Dental veneers are thin, custom made materials designed for the purpose of restoring damaged, stained, crooked, or misshapen teeth.

Composed of resin or porcelain, veneers are placed on the fronts of teeth and transform the appearance of them. Patients with teeth that have been affected by tetracycline, a root-canal, dark fillings, gaps, or injury are all candidates for veneers. Veneers are highly resistant to staining from coffee, tea, and cigarette smoke as well. The life expectancy and stability, as compared to bonding, is significantly greater.

One or more teeth may be treated during a single procedure. Also, due to the nature of treatment, little or no anesthesia is required. Veneers, however, are usually irreversible because a small amount of enamel must be removed from the teeth to accommodate the shell.

Typically, the veneer procedure requires at least three appointments: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation, and bonding.

Diagnosis and treatment planning provides patients with an opportunity to share desired results and or specialized needs. Teeth will be examined in order to determine receptivity of veneers. Also, the dentist will discuss the routine and possible limitations of such a procedure. X-rays may be taken as well.

Lasting anywhere from one to two hours, the the tooth preparation involves a light buffing of the teeth to compensate for the slight thickness and size of veneers. Typically, a half millimeter will be removed from the fronts of teeth, this step may require a local anesthetic. A mold is also taken of the teeth and sent to a laboratory for the creation of the veneers by a dental lab technician. One to two weeks should be expected for the dentist to receive the mold back from the lab. During this period, temporary veneers may be required.

During the “bonding” procedure, veneers are positioned on the teeth using water or glycerine initially. Without permanently attaching the veneers, the dentist is able to determine their fit and shade of color in contrast to natural teeth. Trimming of the veneers and color adjustments will be made until a proper match is produced. Next, the teeth are polished, etched, and cleansed with specific chemicals to ensure that a strong bond is created. After a special cement is placed between the teeth and veneer, a visible laser triggers a catalyst to be released which hardens the cement and forms an attachment. Finally, excess cement will be removed and final adjustments will be made as needed.

Changes in size and shape may occur during the two week period after the procedure. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled. Daily brushing and flossing are crucial during this phase. Although veneers are a close imitation to actual teeth they are not perfect. Therefore, slight variations in color may be noticed in contrast to one’s teeth. However, these same contrasts can also be observed in natural teeth as well. The dentist will check to determine the gum’s response to veneers and placement during the final appointment.

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