Dental veneers — also called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates — are wafer-thin, custom-made tooth-colored shells that cover the front surface of the tooth. They’re as strong as enamel and bond to the front of tooth to change its color, shape, size, or length.
With proper care, veneers last anywhere from five to 10 years before needing a replacement. Porcelain veneers can improve the tooth’s appearance as they provide a natural look without the need to reshape the tooth before applying.
Veneers are stain resistant and often used as an alternative to crowns. They can fix worn, chipped and broken teeth. They can also help teeth that are uneven, stained, irregularly-shaped, or misaligned.
People get porcelain veneers to close gaps between teeth and improve the tooth color affected by prescription drugs. Tetracycline, excessive fluoride or resin fillings can cause teeth to turn yellow.
Veneers can help the following teeth problems:
- Chipped or broken
- Worn down
The best news is that putting them on is easy, quick and mostly painless. Considering they’re stain resistant, you won’t have to worry about enjoying your favorite food or drinks. Some cosmetic dental procedures require significant preparation and tooth changes. Veneers don’t require much before placement.
After the initial consult, it typically takes two visits to make and apply the veneer. The veneer can be applied to one tooth or many.
What’s the procedure for a dental veneer?
You start by telling your dentist what result you’d like to see. The dentist will examine your teeth to determine whether veneers are a good option. He or she will explain the procedure and its limitations. You may have X-rays and possibly impressions made of your teeth.
Before proceeding with the preparation and placement, talk to your dentist about the need for a local anesthetic to numb the area.
The dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the surface of the tooth. This is about the same amount of the veneer that will be added. The dentist makes a model or impression of the teeth. The impression goes to the lab that will make the porcelain veneer. This takes about one to two weeks.
Before bonding the veneer to your tooth, the dentist temporarily places it on your tooth to check its fit and color. He or she will modify the veneer until it fits properly. Your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and etched. The etching roughens the tooth to strengthen the bonding.
Cement is applied to the veneer. The dentist then applies the veneer to your tooth. Once in place, the dentist uses a light beam on the dental veneer to activate the chemical in the cement. This hardens or cures it quickly. And finally, the dentist removes excess cement and completes any needed adjustments.
How do you take care of your porcelain veneers?
The same way you take care of your teeth every day. Brush and floss regularly. Visit the dentist for regular dental cleaning and maintenance. In some cases, people wear a night-guard to prevent teeth grinding or clenching while sleeping.