Dental veneers are also sometimes referred to as porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates. These are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth. The main purpose of veneers is to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. They can be worn to improve the color, shape or size of your teeth. These shells are created in a lab and then bonded to the front of your existing teeth.
TYPES OF VENEERS
Dental veneers are primarily made of two types of materials: 1) porcelain or 2) composite resin. Porcelain veneers are known to be more durable and resist stains better than resin veneers. They also can better mimic natural teeth because of the way the light reflects off of them. Resin veneers are actually not created in a laboratory, but rather applied directly to the teeth in the dental office. They are typically less expensive and have a shorter shelf life than porcelain veneers. Your dentist will discuss with you what the best choice is for you and your smile.
WHEN TO CONSIDER VENEERS
The main reasons that patients consider veneers are:
· stained or discolored teeth
· crooked, misaligned or misshapen teeth
· to correct space between teeth
· broken or chipped teeth
PROCESS OF INSTALLING VENEERS
Veneers usually require two visits to your dentist (after your initial consultation) – the first visit is for preparation and the second is the actual bonding. At the preparation visit, there are 3 steps to be completed. Firstly, to prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface. This is about the thickness of the veneer that will be added on top of your tooth.
Secondly, an impression is taken of your teeth or tooth. This will be sent out to a laboratory, where they will create the veneer. Lastly, your dentist will likely create a temporary veneer in the office and apply that to your tooth with an adhesive substance. This depends on how much of your enamel was removed or how unsightly your natural tooth appears after preparation. The temporary veneer also protects your natural tooth until the bonding visit.
At the second visit, the first step is to remove the temporary veneer if you received one. Then, your dentist will temporarily place the new veneer over your existing tooth to check fit and color match. The dentist can trim the shape or paint the color in the office until it’s ideal for your smile. Once both you and the dentist are satisfied with the look and feel of the veneer, it can now be bonded to your tooth. To prepare your tooth, it will be cleaned, polished, and etched, which means that the tooth’s surface is roughened to allow the veneer to better bond to it. A special dental cement is applied to the veneer, and the veneer is then placed on top of your tooth. Your dentist will use a special tool with a light beam, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden or cure very quickly.
Lastly, any excess cement will be removed. Your dentist will check your bite and make any final adjustments. You may be asked to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks so that the dentist can check how your gums are responding to the veneer, and to examine the veneer's placement once again.