A porcelain veneer is a thin shell that is custom-made to fit on the front surface of your tooth.
Benefits of porcelain veneers:
• they are strong and long-lasting
• they have a natural-looking surface
• less tooth enamel needs to be removed than with a crown or cap
• they don't stain easily
Steps to placing a porcelain veneer:
1. To prepare the tooth, your dentist usually removes a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of your tooth. This makes room for the veneers so that your teeth look natural.
2. Your dentist makes an impression, or a mold, of the prepared tooth. They also work with you to decide on the veneer shade that will look best for your smile.
3. The impression is sent to a dental lab that custom-makes the porcelain veneer to fit your tooth. This may take several days. Your dentist may give you a temporary veneer to wear until your porcelain veneer is ready.
4. At the next visit, your dentist places the veneer on your tooth to check its fit and shape. After any adjustments, your teeth are cleaned and the veneer is bonded to the tooth.
5. Your dentist may need to make minor adjustments to your bite at a later appointment.
Composite resin veneers
A composite resin veneer is made from a tooth-colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth.
Benefits of composite resin veneers:
• usually, less tooth enamel needs to be removed than for a crown or a porcelain veneer
• may mean fewer visits to the dentist; sometimes a composite resin veneer can take just one visit
• cost less than porcelain veneers
• are easy to fix if they get damaged; although composite veneers are generally not as stain-resistant or wear-resistant as porcelain veneers, they can be repaired easily and quickly
Steps to place composite resin veneers:
1. After your tooth is prepared or reshaped, your dentist carefully bonds and sculpts the composite material. They will work with you to decide on the veneer shade that will look best for your smile.
2. A special light is used to harden the composite and bond it to your tooth.
3. The veneer is smoothed and polished to look like your natural tooth.
What you should know before you get a veneer
• Your teeth and gums must be healthy. Your dentist can treat any disease or decay before your veneer is placed.
• Veneers are not always a good choice if you clench or grind your teeth, because the thin veneers may chip or break.
• The process cannot be undone because your dentist removes tooth enamel in order to place the veneer. They will work to remove as little enamel as possible.
• A veneer may chip, crack, wear down, or come loose over time. It may need to be re-bonded, repaired or replaced.
• As with all your dental care, discuss all your expectations and treatment options with your dentist. Regular dental visits are important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
After you get veneers
• Veneers can chip or break under pressure. Avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard objects, such as pencils or ice.
• It may take you a few days to get used to the feel of your veneer. Tell your dentist if your bite does not feel right after the veneer has been placed. They will correct it before you leave the office.
• Keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day. You can still get decay and cavities under or around a veneer.
• Use oral health care products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance so that you can be sure they are both safe and effective in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.
Before-and-after photos courtesy of John R. Nosti, DMD, FAGD, FACE, FICOI, SmileDesignNYC.com. Reprinted with permission from Dentaltown Magazine.
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