What are Veneers? – Read More About It

Veneers are thin porcelain shields used to protect the front surface of the teeth. They are permanent and enhance the look of stained, chipped, broken, or unsightly teeth. Two appointments are necessary to complete the procedure.

An impression of the teeth is taken before the placement of the veneers. The impression is used to make a cast (replica) of your teeth. The cast is sent to the dental laboratory so the lab technician can make the veneers. Sometimes, the lab technician will create a wax-up, which is a replica of what the final veneers will look like. The wax-up may be worn as a temporary set of veneers while the permanent veneers are being created.

Your dentist can assist you with choosing a shade of veneers for your teeth. The dentist can customize your veneers to your skin tone and desire for whiter teeth. They will try to match the shade of the veneers to the surrounding teeth to make sure the natural look of the veneer is consistent with the overall appearance of the other teeth.

To place the veneers, you may require an anesthetic. Sometimes, teeth that have already undergone extensive procedures such as root canals are not as sensitive and therefore, you won’t require anesthesia. The dentist will use a piece of handheld equipment to contour the front surface of your teeth, removing some of the enamel. The dentist will then place impression that was made prior to the procedure. The impression material is a thick paste used to seal the veneers to the teeth. The material will need to set from 3-5 minutes. Another impression is taken to see how your teeth bite together. The impression material is then applied to the biting surface of the top and bottom teeth. You will have to bite down 1-2 minutes until the material is set. After all the impressions have been made, the dentist will send them to the dental laboratory.

The dentist will construct a set of temporary veneers made from an acrylic material that is cemented to your teeth with temporary cement. The temporary veneers may not be as white as the final set of veneers. They may also feel rough. You will need to avoid biting/chewing hard food, gum, and sticky candy. You will also need to avoid food or drinks that contain pigments that will stain the acrylic. Biting your nails or using your teeth to open or tear non-food items should also be avoided.

After 7-10 business days, the veneers will be returned to your dentist. The dentist will place the veneers into your mouth without any cement so that he can inspect them for flaws. You will be given the opportunity to check them out, also. The dentist will permanently cement the veneers to the surface of the teeth with a dental resin.

During your second appointment, your teeth will be cleaned and a solution called acid etch, which will microscopically roughen the surface of your teeth, so that the cement will adhere to your teeth. The cement is applied to the back of the veneers and then placed onto your teeth. A curing light will be used to harden the cement, and any excess cement is removed from the teeth. The dentist will check your bite to make sure you are biting correctly onto the veneers. If the bit is incorrect, small reductions of the opposing teeth may have to be done.

Try not to bite down onto hard food with your front teeth or use your teeth to open non-food items because this may cause the veneers to chip or break. You may have foods and beverages such as red wine, tomato sauce, grape juice, tea, and coffee occasionally, but the porcelain material of your veneers may retain leftover stain from deeper pigmented foods and beverages. Unlike your natural teeth, veneers cannot be whitened with teeth whitening solutions.

The dentist may recommend a night guard or splint for use during the night to protect your lower teeth from the effects of the porcelain grinding against the enamel. Even a slight grinding of your teeth at night can damage the natural enamel of the teeth that don’t have veneers. Veneers are designed to last 10-15 years. Regular cleanings and dental checkups are recommended to make sure both your veneers and natural teeth are in good shape.

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