What are dental veneers?
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. It is often the material of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color.
Your dentist will most likely begin with a smile analysis to determine what steps are necessary to achieve the smile you desire. In addition, your dentist may create a diagnostic mock-up that will allow you to “try on” veneers and other procedures to see if the final result is actually what you’re looking for. Your dentist may also show you a photo of how your new smile will look. This is called cosmetic imaging
Patients with stains and damaged, chipped or worn and discolored filings or with gaps between their front teeth may choose veneers instead of crowns.
Veneers Consultation and Treatment Planning
To determine if you are a candidate for dental veneers, your dentist will schedule a preliminary consultation during which your oral health will be evaluated and all available treatment options discussed. Veneer treatment involving tooth preparation is irreversible, so it is important that your dentist discuss any alternatives that provide the same results but with minimal to no removal of tooth structure. If you and your dentist decide that veneers are the best option, the next step involves a thorough review of treatment details, including preparing your teeth for your specific veneer procedure and what will be necessary for them to look and fit correctly.
During your veneers consultation, you will actively participate in the “smile design process.” By sharing your preferences for the shape, length, width and color of the veneers and the change in the appearance of your smile that you want them to create, you help ensure that your veneer treatment will meet your expectations. It is important that your dentist understands your objectives when undergoing a veneer procedure.
The Veneer Dental Procedure
There are several steps in the dental veneer procedure. First, your dentist will likely administer a local anesthetic so you will be comfortable during tooth preparation and placement of the veneer. Your natural tooth is then prepared by minimally reshaping it with a small handheld rotational cutting device called a bur to provide the best fit. Burs come in various shapes and sizes and allow precise and minimal shaping of a tooth prior to veneer placement.
If your treatment involves direct composite resin veneers, your dentist then will apply the appropriately shaded composite to your teeth, shape the material and harden it using a high intensity light. Additional layers of composite may be applied to build the veneer to the correct shape, length and form for your smile. When all composite is placed, the veneers will be finished and polished using burs and polishers to create a vital and lifelike smile.
If your treatment requires porcelain veneers, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth from which a mold of your mouth will be made. This impression may be sent to an outside dental laboratory where the veneers will be professionally fabricated. Some dentists have an in-house dental laboratory and technicians to provide restorative and esthetic treatments such as porcelain veneers in less time. Other dentists have chairside CAD/CAM technology and may fabricate the veneer in one visit.