A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of heat-fired porcelain that is custom made to fit your teeth. They are almost as thin as a contact lens and look very real, which means they achieve instant results without the discomfort and hassle often associated with other procedures, like braces and crowns. Acquiring a dental veneer in most cases usually requires three trips to the dentist, the first appointment mainly being for a consultation and two others to make and apply the veneers. The process can be done on one or more teeth all at the same time.
The first step usually entails diagnosis and preparation of the treatment plan, this requires active participation between the patient and the dentist who will examine the situation and determine whether veneers are the appropriate option. The dentist may go further to take x-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth. The second stage is the preparation stage where the dentist will remove ½ mm of enamel from the tooth surface under anesthesia.
The dentist will then make a model or impression of your tooth. This model is sent out to a dental laboratory, who in turn constructs your veneer; this usually takes a period of between 1 to2 weeks. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color. The teeth will then be cleaned, polished, and etched; this roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process. Special cement is then applied to the veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth.
Once properly positioned on the tooth, the dentist will then apply a special light beam to the porcelain veneer, this activates chemicals in the cement causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. In some cases, the dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.
Dental veneers are the quickest and most convenient solution to minor teeth defects such as crooked teeth and small gaps in-between teeth.