Porcelain veneers have revolutionized dentistry as we know it today. Advancements in the ceramic materials used to make the veneers and the bonding agents that help hold veneers on the teeth have led to enhanced esthetics as well as more conservative dentistry. Veneers are ultra-thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front of teeth. Because of the minimal amount of tooth preparation that is needed, less anesthesia is often required. Veneers are used to brighten people's smiles, to mask discolored teeth, straighten mis-aligned teeth and to improve someone's smile design. Highly resistant to staining from coffee, tea, and even cigarette smoking, ultra-thin porcelain veneers can achieve a tenacious bond to the tooth, resulting in a natrualness that is unsurpassed by other restorative options.
Because of the conservative preparation needed and the strength of the porcelain bond, veneers have been shown to last for many years if they are done correctly. After veneers are placed, they are maintained much like natural teeth. There is typically an adjustment period of one to two weeks while the patient gets used to the different size and shape of their teeth. After this period, most patients feel like their veneers are natural teeth.
Veneers usually take three to four visits to the dental office. The first step is a consult and treatment planning appointment. At this appointment the patient can explain what they really want to achieve with veneers. We will take our time to make sure that the patient understands what is involved and what difficulties might be encountered during the treatment based on their teeth. Difficult cases might need two appointments for treatment planning so that we can take the proper records needed to ensure we can deliver the result the patient is expecting.
The next appointment is the preparation appointment. Usually a varying amount of anesthetic is used and the teeth are prepared. Impressions are then taken and the patient is given beautiful, natural looking temporary crowns. On most patients, there is an immediate improvement in their smile upon placement of temporaries. Dentistry has come a long way on temporization of crowns and veneers, and patients can feel comfortable that they will be satisfied with the esthetics of their temporaries.
At the final appointment, the patient is anesthetized again and the temporaries are removed. The teeth are then cleaned and the final restorations are bonded into place. We usually like to get the patient back one week later for any adjustments to the bite and final removal of any excess cement material that may have been left along the margins of the crowns. We also like to take post-op pictures of the patient at this time.