamel erosion. Rinsing your mouth with water immediately after vomiting can also help, and avoid brushing your teeth, wait 40mins. Additionally Alkaline mouthwashes can help to neutralise acids in the mouth.

Pregnancy granuloma

Sometimes during pregnancy, you may notice a small red growth on your gums. It is often located between your teeth. This is known as a pregnancy granuloma. These nodules are not cancerous and can be painless; however, sometimes they may bleed or turn into an ulcer. They are mainly caused due to gum inflammation and poor oral hygiene, and pregnancy hormones can aggravate the condition.

Most of the time, these nodules go away on their own after delivery; however if they do remain, you may need to get them professionally removed, along with the surrounding plaque and calculus, and pay greater attention to oral hygiene at home.

Is it safe to visit the dentist when pregnant?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to visit your dentist when pregnant. In fact, it’s necessary.

Scheduling a dental exam before you plan to get pregnant can help detect any potential issues early and prevent them from progressing into more severe conditions. Even after you are pregnant, it is advisable to visit your dentist to ensure your oral health is on track.

The New Zealand Dental Association and the Australian Dental Association, among others, affirm that it is safe to get dental X-rays during pregnancy. The radiation dose is extremely minimal and concentrated near your mouth. The rest of your body can additionally be covered with a protective lead shield designed to keep X-rays out as an added protection. Local anaesthesia for routine dental procedures like fillings, tooth extraction, or root canal is also absolutely safe.

However, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid taking any medications that act systemically like sedatives, certain antibiotics, and certain pain medications. This emphasises the need to treat any dental issues while they are small before they progress into something more serious. If you have a dental emergency, do not wait to get help. Removing severely infected or broken teeth is better for you and your baby than leaving them in your mouth.

As an aside, some pregnant women generally opt to defer longer elective dental procedures until after the baby arrives because it may be too uncomfortable to lie back on the chair for long periods.

As a new mum-to-be, we know that your priority is to take good care of your health and that of your baby. Scheduling ultrasounds and consultations with your doctor or midwife is a standard practice when you are pregnant; however, remember to check with a dentist to ensure your oral health is on track as well.

Book in with Dental Holistix today.

A healthy mouth is the key to a healthy body and mind. Here’s why.

Poor oral health can lead to tooth or gum decay, which is linked to many health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, digestive issues, memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The good news is, taking care of our mouth can protect us from a host of infections, chronic illnesses, and mental health conditions. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist helps ensure the health of our mouth is always optimal.

How does oral health affect our body and mind? 

Research shows that our mouth, body, and mind have a close connection. If one is unhealthy, the others can be affected. The mouth-body-mind connection is based on the billions of bacteria in our mouth. Don’t worry—that’s a good thing. Having a diverse range of bacteria thriving in our mouth is what keeps us healthy. 

Every time we eat or drink, bacteria from the mouth make their way into our digestive system, also known as the gut. When we are healthy, this does not matter; however, an imbalance in our oral bacteria from tooth or gum decay can lead to a host of problems. Harmful bacteria can travel from our mouth to our gut and irritate it, causing inflammation. 

Our gut does more than digest our food. It has trillions of bacteria that regulate our immune system, produce essential vitamins and hormones, help us sleep, manage our stress, and much more. Any imbalance in the bacterial colonies in the gut can cause inflammation. Gut inflammation lowers our immunity and is an underlying factor in many chronic illnesses like arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, heart disease, and mental health conditions. An inflamed gut can affect our mood and increase our risk of anxiety and depression. Gut inflammation can even cause us to lose focus or experience memory loss

Oral health is often a window into the overall health of our body. If our oral health is disrupted, there is a high chance that there may be something wrong elsewhere in the body. For example, people with diabetes often have gum (periodontal) disease. And people with gum disease have trouble controlling their blood sugar.

‘Bad’ bacteria from gum disease can also travel to various organs through the blood. They can enter the brain and cause inflammation that can destroy nerve cells. This can lead to memory issues, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Oral bacteria can also journey to the heart through the bloodstream, add to plaque build-up in our arteries, and play a role in clot formation.

How does physical and mental health affect oral health? 

Having diabetes can cause dry mouth, and reduced amounts of the cleansing, lubricating and antibacterial factors in saliva are a common precursor to periodontal disease. Additionally, an imbalance in gut bacteria (and in turn an imbalance in the oral bacterial flora) can cause mild inflammation in our gums, known as gingivitis. It is exacerbated by increasing deposits of dental plaque, the bacterial film that develops on our teeth. If untreated, gingivitis may lead to more severe gum disease called periodontitis- with bone loss and eventual mobility and loss of teeth. Gut inflammation in the same way can also lead to tooth decay through imbalance in oral bacteria favouring acid-producing bacteria and leading to acid dissolving the mineral structure of the teeth. Because gut inflammation weakens our immunity, we may find it difficult to fight off oral infections, meaning minor imbalances can quickly manifest into more severe localised or systemic infection.

Our state of mind can also affect our oral health. 

The food we eat when stressed can directly impact our oral health. Yes, we’re looking at you buttery steak and cheese pie, chips, chocolate and ice cream. As delicious as they are, if eaten often, foods rich in refined carbs and sugars can lead to a bacterial imbalance in our mouth and cause plaque to build up. Stress can even cause oral trauma from grinding our teeth too hard. Additionally, when we feel anxious, our body releases the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much cortisol can make our immune system weak and increase the potential for a bacterial infection of the gums or tooth decay.  

Individuals with depression may find it harder to maintain a routine of oral hygiene and visits to the dentist. Unfortunately, this can turn into a cycle where poor oral health may eventually lower self-esteem, intensify social isolation, and further aggravate depression.   

An integrated, holistic approach for mouth-body-mind health 

There is an intricate web of connections between our mouth, body, and mind. If one is affected, the others are too. But somewhere along the line, medicine became compartmentalized. Dentists focused on oral health, gastrointestinal specialists treated digestive issues, and psychiatrists worked on the mind. 

Dental health professionals who focus on an integrated approach to treating the mouth, body, and mind are at the frontlines of disease detection and preventive medicine. At Dental Holistix, we will routinely assess not only the presence and severity of disease, but look at systemic disease and inflammatory processes and how these are interrelated. Identifying tooth decay and gum disease early, removing plaque build-up, and practicing good oral hygiene can help us lower inflammation and live healthier and happier lives. 

Four foods that dull your smile

A set of dazzling pearly whites is the best accessory we can have but consuming certain foods and beverages in excess can do more harm than good to our teeth. Products high in sugar or starch, especially when consumed regularly or excessively, can create optimal breeding grounds for plaque build-up. Here are four foods to be mindful.

1. Chips and other snacks that go crunch
While they make our taste buds happy, beware of foods that go ‘crunch’. Potato chips are made of starch that tends to hide in between our teeth and carbs that linger are an open invitation for bacterial growth.

2. Fizzy drinks, sports & energy drinks
While soft drinks are a somewhat obvious offender, not many people realise that sports and energy drinks also contain sugar. The combination of sugar, carbonation and acids can cause damage to our pearlers.

3. Dried/pickled fruit or veges
The longer a sugary or acidic item stays in your mouth the more damage it does. Even though its natural, the sugar content combined with the sticky texture of dried fruit in particular means it clings to our teeth, overstaying its welcome.

4. Citrus fruits and juices
While being rich in vitamin C, proceed with caution as fruit that is high in natural sugars and acids, such as lemon or oranges, can erode our tooth enamel over time. Moderation is key!