In addition to the whitening options we offer, another cosmetic procedure that Dr. Merkel performs is the placement of laminates (or veneers).

What are laminates?

Laminates are very thin, custom made shells that are placed over the front of teeth to improve their appearance.  Although laminates fall into the cosmetic dentistry category, they also protect the surface of damaged teeth and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments.  Other benefits include increased durability, improved smile appearance and decidedly less tooth structure removal than a crown.  Conversely, if your natural teeth are functional and esthetically adequate, laminates may not be an appropriate treatment for you.

When are laminates appropriate?

If your teeth exhibit any of the following conditions, you may be an appropriate candidate for laminates:

  • Worn enamel or general wear and tear
  • Over time, the thin, hard translucent substance covering your teeth (enamel) can become worn, dull and discolored.  This can occur naturally or result from a genetic predisposition.  It can also result from consuming soft drinks, coffee or tea, smoking and the use of certain medications (i.e. tetracycline).  Teeth also wear down as people age.  Aged teeth are more likely to have chips, cracks or generally a more uneven appearance.  Bruxism (teeth grinding) is yet another cause of worn teeth.
  • Uneven teeth or uneven spacing between the teeth
  • Uneven teeth can result from bruxism or general wear and tear.  Uneven spacing between teeth can be genetic and typically worsens with age.

What kinds of materials are used to fabricate laminates?

The two most common materials used to fabricate laminates are porcelain and composite resin.  Indirect porcelain laminates are made by a dental technician in a dental laboratory. 
Direct composite resin laminates (or bonding) is done in our office during your appointment.  This is a relatively inexpensive, safe and minimally invasive way to restore small chips, cracks or discoloration of the teeth.  It is not always permanent, however. 

The laminate process

First, an impression is made of your mouth.  Second, the impression is sent to a dental lab and a “diagnostic wax-up” is fabricated.  The diagnostic wax-up gives the patient an accurate preview of how his or her finished case will look.  At this time, the patient can decide whether to pursue treatment or not.

Laminates do have the added benefit of longevity and a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped teeth.

Care must be taken not to abuse veneers because the thin porcelain shells or composite layers can be damaged or break.
Pricing information is available by calling our office at 734-944-2755.  Some insurance companies will pay for a portion of the cost of laminates.

In-Office Whitening

We offer two whitening systems – BriteSmile and Zoom!  Both are in-office procedures that can be completed in about an hour (patients are scheduled for two hours total).  Safe and effective, most patients can expect an average improvement of approximately 8 shades.

Before any whitening procedure, we will conduct a thorough dental health history.  You are not an appropriate whitening candidate if any of the following are present:

  • Carious lesions
  • Broken or lost restorations
  • Crowns or laminates on anterior teeth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Extensive calculus

Please call our office to see if you are an appropriate candidate and for pricing information.  BriteSmile often runs specials throughout the year.  For the most up-to-date pricing information, visit