Dental veneers are permanent wafer-thin covers that improve the color, shape, size or length of teeth. Veneers consist of custom-made tooth-colored porcelain shells that look and feel like real teeth. Bonded to the front surface of teeth, provide a permanent cosmetic solution for stained or chipped teeth or for closing small gaps between teeth. Dental veneers are irreversible, so your dentist can help you decide if veneers are right for you.
Dentists often recommend veneers as a less-intrusive alternative to crowns or braces, as veneers can close gaps between teeth, correct small misalignments, and even make slightly rotated teeth appear straight. Dental veneers can alter the size and shape of teeth for a more uniform smile. Veneers can also enhance the brightness of a smile by correcting tooth discoloration, fractures, or chips.
The Veneers Procedure
The placement of veneers typically requires an evaluation plus two appointments. During the evaluation, the cosmetic dentist performs a comprehensive dental examination then takes photos and digital x-rays that help plan the color, shape, and placement of your veneers.
During the first appointment, the dentist cleans your teeth and determines the correct shade for your veneer. Next, the dental professional creates room for the veneers by removing a small amount of enamel from your teeth. Most patients do not need local anesthesia for the placement of veneers, but your dentist may recommend local anesthesia if you experience sensitivity.
The dentist then creates an impression of the tooth to send to the laboratory making the veneer. Finally, the dental professional will place acrylic temporary restorations over the teeth, which you will wear for about three weeks while you wait for your permanent veneers. The temporary coverings protect your teeth and help maintain the aesthetic appeal of your smile.
The second appointment follows delivery of the porcelain veneer. During this visit, the dentist will remove the temporary veneer and clean the tooth with pumice and water. We will prepare the tooth and use special chemicals to etch the surface of the veneers to create a strong bond. The dentist then uses strong cement to adhere the veneer to the front surface of the tooth and adjusts the veneer so that it sits in an optimal position on the tooth. Finally, the dentist shines a special light onto the surfaces of the veneer for 60 seconds, which activates the bonding action of the cement.
The dentist finishes the procedure by removing any excess material and polishing the margins of the veneer. This final step creates a dazzling smile.
Your cosmetic dentist may suggest a follow-up visit to check for fit and comfort, as comfortable veneers provide confident smiles. The follow-up appointment also provides your dentist with an opportunity to check the condition of your veneers, nearby teeth and gums. It is also a great chance to ask questions and gain insight into keeping your veneers looking as good as possible.
Caring for Veneers
With proper care, veneers can last up to 25 years. Fortunately, veneers are easy to care for – you can brush and floss them just as you do your other teeth. Brush twice a day with a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste and floss once daily for a healthy smile. Consider limiting your consumption of coffee, red wine, tea, dark sodas, soy sauce, berries and other stain-inducing foods and drinks. To keep your veneers white and bright, quit smoking. Avoid chewing on hard objects, such as pens, ice, fingernails and bones; while it is unlikely, it is possible to chip your veneers.
For more information on dental veneers, schedule an appointment with our dentist.