What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are porcelain facings that are custom-designed and fabricated to fit over the front of the teeth. They are then bonded into place. The process is similar to the way in which a fake fingernail is placed over the nail.
Why are Porcelain Veneers Used?
- To fix discolored teeth
- To fix teeth that are worn down
- To fix teeth that are chipped or broken
- To fix teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
- To fix teeth with gaps (to close the spaces)
Porcelain veneers usually involve three steps, requiring three different dental visits. The first visit is for the consultation, and the other two visits are to make and apply the actual veneers.
- Diagnosis and treatment planning: The dentist examines your teeth to make sure veneers are appropriate for you. They will then discuss the overall procedure involved, as well as the limitations of veneers. The dentist may also take x-rays and possibly make impressions of your mouth and teeth.
- Preparation: The dentist removes small amounts of enamel from the tooth surface, an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer that will be added to the tooth surface. The need for a local anesthetic to numb the area will be discussed before this occurs. Next, a model or impression of your tooth is made so that a dental laboratory can construct the veneer. It will usually take about two weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers from the laboratory. If necessary, temporary veneers can be placed for very unsightly teeth.
- Bonding: Your tooth will be cleaned, polished and etched in order to roughen the tooth for a strong bonding process. A cement is then applied to the veneer and the veneer is placed on the tooth. A special blue light beam then activates the cement so that it hardens quickly. Excess cement is removed. Finally, the dentist evaluates your bite and final adjustments to the veneer are made if necessary.