Dental veneers or porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates:
These are very thin shells of tooth-colored materials utilized in dentistry to cover the front surface of teeth to improve the cosmetic appearance. These shells can be different in color, shape, size, or length of teeth. They can be made from either porcelain material or resin composite material. Porcelain veneers resist discoloration and stains in a better way than resin veneers. Also, the light reflecting properties of natural healthy teeth is better simulated by porcelain. However, resin veneers are thin and removal of less of the tooth surface is required before their placement.
Veneers are used in case of:
- Discolored teeth due to root canal treatment, usage of drugs like tetracycline or phenytoin, excessive fluoride or the presence of large resin fillings.
- Teeth which are worn down, chipped or broken.
- Irregular, crooked or uneven teeth.
- Irregular gaps between the teeth.
There are three steps involved in getting a dental veneer done. This means at least three visits to the dentist are required. These steps are described below-
- Consultation: In this visit, the dentist examines the teeth and decides whether this treatment is appropriate for the patient. He also explains the procedure and its pros and cons to the patient. It must be made sure that the dentist knows what should be achieved at the end of the procedure. A baseline X-ray can be taken of mouth and teeth.
- Preparation: A local anesthetic is injected to numb the required area depending on the decision of the dentist. About half a millimeter of enamel is trimmed from the tooth surface, which equals to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the surface. Then, the dentist makes an impression of the tooth. The veneer is then constructed in a dental laboratory from this impression. This usually takes 1-2 weeks. Temporary dental veneers can be placed if the teeth are very unsightly.
- Bonding: Firstly, the veneer is temporarily placed it on the tooth to examine proper fit and color. Then, it is repeatedly removed and trimmed till getting a perfect fit. The veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement used. Next, the tooth is cleaned and polished. This process roughens the tooth and helps in strong bonding process. Then the veneer is fixed on the tooth with the help of special cement. After this, a special light beam is applied to the veneer which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden swiftly. Then the excess cement is removed and final adjustments are done in the veneer. A follow-up visit in a couple of weeks is required to check the status of the gums and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.
Advantages of Dental Veneers:
Veneers offer the following advantages:
- Veneers give natural appearance to teeth.
- Veneers made of porcelain are stain resistant.
- The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected depending upon shade of the teeth.
- It’s a conservative approach to change color and shape of the tooth.
Disadvantages of dental veneers:
- The process is irreversible and also irreparable if they chip or crack.
- The tooth can become more sensitive to hot and cold foods as the enamel is removed.
- The color of veneer cannot be changed once applied.
- Teeth can still decay even with veneers, so sometimes crowning has to be done.
- They are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth i.e. tooth with decay or active gum disease or fracture. Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are not suited for porcelain veneers, as these activities crack or chip the veneers.
Veneers generally last for about 5 to 10 years. After this time, the veneers should be replaced. No special care is needed for veneers other than good oral and dental hygiene and avoiding bad habits like biting nails; chewing pencils, ice, or other hard objects. Excessive pressure on the teeth should be avoided.
- Link of interest: Twitter Veneers – Dental Treatment.
This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.