Dental veneers are ultra-thin, specially tailored “shells” made from material chosen for its close approximation to the color, as well as durability, of a natural tooth. People that may benefit from veneers include those who have discolored, chipped or worn, uneven, or misaligned teeth. Dentists can even have veneers designed to fill gaps between teeth.
There are two main types of material used to make the shells: porcelain and resin. Porcelain is said to have a more natural appearance than resin, better mimicking the reflective qualities of a natural tooth surface, as well as holding up better against stains. In order to fit the coverings precisely, small amounts of natural tooth may need to be removed: resin veneers are reported to allow dentists to remove less of a patient’s enamel. Those with questions about porcelain veneers in Austin, TX; Buffalo, NY; or Oklahoma City, OK; should consult with a dentist who may recommend them, or resin veneers, depending on what is best for your situation.
Usually three dentist trips for fitting and application
Having dental veneers applied takes three trips to a dentist. The first visit is a consultation, where the dentist can evaluate your specific circumstances and recommend the best course of action. The shells will then be specifically made to fit your teeth and bonded to them at the second and third appointments.
X-rays and impressions may be taken when deciding whether porcelain or resin is the best choice, as well as when designing the veneer. Once a material has been chosen, the dentist will remove a tiny layer of the tooth’s enamel, precisely the same thickness as the shell that will replace it: veneers sitting too high above a tooth’s natural surface level would cause problems. For teeth that are particularly disagreeable, temporary veneers may be offered by your dentist.
Dental laboratories produce materials for dentists
It is only after the thin layer of enamel has been removed that the dentist will make an impression, to ensure a perfect fit. Most dentists don’t have the ability to produce the porcelain or resin in house, so they work together with laboratories that do, often with a turnaround of 1-2 weeks.
Even with custom-fitted shells, dentists will need to make small adjustments to them, trimming away excess material. Before the veneers are finally permanently bonded to the tooth, the surface needs to be prepared, with etching, polishing, and cleaning to make sure the surface is rough, giving the cement the greatest surface area to attach too, increasing the strength of the bond. Ultraviolent light is used to activate the cement. The dentist will then work quickly to clean away any places where cement has come out of place and make sure the patient’s bite and jaw movement are unaffected and the fit is perfect.
Patients return to their dentist’s office after a period of time, so the they can check to see how the veneers have affected the gums and cheeks, and other potential issues.