The material, a thin film of porcelain that looks exactly like the surface of a healthy, natural tooth, is a great alternative to potentially costly and painful orthodontic devices.
Porcelain veneers do not stain or discolor over time, they are durable and long-lasting, and they are exceptionally lifelike, blending well with the surrounding teeth to give patients a truly remarkable smile.
Who needs porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers can be used to improve the look of a patient’s teeth, to protect them from damage, or to restore their morphology to allow for proper biting.
Healthy teeth; image source: bidsbypros.com
For cosmetic purposes, porcelain veneers are typically used on discolored, stained, chipped, and broken teeth. They can also be employed to correct gapped, crooked, and misaligned teeth in order to make them appear more aesthetically appealing.
How the patient is prepared for veneer application
Preparation for the application of porcelain veneers can differ from clinic to clinic, but some dental practices make use of advanced computer-imaging techniques that allow clients to see what their smiles will look like even before the veneers are permanently applied.
Once the best smile is chosen, the clinic’s laboratory can then proceed to creating a diagnostic wax mockup, which the patient will be able to see and hold.
The cosmetic dentist can also create a “trial smile” so that the patient can have a better sense of how the smile makeover will look like. Meant to serve as an exact replication of the look of the permanent veneers, the trial smile is done by applying tooth-colored cosmetic bonding material over a patient’s teeth. The dentist expertly sculpts the bonding material over the teeth, making it appear like the veneers that will be used later on. This trial smile is very durable, allowing patients to use their teeth normally until the actual veneers are permanently fitted.
The trial smile is actually a great way to prepare you for the application of the porcelain veneers. After all, you might need some time to adjust to the size, shape, and feel of the dental devices. Furthermore, the trial smile also offers an opportunity for the dentist to check whether there is a need to make modifications before the veneers are permanently applied using dental cement.
Permanently applying the porcelain veneers
Fitting the porcelain veneers onto the teeth is a pretty straightforward procedure. Local anesthesia can be used by the dentist to prevent any discomfort, but it should generally be pain-free.
To prepare the teeth, a thin layer of their enamel will be removed to make room for the veneers. Next, the surface of the teeth will also be roughened to improve the adhesion of the veneers.
The cosmetic dentist may allow the patient to see the placement of the veneers first before they are permanently fitted. Initially, they can be applied using a firm gel so that the patient and then dentist can both check how the veneers look and make adjustments if necessary. If both parties are happy with the results, the porcelain veneers can be cemented into place.
The whole procedure can be completed in just two visits to the dentist. The actual application of the veneers can take anywhere between two to three hours, and this is usually depending on how many pieces are being applied. Although the procedure is not painful, it could take a few days before you are able to adjust with the sensation of having the veneers on your teeth.
The cost for this treatment can vary from dentist to dentist, so you really need to thoroughly discuss your financing and treatment options with your dentist. In any case, the renewed sense of self-confidence you’ll gain from having a new smile will most likely be worth the cost.