Dental veneers are custom made shells of tooth colored porcelain designed to cover the front surface of the teeth to improve a person’s appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth in order to change the color, shape, size, or length. Veneers can also be used to eliminate gaps between teeth in order to give a more balanced and complete smile. These days a beautiful smile is a desire of almost everyone – women and men alike. Not everyone can afford the expense of braces and cosmetic surgery, and dental veneers are often a less expensive, quicker option.
People are able to have only one tooth covered by a veneer, or they are able to have many teeth undergo the veneering process. Getting dental veneers is typically a three step process. At the first visit the dentist will consult with the patient to find out exactly what s/he is hoping to achieve from the process. The patient’s teeth will be examined to ensure that veneers are an appropriate option, and X-rays and impressions of the mouth will be made.
At the second appointment, the tooth (or teeth) will be prepared for a veneer. About 1/2 millimeter of enamel will be removed from the surface of the tooth. A local anesthetic may or may not be used depending on the preference of the patient. Next, the dentist will make another impression of the teeth. This model will be sent to a dental laboratory where the veneer(s) will be made. It takes 1-2 weeks for the veneer(s) to be made and sent to the dentist’s office. For those who are self-conscious about their teeth being prepared, they can have a temporary veneer placed on their teeth for an additional cost.
The last step of the dental veneer process is bonding. The dentist will temporarily place the veneer on the patient’s tooth to examine its fit and color. Once the fit and color are determined, the teeth will be cleaned, polished, and etched to roughen the tooth and allow for a strong bond between it and the new veneer. A special cement will be applied to the veneer, the veneer will be placed on the tooth, and a special light will be placed on the tooth to ensure that the cement hardens quickly. Lastly, the dentist will remove any excess cement and will make any necessary adjustments to the veneer.
If you are interested in having dental veneers, talk to your dentist about this procedure. Your smile can be enhanced in a couple of weeks – much quicker than years of wearing braces, and much less expensive than undergoing cosmetic surgery.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Joyce Ma, Prime Dental Care
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