If you are looking for a way to improve your smile, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. These wafer-thin shells fit over the front surface of the teeth, improving their appearance and transforming your smile. The veneers are commonly made from porcelain, though resin is also available.
What conditions do dental veneers fix?
Your dentist may recommend veneers for a few conditions:
- Teeth with permanent discoloration
- Teeth with worn surfaces
- Teeth with chips or broken edges
- Teeth that are out of alignment, uneven, or have an irregular shape
- Teeth with gaps between
How are dental veneers applied?
When you decide to have veneers applied, you can expect at least three trips to the dentist.
On the first trip, you and the dentist will decide exactly what needs to be done. The dentist will do a full oral exam to make sure your teeth are in good shape and that veneers are appropriate. The exam may include X-rays and taking impressions.
During the second trip, the dentist will prepare your teeth for the porcelain veneers. This involves removing about 0.5 millimeter of the front enamel on the tooth. This is what gives the veneer space to sit without protruding from the surface of the tooth. You may or may not need anesthetic.
After removing the enamel, the dentist will make an impression of the teeth. This is what the dental laboratory uses to create the custom veneers for the patient. The turnaround time with the lab is usually one to two weeks.
When the veneers come back from the lab, the dentist will schedule the third and final visit. This is when the veneers get fitted and bonded into place. The dentist will dry fit the veneers in place, making sure the color and shape is appropriate. He can trim the veneer a bit to fine tune the fit, if necessary.
Before the dentist bonds the veneers into place, he will clean, polish, and etch the surface of the tooth. The dentist applies a special cement to the tooth and positions the tooth into place. He fine tunes the placement before activating the cement with a special light. This causes the veneer to cure into place quickly. The last step is to remove any excess cement.
Veneers have the look of natural teeth. They are stain resistant. They are conservative compared to crowns and other cosmetic tooth replacements. If you are looking for a cost-effective way to transform your smile, consider porcelain veneers.