Your smile is one of the most recognizable facial features, so it’s no wonder people spend so much time and money ensuring that it’s as attractive as possible. If you’re like thousands of people across the world, you likely worry about how well your teeth look when you smile. One way dentists can change or repair someone’s smile is by using a dental veneer procedure.
What are veneers?
Veneers are a thin layer of material permanently bonded to the front of your existing tooth. These “shells” are used to cover a number of issues including chips, discoloration, worn enamel, and misalignments. Veneers are usually used to correct significant issues that don’t meet the criteria for crowns or a full replacement.
Veneers are made of composite material or porcelain. Composite material is the material used to fill cavities. It’s strong and easy to work with. Porcelain is more commonly used because it provides a more realistic-looking final product.
Dental veneer services are typically performed by cosmetic dentists although an increasing number of general and family dentists are deciding to undergo training for the procedure.
What happens during the procedure?
Getting veneers requires two or more extensive office visits and can take up to eight weeks to complete. Each visit will entail several hours of examination and work.
Your first appointment will be a consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for veneers. Because the veneer process is irreversible, your dentist will want to make sure it’s the best, longest lasting procedure to correct your dental problems. Your doctor will likely take photographs and X-rays of your teeth and mouth. Some offices can render prospective after photos to give you an idea of what to expect.
During your next appointment, your teeth will be prepared for the veneer. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your teeth and gums then use handheld tools to remove the outer layer of enamel and reshape the teeth that will eventually get veneers.
You’ll also decide what color your new teeth will be. There are many shades of white to choose from and don’t worry, nobody’s teeth are perfectly bright white.
When completed, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth, so a mold can be made. This impression is sent out of the office and used to create veneers that perfectly fit your smile.
In the meantime, you’ll be sent home until your veneers are fabricated. Preparing the teeth can make them very sensitive, so they’ll be fitted with a temporary covering. You’ll be able to eat, drink, and speak normally though this temporary covering may not feel as natural and comfortable as the permanent ones will.
During your next visit, the temporary covering will be removed, and the dentist will bond each veneer to the correct tooth. This can take several hours depending on how many teeth are being done. Each veneer may need to be slightly altered to fit into your unique mouth structure.