The most essential function of dental veneers is to improve aesthetics in cases when the patient’s teeth are worn down, chipped or have an irregular shape. Dental veneers are thin, tooth-coloured “shields” placed on the front part of teeth, thus, changing the colour, shape and size of the teeth that they cover. Apart from their aesthetic function, dental veneers also act as a protective shield for your natural teeth.
Dental veneers are an excellent method to correct the discoloration of teeth that otherwise cannot be whitened. Veneers are either made from resin composite materials or porcelain. Veneers made from porcelain are called porcelain veneers. The advantage of porcelain veneers is that they have a better resistance to stain than resin veneers, and the light reflective properties of porcelain veneers are very similar to that of natural teeth.
On the other hand, resin veneers are thinner, which means that less tooth surface has to be removed in order to place the resin veneer. The best veneer material depends on your particular case and a dentist can determine which of these two materials would be more suitable for you.
What problems can dental veneers fix?
As mentioned before, dental veneers can fix tooth discoloration problems caused by medications, excessive fluoride, root canal treatments, etc. Teeth bleaching or whitening cannot solve some of these problems, thus, dental veneers are a good alternative.
Sometime teeth can have irregular shapes, can be uneven or have gaps between them, issues that can be masked by veneers.
What are the steps of the dental veneer procedure?
The procedure for getting dental veneers implies up to three visits to the dentist’s office. The first step is one in which the patient is required to take an active role in explaining to the dentist the issues they are trying to get fixed and the result they are trying to obtain. The dentist will then examine the patient’s teeth and will create a treatment plan.
The second step is the preparation of the tooth for a dental veneer. Around half a millimetre of enamel is removed from the tooth’s surface and a veneer of almost the same size will be added onto the surface of the teeth. For this step, a local anaesthesia may be used to avoid any pain. The dentist will take impressions of the patient’s teeth and the model is used to prepare the veneers. Once the veneers are ready, the doctor can start placing these onto the patient’s teeth.
The last step is the actual bonding or cementing of the veneers to the teeth. The doctor will first place the veneers to see if they fit and to examine their colour. If everything is in order, the veneers are cemented to the teeth and a special light is used to harden the bond. Any excess cement is removed and a biting test is done to see if any adjustments are necessary.
What should patients do in terms of maintenance?
Dental veneers don’t require any special aftercare, however, your dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit to examine how your gums are reacting to the veneers or if you need any adjustments. Although porcelain veneers are stain-resistant, it is important to continue to maintain good overall oral hygiene, to brush and floss daily.