Dental veneers, oftentimes called dental porcelain laminates or porcelain veneers is an offshoot of the basic science of cosmetic dental bonding. They are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded on the front portion of the teeth to improve its’ appearance while also providing strength and resilience that is comparable to natural tooth enamel. It is the most common cosmetic solution used for teeth that are chipped, worn, with gaps, stained or slightly misaligned.
Just like natural teeth, porcelain veneers are brushed and flossed. They also should not interfere with one’s eating as they integrated into the natural tooth structure. The best part of having porcelain veneers is that they are highly resistant to staining from wine, tea, coffee and cigarette smoking. Moreover, veneers and laminates have a natural appeal to them and may last up to 20 years.
Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for the initial consultation and two to make and apply the veneers, with the time span lying between the second and third visits one to two weeks.
During the first visit, the dentist will ask and take note of the patient’s medical history, assess the patient’s teeth to see if porcelain veneer is appropriate, ask what the patient would like to accomplish and discuss the procedure and its limitations. This is also the time when the dentist will take X-rays and make impressions of the patient’s mouth and teeth.
The second meeting is all about preparation. The dentist will prepare the tooth for porcelain veneer bonding by scraping off .5 to .7 millimeters of enamel from the tooth surface. So the patient won’ feel any discomfort, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area that needs to be worked on. After this procedure, the dentist will then make a model or impression of the tooth which will be sent to a dental laboratory for veneer fabrication. Since the veneer construction may take 1-2 weeks, the dentist may put temporary veneer on the exposed tooth area for precautionary measure.
The third visit to the dentist is set for bonding. Before the new porcelain veneer is permanently bonded to the tooth, the dentist will temporarily place it on the tooth to evaluate how accurately it fits. The dentist will do this repeatedly until he or she is satisfied with the fit. Once the dentist is satisfied with the fit and color or the porcelain veneer, he or she will clean, polish and etch the tooth to prepare it for the permanent placing of the veneer. Next, a light-sensitive resin is placed between the original tooth and the veneer and then hardened using a special curing light. Finally, the dentist will remove any excess cement, evaluate the patient’s bite and make any final adjustments in the veneer if needed.
The patient will be asked to return for follow up visit a weeks after the procedure so the dentist can examine the veneer’s placement and check how the gum is responding to the veneer.