Dental veneers correct stained, chipped, or crooked teeth. Veneers are custom-made, wafer-thin shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth. The shells bond to the front of the teeth. Veneers are made from porcelain or from resin composite materials.
Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and mimics the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers are thinner and require less removal of the tooth surface before placement.
Dental veneers require a minimum of three trips to the dentist. The first is for the veneer consultation. The other two trips are to make and apply the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can undergo the veneering process simultaneously.
During the veneer consultation explain to your dentist the result you want to achieve. During the appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for your teeth. Your dentist will also discuss what the procedure will involve and limitations.
To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about ½ millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface. This amount is equal to the thickness of the veneer. Before trimming off the enamel, a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area. Next, an impression will be made by your dentist. The impression is sent out to a dental lab which constructs your veneer. It takes 1-2 weeks to receive the veneers. Temporary veneers can be placed for an additional cost.
Before the veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will place it on your tooth to examine the fit and color. They will trim the veneer to achieve a proper fit. Veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement being used.
Next, to prepare your tooth to receive the veneer, the tooth will be cleaned, polished and etched. This roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process. Cement is applied and the veneer is placed on your tooth.
Once properly positioned on the tooth, a special light beam is applied. The light activates chemicals in the cement causing it to harden quickly.