The word veneer technically means an overlay or covering which is meant to be protective or ornamental to an under surface. Dental veneers accomplish the same purpose.
Dental Veneers or Laminates are wafer thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth to primarily improve your appearance. These are custom made to your teeth giving you a natural look and feel.
Dental Veneers can be made of porcelain or composite resin veneer. However the former are more popular as porcelain is more resistant to wear and tear than composite.
What are Dental Veneers USED for?
- Discolored Teeth: Teeth can be discolored for a number of reasons. This can be inherent like fluorosis or tetracycline staining, due to previously sustained trauma, long term and large fillings and old Root canal treatments without crowns.
- Worn out or chipped teeth
- Misaligned, uneven or irregularly shaped teeth
- Teeth with small gaps between them: While large gaps require orthodontic treatment, smaller gaps can be closed or reduced with veneers.
What is the procedure for dental veneers?
There are 3 steps in the procedure of dental veneers:
- Diagnosis and treatment plan: It is crucial in this step to explain to the dentist what you expect the results to be. Following this, the dentist will conduct a number of tests and X-rays to ensure that dental veneers are possible in your case. Your dentist will then explain the limitations of the procedure along with the apt products for your case. He or she may also take impressions of your teeth.
- Preparation: Dental veneer preparation is very different from a crown preparation. There is minimal or sometimes no cutting of the teeth, depending on the case. This is in stark contrast to the preparation of a dental crown where the whole tooth is prepared. If required, your dentist will prepare temporaries to make up for the interim before the permanent fixture
- Bonding: When the permanent veneers arrive, your dentist will first try them on to check the fit. For proper fit, additional chairside trimming maybe necessary. Once he or she is satisfied with the fit, a special cement is selected which will be of the same color as that of your tooth. The cementation process is then undertaken. Finally, the excess cement is removed and a bite evaluation is done. You will be called for a follow up in a week’s time.
The primary advantage of a dental veneer is that it is a very conservative process where not much of the natural tooth structure is removed. A veneer can easily last for about 7-15 years, following which they have to be changed to maintain the health and appearance of your teeth.
While good oral hygiene is enough to maintain dental veneers, some precautions need to be taken. Do not put excessive pressure on the veneered teeth like biting your nails, a pencil or any hard object as it may lead to the dislodgement of veneers. You are advised to avoid stain inducing food and beverages.
So if you have been wondering what the perfect smile or the “Hollywood smile” is, go ask your dentist today!