Porcelain veneers are slim porcelain shells designed to be laid over the front of the teeth to restore their natural appearance. The shells also perform functions of strength and stability in much the same way as your tooth enamel. Veneers are a common option for patients who wish to alter the color, size, and shape of their existing teeth. If you are considering having veneers applied to your teeth, here are all the steps that go into the procedure.
Before any work begins, your dentist needs to determine if you are a good candidate for veneers. That evaluation process includes a full dental examination and a discussion about the benefits and risks inherent to this option. The first thing you need to understand is that veneers are permanent. Once they are applied they cannot be taken out.
The next step involves removing a small amount of the enamel from your teeth, typically no more than 1/16th of an inch. The dentist will then shape the tooth to fix any gaps that exist and clear away any decay.
You and your dentist will pick the shade of your veneer, but while a white smile can be beautiful don’t pick something too white as it will look manufactured and your smile won’t appear natural. Most dental professionals suggest going no more than two to three shades lighter than your natural teeth.
This step requires your dentist to make an impression of your teeth with either optical cameras or with a more old-school method involving impression putty. This is how your veneers will be built so that they fit your teeth properly.
Building the Veneer
Veneers are created and then they are sent to a lab for processing and finishing. Depending on the equipment and capabilities of your dental office, the veneers will either be completed on the premises or your dentist will have them shipped out to a lab where it could take two to three weeks until they are ready for application. In the event you do have to wait, your dentist will typically place a temporary veneer until your permanent versions are ready.
The day has arrived and your new veneers are ready to be attached. The dentist will first measure and compare the veneer to your teeth to ensure that they were properly processed and they will fit correctly. Then, the veneer is bonded to the teeth with a special bonding agent that keeps it firmly in place.