Procedures

Veneers

What are porcelain veneers?
A porcelain veneer is a wafer-thin facing of tooth-colored porcelain material that replaces the front visible part of the tooth. Candidates for porcelain veneers include people with stained, badly shaped, chipped, broken, or crooked teeth. Veneers can dramatically change the overall appearance of teeth, including size, shape, color, and length.

What’s involved?
The procedure takes two visits following the initial consultation. You will receive a mild anesthetic to numb the area. Your dentist will begin by removing .5 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface. This is approximately the same size as the veneer. Next, your dentist will make an impression of the tooth to send to a dental laboratory where the permanent veneer will be constructed. This process generally takes one to two weeks. If necessary, your dentist can place temporary dental veneers until the permanent ones are finished.

On your second visit, your dentist will temporarily place the newly constructed veneer on your tooth to examine its fit and color. Your dentist may repeatedly remove the veneer to trim it to ensure the proper fit. To prepare your tooth for the veneer, your dentist will clean and polish it. Then your dentist will give the tooth a rough surface by etching it. This allows for a strong bonding process. The veneer is attached with special cement. Once it is in position, your dentist will use a special light beam that activates the chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden very quickly. Your dentist will then remove any excess cement and make any necessary final adjustments.

What should I know before getting a porcelain veneer?
Porcelain veneers are an irreversible process due to the fact that your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell. Your dentist may suggest that you avoid drinks such as coffee, tea, or red wine, as they might stain your veneers. Since the process involves removing enamel, your tooth may become more sensitive to extreme temperatures. Although not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off, so you will want to avoid chewing on hard objects or your nails. If veneers crack or chip, they cannot be repaired. Teeth with porcelain veneers can still experience decay, so it is important to follow good oral hygiene habits. With proper care, veneers can last between five and ten years.