Dental Veneers or Porcelain Laminates are shells of tooth coloured material that can be attached to the tooth. Unlike crowns which require more preparation, veneers require minimal preparation, in some cases none at all! That means, the least number of burs or as many popularly call it “dental drills” are used. Veneers are mostly used on the front teeth to improve appearance and mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. They are bonded to the tooth with tooth coloured cement, further enhancing aesthetics. Dental veneers are perfect for discoloured teeth, deformed teeth or even fracture.
The primary difference between dental veneers and crowns is the fact that there is minimal removal of natural tooth structure for dental veneers. In some cases, veneers can be placed without any tooth preparation, termed as “non-preparation veneers”. This is an effective tool in smile designing, where major tooth mal-position is absent and the primary aim of the patient is aesthetics.
Veneers can be either direct or indirect veneers. Composite veneers are usually direct veneers when the dentist uses this material to shape and correct the form of the tooth, chairside. Indirect veneers are usually made of porcelain, frequently lithium disilicate, due to their high aesthetics. Post tooth preparation, records are made and sent to the lab, which then proceeds to create the veneers, according to the specifications of the dentist.
However, it should be remembered that not every dental aesthetic defect can be corrected with veneers. The results will simply not be stable in the case of a high caries index, bad oral hygiene, and severely mal-positioned teeth. Therefore, other modalities of treatment like root canal treatment, crown and bridge and orthodontics must be employed to achieve optimum aesthetics and function.