Recent years have seen a spate of exciting new dental procedures--so many, in fact, that it has become hard to keep abreast of them all. Dental veneers, despite being widely used, are still shrouded in mystery for many people. If you would like to learn more about dental veneers, read on. This article will provide a step by step overview of the dental veneer process.
As with most dental procedures, the veneer process begins with a consultation during which you and your dentist will discuss whether veneers are the best option to treat your needs. Be aware that veneers are used only for cosmetic purposes and are not meant to solve orthodontic problems such as poor alignment, overbites, and underbites. Veneers are most commonly used to correct problems such as:
- gaps between the teeth
- discolored or stained teeth
- misshapen or crooked teeth
- chipped, broken, or damaged teeth
Veneers are, in essence, a wafer-thin porcelain shell that is glued to the outside of the tooth to be altered. In order to keep the veneer flush with your gum line and your other teeth, a thin layer of enamel, .05 to .08mm in depth, must first be removed from the damaged tooth. Removing this enamel also roughens the front of the tooth, which promotes stronger adhesion of the dental cement used to hold the veneer in place.
After all of the appropriate teeth have been prepared in this way, the dentist must create an exact impression of your teeth. Traditionally this has been done using a physical mold. More recently, however, many dentists have begun using CAD/CAM technology--essentially a fancy camera and a very sophisticated computer program--to achieve the same result more quickly.
Either way, the goal is to use information about the shape of your teeth to custom create the veneers. This is generally done by a dental laboratory, who fabricates the veneers out of porcelain--a process that may take as long as eight weeks. Until that time, your dentist may choose to provide you with a retainer-like set of slip-on veneers. These will help to reduce any sensitivity you may experience to certain temperature and taste sensations.
Fitting and bonding
Once your new veneers have returned from the lab, the final phase will begin. First, your dentist will temporarily attach the veneer, in order to make any last adjustments in color and fit. Next, the veneer will be removed, the tooth cleaned, and a special bonding cement applied. Then your dentist will press the veneer into place.
In order to activate the chemical substances that harden the cement, a specialized light beam must be trained on the veneer. After this, your dentist will clean away any left over cement. Voila, you now have an attractive, long-lasting dental veneer.
For more information, contact Pitts Patrick M or a similar dental professional.