Considering Veneer Dentistry
As An Option?

Veneer dentistry: caliper holding a dental veneerVeneer held by calipers

Veneer dentistry is one of the many different ways to improve a smile. While teeth whitening may help improve the teeth and crowns may cap teeth, veneers provide a long-lasting permanence to a smile.

What is a veneer? In general a veneer is a thin wafer of ceramic or composite material used to cover the anterior (front, visible) teeth.

Veneers can be used to correct minor problems like chipped teeth, gaps, and discoloration. A common term for the procedure is “restorative intervention.”

Moreover, teeth veneers may also result in less removal of the outlying structure of a tooth than other dental procedures.

However, depending on circumstances, a veneer can be crafted as a crown to replace or cap a portion of a diseased tooth. Doing so may combine the strength of metal with the esthetic appeal of a lifelike tooth-colored ceramic material.

While choosing dental veneers is often a cosmetic option, it can go a long way towards keeping your entire mouth healthy when they help protect the integrity of nearby teeth.

The Basic Procedure for Veneer Dentistry

Selecting to undergo a dental veneer procedure often requires more than a single visit.

In general, an individual will have to see the specific dentist for two to three visits before the process is completed. Inserting tooth veneers requires:

  • Diagnosis of the situation
  • Planning the treatment
  • Correcting poor oral health issues, first
  • Preparing the tooth or teeth for the veneers
  • Bonding (gluing) the veneers onto the tooth or teeth

Specifics Of The Procedure

In order for the veneers to be attached properly to the teeth, the dentist prepares the tooth's surface.

The dentist will lightly buff (grind) the tooth's surface. This creates space for the veneer over the tooth.

As a result, the veneer sits on the tooth without making the tooth appear larger or thicker than that of the original tooth.

Depending on the situation and the depth needed to be buffed or ground away, local anesthetic may or may not be needed.

Following this, the dentist etches the surface with a weak acidic solution, which helps the adhesive and veneer to better bond to the  tooth.

How long does it take to get new veneers? Typically your dentist will use an expert dental lab to fabricate the veneer. In this case, the total procedure would consist of at least two visits and about one or two weeks inbetween.

If you have oral health problems, the dentist needs to care for this first and the whole procedure would take longer.

A few dentists are set up for one-day, in-office veneers. But I would be cautious.

Your dentist will need to be an expert dentist, dental specialist, dental technician, and artistic ceramist to give you the best results.

This process can be convenient for back teeth, or in-lays/on-lays, but veneers cover your front teeth, which are very visible.

You'll have a better experience letting experts work in their area of expertise, rather than working with a jack-of-all-trades.

Materials For Veneers

A veneer can be crafted with either a composite (acrylic-like) or porcelain (ceramic) material. In the examples above, I described the typical procedures for porcelain veneers. Composite veneers are generally crafted by the dentist. Each method has advantages and disadvantages:

  • Composite Veneers: A dentist may place the composite (acrylic resin) directly onto the tooth and shape as needed. The major advantage is its reversibility because the material is softer than ceramic. It is easy to remove and replace. Another advantage is cost. It is a cheaper material than cermic porcelain and easy to work with in the dental office.

    Disadvantages: They are not natural looking. Composite is opaque and doesn't have the same play with light and color as porcelain. Ceramics, in the hands of a dental artist, can be crafted to mimic living enamel.

    Moreover, composite veneers, since they're softer and porous can easily stain over time and have a shorter life before needing to be replaced.

  • Porcelain Veneers: These are the major choice for most individuals. While more expensive than composites, they are also very natural looking and more durable. A veneer made from a lithium disilicate ceramic can last up to 25 years with proper care.

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