Interested in transforming your smile with beautiful porcelain veneers? Veneers offer a convenient approach to enhance the appearance of your smile. By adhering thin shells over the front surface of teeth, issues like gaps, discoloration, chipping, and irregular size or shape get concealed for a fabulous smile makeover within just two to three dental visits.
Compared to lengthier conventional orthodontics or tooth reshaping methods, veneers provide fast results for:
- Minorly crooked or overlapped teeth
- Closing undue spaces between teeth
- Permanently discolored or stained teeth
- Small or asymmetrical teeth that look odd
For more severely crooked positioning needing realignment, braces or clear aligners provide an alternative gradual straightening approach over months of treatment. Where decay or trauma affects inner tooth layers requiring deep restorations, your dentist might recommend porcelain or composite crowns rather than ultra-thin surface veneers.
Moreover, your dentist has to consider factors like underlying oral health, enamel thickness, bite alignment, and your desired results before recommending dental veneers for your case. Depending on the result, you may need to start by addressing any limitations through preliminary orthodontics, gum sculpting or crowns instead of veneers.
Steps to Getting Veneers
Step 1: Initial Consultation
The journey begins by meeting with your cosmetic dentist for an examination and assessment on whether you’re an appropriate candidate for porcelain veneers. They’ll:
- Check for tooth decay or gum disease needing treatment first before veneer placement
- Examine existing teeth size, shape, and color
- Take x-rays, impressions and photos of your teeth
- Discuss improvements you want to achieve from veneers
- Use digital preview imaging to show you potential outcomes
Are veneers right for me?
Ideal candidates for veneers should have healthy undamaged inner tooth structures with enough enamel thickness for minimal reshaping. Veneers require a minimal removal of enamel to ensure a proper fit, but this step is crucial for the success of the veneer application.
Adhering veneers requires conservation of some surface enamel, so those with very thin enamel or excessive decay predisposing inner pulp exposure may not make suitable candidates without other restorative work first.
Additionally, heavy teeth grinding or oral habits place destructive forces on bonded veneers at risk for premature dislodgement or fracture. Those showing any bruxism signs need stabilization prior to veneer options.
The dentist evaluates your bite alignment to ensure that veneers will not negatively impact your natural bite. This step is essential for both functionality and comfort. If there are alignment issues, your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatments before veneers to ensure a stable and lasting result.
Understanding your expectations is key. The dentist will discuss your aesthetic goals, whether it’s achieving a brighter smile, closing gaps, or correcting misaligned teeth.
Depending on your case, the dentist might recommend:
- Gum Sculpting: In some cases, the appearance of your smile may benefit from reshaping the gum line. This can be done for aesthetic reasons or to create a more symmetrical smile.
- Crowns: Instead of veneers, crowns might be suggested as an alternative treatment if there’s a need for more extensive coverage or if the tooth requires additional support.
Step 2: Preparing for Veneer Placement
If you get the green light for veneers, the next visit involves:
Oral tissues and teeth are deep cleaned before taking final impressions for veneers. Any small cavities or uneven textures get smoothed.
These veneers have a thickness of between 0.3 and 0.7mm, so you will require some alteration of the natural tooth first to make space for the added veneer width. This will ensure that the veneer can go on smoothly, is stable enough to last a long time without damage or detachment issues, and that the final result does not make the tooth appear oversized. The dentist avoids shaving off more enamel than necessary to prevent exposure of the sensitive dentin underneath.
After tooth preparation, impressions are taken and used to fabricate your custom veneer shells in a dental lab. You will need to use temporary veneers in the meantime, until the permanent veneers are ready to be bonded about 2-3 weeks later.
Custom acrylic temporaries made in-office get bonded on to protect sensitive underlying tooth surfaces during the 2-3 weeks your permanent veneers get made.
Step 3: The Laboratory Fabrication Process
A specialized ceramist technician will meticulously fabricate your veneer restorations from the impressions, using the desired shade and shape specifications from you and your dentist. Porcelain particles get built up layer-by-layer, modeled to remarkably thin yet strong dimensions before undergoing high heat firing to set the glaze.
Step 4: The Placement Process
At delivery after 2-3 weeks, your dentist removes temporaries and ensures the permanent veneers permit ideal clearance in bite and fit. You’ll “test drive” their shape, shade, and feel to ensure aesthetics and comfort meet expectations before permanency.
- Numbing gel gets applied, then etching solution to roughen the tooth surface for adhesive grip.
- After rinsing, the tooth stays moist before the dentist applies bonding agent to the prepared teeth.
- The prepared tooth and veneer shell are thoroughly cleaned and etched to roughen the surface. This allows the bonding cement to adhere properly.
- Cement gets tapped onto the interior of veneers which then get placed onto your teeth. Using high intensity curing lights, the veneer is precisely bonded onto the front of the prepared tooth. The cement seals and permanently attaches the veneer to natural tooth. Any small gaps at the edges are closed off to ensure no dental decay can occur under the veneer later.
- You’ll bite down to set before the dentist inspects margins and bond integrity, then further light cures to finalize adherence.
- Any adjustments get made until seating and occlusion are ideal.
Step 5: Follow-up and Maintenance
Post-placement, your dentist will provide care instructions and schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the success of the veneers. Regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene practices are essential for maintaining the longevity and appearance of your veneers.
Step 6: Caring for Your Veneers
Preserve your investment through scrupulous care:
- Floss and brush gently along veneer edges
- See your hygienist regularly for cleanings
- Use non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid chewing ice or other hard objects
- Prevent trauma from sports by wearing a mouthguard
With diligence, artistic veneers change smiles beautifully while guarding teeth. Follow all dental team instructions for sustaining flawless form and function.
A Sparkling Smile Awaits!
Veneers remain one of the most versatile and minimally invasive options for upgrading smile aesthetics and dental wellbeing. By understanding the meticulous step-by-step process, you can expect a predictable enhancement experience. Team with an esthetic dentist talented in smile design artistry so you can unveil a radiant new smile with long-lasting confidence.
Talk to your cosmetic dentist during your initial consultation to determine if veneers are appropriate, or alternative treatments better address your smile goals. With proper case selection and care, veneers reward suitable candidates with a naturally appealing smile for the long term.