Dental veneers are wafer-thin shells made of porcelain or resin composite material that cover the front surface of teeth. They are sometime called dental porcelain laminates. They are designed and bonded to change the color, shape, size, or length of a tooth.
Dental veneers are primarily used for cosmetic purposes and routinely used to fix:
- Teeth that are Discolored from excessive treatments such as fluoride, tetracycline or large resin filling
- Worn down teeth
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Misaligned, uneven, or shaped irregularly
- Teeth with Gaps or spaces between them
Porcelain veneer can mimic light reflecting properties of natural teeth than resin veneer. Veneers made of resin are thinner, but don’t require as much of the tooth surface to be removed. Dentists can help patients choose which material is best for them.
When a patient needs to get a dental veneer, he/she will need to visit the dentist three times. The first visit is the consultation and the other two are for making and applying the veneers.
On the first visit, the patients discuss their preferences and the results they would like to see. The dentist then examines the patient’s teeth to determine whether veneers are suitable and may also take X-rays and/or impressions of the patient’s mouth and teeth. The second visit is the preparation stage.
The dentist makes the first impression of the tooth in order to make a model of the tooth. The model of the tooth is then made into a veneer. This process may take two weeks, so the patient is asked to revisit. The patient can be given a temporary veneer until the permanent veneer is made at an extra cost. The third visit is for bonding of the veneer
When the veneer is made, the third appointment is made to bond it to the patient’s tooth. The dentist clean, polish and etch the veneer. The dentist also checks the color of the veneer before permanently cementing it. The veneer is then applied to the tooth with special cement, which is activated with a light beam. The area of extra cement will be cleaned after the cement hardens. Any necessary adjustment should be.
If necessary, the dentist may ask for a follow-up appointment to check on how the surrounding gums are accepting the veneer.
- The dentist should inform the patients that the process cannot be reversed.
- They may be more expensive than composite resin bonding.
- They are not repairable if chipped or cracked and they do not react to normal teeth whitening procedures.
- They may also cause some sensitivity and can sometimes fall off with excessive pressure.
Veneers should be replaced within 5 to 10 years of their application. Patients may want to consider bonding or crowns as alternatives to veneers.