Dental veneers (also often referred to as porcelain veneers or dental laminates) are very thin, custom-created ‘shells’ made of natural-looking tooth-coloured materials. They are designed to fit over and cover the front surface of the tooth, improving the appearance of the tooth and the appearance of the smile overall. The veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth, which works to enhance and improve the colour, shape, length, or size of the teeth.
What are the Different Types of Veneers?
Dental veneers are typically made from either porcelain or resin. Porcelain veneers tend to do better at resisting staining and also better at reflecting light in a way that mimics the properties of natural teeth. Porcelain veneers are also more durable than resin or composite veneers and can offer a simpler application process. For these reasons, porcelain veneers tend to be the more popular option, but your dentist will work with you to identify the best option for your smile.
What Kinds of Problems Do Veneers Fix?
Veneers are usually used to improve the appearance of your smile. Some of the problems that veneers are best at remedying are:
- Teeth that are Worn Down
- Heavily Stained or Discoloured Teeth
- Teeth that are Broken or Chipped
- Uneven, Misaligned or have an Irregular Shape
- Gaps Between Teeth
How Are Dental Veneers Applied?
Dental Veneer Procedure
The process of getting dental veneers typically requires three trips to your dentist. The first one will be a consultation and the next two to create and apply the veneers. One tooth or several teeth can be treated through the veneering process at the same time.
Your dentist will have a conversation with you about the appearance and the result you are hoping to achieve. During this initial consultation appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to identify whether dental veneers are the best option for you. They will also discuss the process and what to expect. This appointment may also include the taking of x-rays or impressions of the mouth and teeth.
The process of preparing the tooth for the application of a veneer begins with your dentist reshaping the surface of the teeth. The surface of the tooth should be approximately equal to the thickness of the veneer that will be added to the tooth. Sometimes the area is numbed before the dentist begins to trim and reshape the enamel. Then the dentist will take an impression (or mold) of the tooth. After the appointment, the impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where the veneer will then be made. Typically it takes between 2 and 4 weeks for the veneers to be produced and returned from the laboratory. Your dentist can apply temporary veneers in the meantime.
Once the veneers have been created and have arrived at your dentist’s office, the next step of the process can take place. Your dentist will place the veneer onto the tooth to review the fit and colour of the veneer and work to achieve the proper fit before permanently applying the veneer. Next, the existing tooth will be cleaned, polished, and then etched in order to receive the veneer. The process of etching the tooth roughens the surface which allows for a strengthened bond. Your dentist will then apply special cement to the veneer and apply it to the tooth. Once the veneer is positioned properly, your dentist will use a special light to activate the chemicals in the cement which results in its hardening quite quickly. The final steps of this process involve the removal of any excess cement, checking the alignment of the bite, and making any necessary adjustments. Your dentist may want to see you for a follow-up visit a couple of weeks after to ensure they are comfortable and properly fitted.
What Are the Benefits and Risks of Veneers?
The advantages of veneers are:
- They provide a natural appearance to the teeth.
- Gum tissue typically tolerates the presence of porcelain very well.
- Porcelain veneers are resistant to staining.
- They can be created in a custom colour, making for a brighter and whiter smile.
- Veneers typically require less reshaping than crowns. And generally tend to look better as well.
Some of the risks associated with veneers are:
- The process is permanent and can never be undone.
- They can be relatively costly in comparison to other restorative procedures
- In most cases, veneers cannot be repaired if they become chipped or cracked.
- Because this process involves the removal of enamel, the tooth may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks.
- Veneers may not match the colour of the other teeth exactly and the colour of the veneer cannot be changed once it’s in place.
If you want to learn more about the benefits and risks of veneers, or what restorative process might be the best option to give you the smile of your dreams, contact our Guelph Dentist’s office today!