If you’ve ever wondered how celebrities and social media influencers have such high-wattage smiles, it may be due to their veneers. They can improve the color, shape and length of teeth and help create a more attractive smile.
Dental veneers are strong and durable but should be treated with the same care as your natural teeth, which means regular teeth cleanings and visits to your dentist.
Porcelain veneers have the luster and beauty of natural teeth, which means they will blend in with your smile. These dental restorations are also stain-resistant and can last several years before they need to be replaced. Since porcelain veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure, they are typically not covered by insurance. However, many credit facilities offer financing options to help you afford this treatment.
The first step in the porcelain veneers process is a consultation with your dentist. During this visit, your dentist will evaulate your mouth and determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. If you are, your dentist will remove a very thin layer of enamel and take an impression of your teeth. This will be sent to a lab where the permanent veneers will be fabricated.
During your second appointment, your dentist will cement the veneers onto your teeth. You may need some time to get used to the feel of your new smile, but recovery from the placement of porcelain veneers is usually very quick. The only risk associated with porcelain veneers is that they can dislodge or fall off, but this can be prevented by practicing proper oral hygiene and visiting your dentist and hygienist for regular cleanings.
As a more affordable alternative to porcelain, composite veneers are shaped freehand directly onto the teeth and tend to last two to five years. They also provide an excellent solution for patients looking to reshape their smile, fix misalignments or cover cracked teeth.
For indirect veneers, the dentist will first prepare your teeth for the process by etching them and applying an adhesive glue to their surface. Once this is done, a mold will be made and then the veneers will be fabricated in the lab. This process could take a few weeks.
With direct composite veneers, the dentist can do everything chairside during a single visit. The resin is applied to the tooth in layers and sculpted to conceal the imperfections, and then each layer is hardened using a curing light. The result is a more natural look than porcelain veneers, but the procedure requires extreme attention to detail. Also, composite resin is more susceptible to staining than porcelain and must be properly polished in order to maintain its natural appearance.
During the first visit, some tooth preparation is necessary. The teeth are buffed, etched, and trimmed to produce a surface that can hold the veneers. Depending on the amount of prep needed, a local anesthetic may be used.
Since porcelain veneers are so thin, they can easily chip or crack. Feldspathic porcelain is also relatively fragile. Therefore, a rather aggressive tooth preparation is required to provide sufficient material thickness to withstand normal chewing forces. The prep begins with a 1.0 to 1.5 mm uniform facial reduction, followed by a 0.5 mm subgingival margin and a 0.2 mm chamfer at the interproximal edges.
The lingual surfaces of the front teeth are usually left intact, except for small class III cavities or old restorations. If the lingual surfaces are too worn to support a new veneer, repair them as a standard direct composite restoration. It is very important to not expose too much of the dentin during preparation for veneers, because this can decrease the longevity of the restorations. Also, the patient should be educated on proper oral hygiene practices to prevent decay under the veneers.
Unlike veneers, bonding does not require removing any tooth structure and can be completed in just one appointment. Composite resin is a tooth-colored material that dentists mold and shape to match your teeth, covering discoloration, chipped or uneven teeth, or filling small cavities.
Before applying the bonding material, your dentist cleans and etchs the surface of your natural tooth. Etching creates tiny holes in the tooth’s enamel, which helps the bonding material adhere to your natural teeth. Then, a dental composite resin is placed on the tooth and hardened with ultraviolet light. Your dentist may reshape the tooth to ensure a good fit, and the composite resin is polished and shined to complete the procedure.
After the procedure, you should avoid eating or drinking anything that could stain the veneers. Also, it is important to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing. With these habits, your veneers will last for years to come. You may notice some rough spots on the veneers, but these will wear down after several days of normal chewing and teeth brushing. If the rough patches persist, talk to your dentist about smoothing them.
During the first appointment, we talk to you about your goals for the veneers and why you want them. This also gives you the chance to discuss your dental history and tell us about any oral health issues that you are currently experiencing or have had in the past.
Your dentist will then take an impression of your teeth and determine their natural shade, which is sent to the lab to create your new veneers. We may place temporary veneers in the meantime, and once we have received your permanent set, you will return to our office for placement.
The dentist will examine the color, shape and fit of the veneers, repeatedly removing them and trimming them to ensure that they are perfectly positioned on your tooth before permanently cementing them in place. We will also ask you to open and close your mouth, bite, and move your teeth around in a way that simulates how the veneers will be used.
After the veneers have been bonded, we will rinse and dry the tooth’s surface and then apply an adhesive. We will use a special light beam to activate the chemicals in the cement, which cause it to harden very quickly.