The right veneers are a quick way to a beautiful smile, and this treatment is perfect for people wanting to correct stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to recreate the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are internally etched and then bonded to the enamel of the teeth. A small amount of tooth structure must be removed to make room for the porcelain veneer and to avoid making the tooth look bulky. The tooth preparation is limited to the enamel and usually involves only a few surfaces of the tooth, unlike a crown or cap. Veneers are made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from a model provided by your dentist.
Most of the time, placing veneers is an irreversible process because it’s necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to accommodate the shell. So, having them placed is a big decision. Before you and your dentist decide the procedure is right for you, it’s important to have the right information about veneers, their cost and how best to care for them.
Steps to Placing Veneers
The typical process takes one or two appointments. If the veneer is prefabricated it usually takes one appointment and if the laboratory is creating the veneer it takes two appointments.
- Local anesthesia is not typically required when placing veneers. Depending on the patient’s sensitivity, it can be used if needed. The dentist will clean the tooth and determine the correct shade for the veneer. The dentist removes a very small amount of the enamel of the tooth to provide room to place the veneer on the tooth.
- An impression of the tooth will be made for the laboratory and a temporary veneer will be placed on the tooth with spot etching in the center of the tooth away from the margins.
- After the laboratory has delivered the porcelain veneer to your dentist, the temporary veneer is removed, the tooth is cleaned with pumice and water. The veneer is then etched, rinsed thoroughly with water and air dried. The adhesive is placed on the preparation and then the cement and the veneer is placed for exact fit and contour.
- The veneer is then light cured for 60 seconds on all surfaces of it to attach it to the tooth structure.
- Your dentist will remove any excess material and polish the margins of the veneer.
Am I a good candidate for getting veneers?
- Your teeth and gums must be healthy before you get veneers. Your dentist can treat any disease or decay before your veneers are placed.
- Veneers are not always a good choice for patients who clench or grind their teeth, because the thin veneers may chip or break.
- Although we remove as little tooth enamel as possible for veneers, the process cannot be undone once the enamel is removed.
- It is possible for veneers to come loose over time. In that case, new ones might be needed.
- As with all your dental care, discuss all your expectations and treatment options with us. Regular dental visits are a must for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
What to expect after getting veneers
- Veneers can chip under pressure. Avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard objects.
- It may take you a few days to get used to the feel of your veneers. But do let us know if your bite does not feel right after the veneer has been placed. We can correct it before you leave the office.
- Keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing and flossing each day. You can still get cavities under or around veneers.
If you have any questions about veneers, contact us!