A veneer is a thin, custom-made layer of porcelain crafted to fit over the front surface of a tooth to fix large gaps between teeth or to correct uneven, chipped, or discolored teeth. Porcelain or laminate veneers are an important part of cosmetic dentistry, allowing us to alter tooth position, shape, size and color. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the desired color. Porcelain veneers can give you a beautiful new smile, which boosts self confidence and can even prove to be life changing. Situations for porcelain veneers include:
- Chipped or worn teeth
- Uneven smile
- Discolored or stained teeth (including Tetracycline stains)
- Extreme cases of fluorosis
- Gapped teeth (diastema closure)
- Flared or crooked teeth
- Peg laterals
- Black triangle closure
The application of porcelain veneers can require up to 3 trips to your dentist.
At your first visit, your dentist will diagnose the need for porcelain veneers and develop a treatment-plan. During this time he will examine the current condition of your teeth and help you select the color, shape and length for your fixed tooth.
During the preparation session, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel to make room for the veneers. He will then create a mold of your teeth and send it to a laboratory. Veneers are made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from the model provided by your dentist. Typically within two weeks, the laboratory will send back the porcelain veneers to your dentist.
During the bonding session your dentist will give you a trial fitting so that you may see the fit and the color before the final placement. If you are not satisfied, this is the time to request any changes. Once you have decided that these veneers are right for your smile, your dentist will clean your teeth with bond-aiding chemicals, and bond the veneers to your teeth. Finally, your dentist will polish the porcelain veneers and the procedure will be complete.
Sometimes the application of a porcelain veneer does not require the use of a local anesthetic. But, for patients that are particularly sensitive or anxious, a local anesthetic is a good choice.
What to Expect after the Procedure
After placement your porcelain veneers will be very strong and will be able to resist normal forces. Sensitivity to hot and cold may be experienced after the placement of your veneers. Sensitivity is normal and usually goes away within two weeks.
How to care for your newly placed veneers:
• Brush and floss, as you did prior to getting porcelain veneers, with any non-abrasive toothpaste.
• Avoid foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneers such as coffee, tea or red wine.
• If you are a bruxer or clencher, please let your dentist know. He/she may fabricate a night guard for you to wear to minimize the stresses placed upon your teeth while you sleep.
How long do Veneers last?
Veneers should last for many years, but they can chip, break, or become discolored just like any other teeth. Small chips can usually be repaired, but discolored veneers cannot be bleached. If a future problem (breaks, discoloration) is unfixable a new veneer can be fitted. Your dentist will explain how long each individual veneer should last.