Veneers are important tools in Cosmetic Dentistry. A dental veneer (often
called a porcelain veneer or dental porcelain laminate) is wafer-thin layer of tooth-colored restorative material that is placed over a tooth’s surface, either to improve the aesthetics of the tooth or protect a damaged tooth surface.
Dental veneers can be made of porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers are natural looking, tend to resist stains better than resin veneer and better mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers are thinner and require that less of the tooth surface be removed before placement.
Dental veneers are used to fix a variety of problems, including:
- Teeth that are discolored — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
- Teeth that are worn down, chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
- Teeth with gaps between them
The dental veneer process
Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to our office—one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. The initial visit involves a thorough examination to make sure that dental veneers are the appropriate option for you and to explain what the procedure will involve. The dentist may also take x-rays and make impressions of your mouth and tooth.
The second step is to prepare the tooth for a veneer. This involves the dentist removing about ½ millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface (roughly the thickness of the veneer that is to be added to the tooth surface). Some instances can be treated without removal of any tooth structure as well. Next, a model or impression is made of the tooth, and this is sent out to the dental lab that will construct the veneer. It usually takes one to two weeks for us to receive the veneer back from the lab.
Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, the dentist will temporarily place it on the tooth to examine how it fits and how the color matches the tooth—and, as needed, repeatedly remove and trim the veneer to achieve the proper fit. (The color can be adjusted with the shade of cement used for application.)
To prepare your tooth to receive the veneer, the dentist will clean, polish and etch, which means roughening the tooth to ensure a strong bonding process.
Special cement is applied to the veneer, and the veneer is then placed on the tooth. Once it is properly positioned on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light beam, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as needed.
The dentist may request that you return for a follow-up visit a couple of weeks later to check how your gums are responding to the veneer and recheck how the veneer is fitting.
Dental veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years, after which they need to be replaced. They do not require any special care, however. Just continue to follow a good oral hygiene, including your regular brushing and flossing regimen.
If you’re looking for an effective solution to straightening your teeth and beautifying your smile, a veneer may be just the answer. Stop by today or schedule an appointment for a consultation. Contact Us!