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Everything You Need to Know About Veneers

Choose wisely when it comes to improving your greatest asset—your smile.

Flip through any magazine or watch most any television show—you’ll see them. Beautiful, perfect smiles. So perfect, in fact, that you can’t tell if what you’re seeing is simple whitening, or some sort of cosmetic dentistry procedure. If you’re not sure, it means the cosmetic work was done well and by an experienced cosmetic dentist. The result of any cosmetic dental procedure should be a natural-looking result that leaves you guessing–did she, or didn’t she?

If you are in the market for a smile upgrade, veneers are the most effective (and often life-changing) cosmetic dental procedure available. The longest-lasting restorations in the field of dentistry, veneers are crafted from tooth-colored porcelain materials. They are very thin, custom-made cosmetic enhancements designed to cover the front of the teeth, and the layer of porcelain bonded to a tooth is as strong, or stronger, than natural teeth.

When applied by an experienced cosmetic dentist, veneers should be virtually indistinguishable from other teeth.

The size, shape, color, and length of the teeth can be enhanced with veneers, which is why they are often an aesthetic alternative to orthodontic care. Veneers result in a natural-looking appearance because they are so thin. They’re a great aesthetic and functional solution for people with gaps between the teeth, broken or chipped teeth, and unsightly stains and fillings. The dentist will apply a ceramic shell to the front of the teeth to conceal cracks and chips, overlay gaps, and create a whiter and more uniform appearance. When applied by an experienced cosmetic dentist, veneers should be virtually indistinguishable from other teeth.

Before you head to the first dentist you find who specializes in veneers, do your research. This is an area of dentistry where experience matters. The difference between looking like you have “fake teeth” and looking like yourself, only better, lies in the experience and education of the dentist who is making and placing your veneers. Because the design, creation, and application of porcelain veneers is an undeniable art form, it’s best to find an accredited dentist with an in-office porcelain lab who can customize your results on the spot and as you go. When doing your research, be sure to verify your dentist has accreditation by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry—a benchmark for measuring the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.

Dr. Mark Sowell is a member of an elite group of dentists who have achieved both Master status with the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and Accredited Membership with the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). This means he has extended his education into the eight specialties of dentistry. He uses the latest proven technologies to improve treatment and care and works with an in-house dental technician to custom-create his patients’ veneers.

While Dr. Sowell performs all types of cosmetic dentistry, his passion is cosmetic veneers. He often spends hours, even after the office is closed, carefully crafting his patients’ veneers in his state-of-the-art, in-house lab, along with his ceramicist who teaches with him at the prestigious Speer Education Institute. Dr. Sowell takes ample time with every patient, analyzing their bite, facial structure and features, and gum health before creating and placing the veneers. His dedication to perfection and proven analytical approach means patients not only get a smile they love, veneers that can last 20 or more years because they were designed and placed correctly. (Most veneers last about 10 to 15 years.) “We take 20 or more photos before we ever begin,” Dr. Sowell says. “I look at the patient’s eyes, ears, nose, lip line, and chin line. I take everything into account, so the veneers look like they belong there, or have even always been there. I want the result to be so natural that no one notices the teeth themselves—just that the patient has a beautiful smile. I love seeing how confident my patients become because they feel so comfortable with their new smile.”

Dr. Sowell takes ample time with every patient, analyzing their bite, facial structure and features, and gum health before creating and placing the veneers.

Veneers can be made from a variety of porcelains, and each type has a unique advantage. Porcelain veneers allow the normal transmission of light, making them the most natural-looking option available in cosmetic dentistry. Porcelain veneers don’t stain and won’t permanently change the color of teeth, unlike the transitory effects of bleaching. Functionally, they can repair and strengthen damaged teeth. Esthetically, veneers don’t have the dark outline like porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and can be indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Plus, they can restore a youthful appearance to the smile, often making patients look at least 10 years younger. No-prep or minimal-prep veneers allow patients to get veneers without painful shots or having their teeth reshaped. This method of applying veneers is an acceptable choice for patients who have small teeth, spaces between their teeth, or teeth that incline inward. They can provide an instant result of straight teeth with a minimal-prep or no-prep approach, sometimes without anesthesia. Dr. Sowell uses a laser when applying all types of veneers because it is less invasive and keeps the gums from becoming irritated.

“My patients’ smile makeovers begin after a thorough consultation where cosmetic dentistry options are discussed,” Dr. Sowell says. “The next step is the mock-up stage using the latest computer imaging tools. Together, we can design a smile that’s just right for you. The mock-up gives the best idea of what you’ll look like once your treatment ends. This is a process that can be modified along the way as you see and feel what works best. Your first set of provisional teeth should be very close to what you want, so the second set—the finals—are perfect.”

For more than 35 years, Dr. Mark Sowell has served the community by providing state-of-the-art dental care. He is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry, and restorative dentistry. Because of his relentless commitment to excellence in all aspects of dental care, Dr. Sowell is often asked to lecture to other dentists and attends over 100 hours of rigorous postdoctoral training each year. Dr. Sowell is a member of an elite group of dentists who have achieved both Master status with the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and Accredited Membership with the prestigious American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Fewer than 40 dentists nationwide have earned both professional distinctions. While these recognitions illustrate Dr. Sowell’s dedication to providing the best that dentistry has to offer, he has achieved numerous other merits in the field of dentistry. For more information, visit smilesbysowell.com.

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