Dental veneers are thin pieces of the porcelain material used to cover the front surface of teeth. They improve the appearance of discolored, chipped, worn-down, or even gaps between teeth. The color can be customized to a patient’s preference. Veneers often provide a good alternative to crowns and can last for many years.
Obtaining veneers is a multi-step process. The initial consultation is important because it allows the patient to discuss his or her desired results and expectations. The dentist will do an examination and explain the process, proper care, cost and other related information about veneers. It is critical for patients to ask questions and together with the dentist determine if veneers are a good fit.
At the next appointment, the dentist will remove a small amount (about ½ millimeter) of enamel from the tooth surface and make an impression of the tooth (sometimes local anesthetic is used during this process). This impression is then sent to a dental lab, where it typically takes 1-2 weeks to make the custom veneer. If desired, temporary veneers can be used in the meantime.
At the final appointment, the veneers are permanently cemented to the teeth. The dentist will temporarily place it on the tooth to trim and adjust as necessary in order to achieve the perfect fit. The color can be adjusted at this time based on the shade of cement used, so it’s important for patients to take their time when making the final decision because once the veneers are attached the color cannot be changed. Finally, the dentist will clean, etch and prepare for the bond. Once in place, a light beam is used to harden the cement.
Some patients take several days to adjust to the new feel of the teeth, although no special care is needed. People with veneers can eat, brush and floss as normal. Continued dental hygiene and regular dental visits remain important to maintaining a healthy smile.
Veneers can greatly improve a patient’s smile and overall self-esteem. If you are considering or have questions about veneers contact us today to schedule a consultation.