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Smile Makeovers -- A Look Below the Surface of Veneers.

Almost everyone wants a brighter, whiter smile. But until recently, most people thought of cosmetic dentistry as something mostly for celebrities, public figures and the wealthy. According to MicroDental Laboratories, this is not longer the case. Recent technical advances, better affordability and exposure from advertising and the flurry of TV makeover shows are opening up cosmetic dentistry as a possibility for people from all walks of life.

After simple whitening, veneers are the most popular choice -- they're fast, easy and versatile. A veneer only covers the front surface and biting edge of a tooth. Veneers can give you a straighter, whiter smile. They can also correct more serious orthodontic problems in a fraction of the time an orthodontist would need. They can even gently enhance the shape of your face -- without plastic surgery. And what was once a long and complicated procedure that required hours of prep work and several long visits is today a remarkably easy and comfortable procedure. In about the same time it takes for dinner and a movie, you could have a beautiful new smile.

But a veneer is not a veneer. Two types of porcelain veneers are currently available: feldspathic and pressed ceramics -- and they're very different from each other.

Pressed Ceramics -- State-of-the art material

Over the past two decades, veneers have evolved dramatically, resulting in a superior material that combines the best aesthetics and science -- pressed ceramic veneers. Pressed ceramics produce a natural looking, beautiful and extremely strong veneer that is stain-resistant and long-lasting. The industry -- clinicians, manufacturers, laboratories and even academia -- have come together to develop a veneer that provides many advantages over the older, traditional feldspathic veneer, first introduced in the 1980s.

Pressed ceramics are two to three times stronger, completely stain resistant and twice as long-lasting as feldspathic veneers. Multiple, subtle color elements are baked directly into the body of pressed ceramics, giving them the kind of complex, realistic appearance and stain resistance that traditional feldspathic veneers can't provide. Pressed ceramics are also much gentler on the real teeth they come into contact with and are completely bio-compatible. Still, given the numerous advantages of the newer materials, pressed ceramics have overtaken feldspathics as the veneer of choice of most top dentists. The most popular pressed ceramic veneer brand is MAC Veneers by MicroDental. Top cosmetic dentists and lecturing clinicians choose MAC Veneers, the brand most often recommended by name.

"I always recommend pressed ceramics to my patients because, ultimately, your smile is an investment that you don't want to cut corners on," said Dr. Pescatore. "There is no difference in cost, but a huge difference in value when you choose pressed ceramics."

Feldspathic ceramics -- The first veneer material

Bonded all-ceramic feldspathic veneers are the first type of veneers ever made. They were introduced to dentistry in the mid-1980s, and at the time were considered cutting-edge. However, with the advances in technology and materials, feldspathic ceramics are quickly becoming outdated, and replaced with more modern materials. Da Vinci is a popular

veneer brand made with this type of ceramics. These veneers are made through a layering technique in which layers of porcelain are stacked on top of one another to create a ceramic tooth.

Because these veneers are relatively thin, they require a minimum amount of preparation of the tooth before fitting the veneer. But, due to the thinness of the material, feldspathic veneers are unable to do things that pressed ceramic veneers can -- such as change tooth shape, color or provide instant orthodontics. Feldspathic veneers are the same price as the newer, pressed ceramics, but offer fewer advantages. They are used primarily on the front teeth in your "smile zone" -- they're relatively thin and don't have the compressive strength required for successful use on teeth in the back of the mouth. Feldspathics are also fairly limited in the range of colors they can represent, so they often look less realistic than real teeth. Many dentists also cite the potential for staining, discoloration and harm to the enamel of your natural teeth as possible drawbacks.

"Feldspathic veneers have many limitations when compared to pressed ceramics. They cannot change tooth color, correct a bite, reshape teeth, or offer instant orthodontic advantages," said Dr. Christopher Pescatore, DDS, one of the top cosmetic dentists on the West Coast. "Many of the patients I treat have feldspathic veneers from other dentists, and come to me complaining that over the years the veneers have color-shifted to a darker shade or become stained. Or even worse, they experience abrasion from their veneers on their own surrounding teeth. The best solution is to replace them with pressed ceramic veneers."

About Micro Advanced Cosmetics (MAC), a division of MicroDental

To focus exclusively on advanced dental aesthetics, MicroDental Laboratories created the Micro Advanced Cosmetics (MAC) division in 1997. MAC team members are the most highly trained technicians in the industry, using the most advanced pressed ceramic materials and the most sophisticated CAD/CAM and color matching technology available today to create MAC Veneers. MAC brand veneers are the highest quality and the most specified veneer brand in the industry. For more information, please visit www.macveneers.com.

About MicroDental

MicroDental Laboratories is the world's largest and most advanced cosmetic dental laboratory, setting the industry standard for innovation and quality for more than 40 years. MicroDental works closely with leading manufacturers, cosmetic dentists and professional organizations to help develop new materials, dental procedures and meaningful continuing educational opportunities for dental industry professionals. The company holds over 30 patents, and many of the procedures MicroDental has developed have become industry best practices. MicroDental Laboratories employs over 500 people and is headquartered in Dublin, California. For more information, please visit www.microdental.com.
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Date:Dec 15, 2004
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