Veneers or also called porcelain veneers or even porcelain laminates are basically a thin layer of composite material that is layered on the surface of the tooth and later cemented in place. They are custom-made to fit the tooth and are used to change the tooth’s color, shape, size, or length.
Veneers are used a lot in cosmetic dentistry by actors, speakers, businesspeople and basically any type of professional who needs to look great in their profession. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers (also known as composite veneers) and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. It’s best to discuss with your dentist which type of veneer to use.
What type of problems do veneers fix?
Veneers are used to fix a few types of problems:
- Teeth that are discoloured: Either because of root canal treatment, stains of tetracycline or other drugs, excessive ingestion of flouride, or even the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth.
- Teeth that are worn down
- Broken of chipped teeth
- Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth
- Teeth with gaps between them
How is the procedure like to get veneers done?
It usually takes three visits to the dentist. These are the three steps in the process:
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
The first part is to discuss with the dentist the results you’re trying to achieve with the procedure. Your dentist will examine your teeth and determine whether or not veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. You may also need to get an X-ray and impressions of your mouth and teeth.
Preparing a tooth for a veneer involves removing 0.5 mm of enamel from the tooth’s surface. This is more or less equal to the thickness of the veneer. The dentist will decide whether or not to use a local anesthetic to numb the area. The next step is to make an impression or model of your tooth. This is then sent to a laboratory that constructs the veneer. It will take 2-4 weeks for the lab to send the veneers back to the dentist.
The veneer will be permanently cemented on your tooth. But before that, the dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color. The dentist will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer until the proper fit is achieved. This can also be done to match the color of cement that will be used. The tooth will be prepared to receive the veneer by cleaning, polishing, and etching. This gives the tooth a rougher surface that allows for a stronger bonding process. A special cement is then applied to the veneer and the veneer will be applied to the tooth. When the dentist is satisfied that the veneer is properly placed, he or she will shine a special light beam to the veneer that will activate chemicals in the cement to make it harden very rapidly. The final stage is removing excess cement, testing your bite, and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Your dentist may ask you to return in a few weeks for a follow-up visit to check how your gums are responding to the veneer and also to examine the veneer placement.