According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a veneer is a “thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.” Veneers are custom-designed to the contour of the front of one’s teeth to quickly and safely improve the aesthetics of a tooth or teeth along with protecting the tooth’s surface from damage. If teeth are stained, misaligned, chipped, unevenly spaced, disproportionate in size, or structurally damaged, porcelain veneers are an ideal answer for a better looking smile. Most often, porcelain veneers are applied to both the top and bottom teeth.
Less intrusive than crowns or braces, porcelain veneers are made to last 10-20 years. Although there are several types of veneers (conventional porcelain, Lumineers, and composite resin to list a few), porcelain veneers have been shown to be preferable, especially for correcting issues of shape and color.
Placing veneers typically takes one to two appointments. If the veneer is prefabricated it usually takes less time than if a laboratory is creating the veneer. Generally, local anesthesia is not required when placing veneers. However, depending on the patient’s sensitivity, it can be used if needed. When creating veneers, the dentist will first, clean the tooth and determine the correct shade for the veneer. Next, the dentist will remove a very small amount of the enamel of the tooth to provide room to place the veneer on the tooth. From there, an impression of the tooth will be made for the lab (if needed) and a temporary veneer will be placed over the tooth/teeth until the permanent one(s) is/are ready. When the permanent veneer(s) is/are ready, the dentist will remove the temporary veneer(s) and clean the tooth/teeth and etch it/them. Next, adhesive is applied to the tooth and the veneer is attached. After cleaning and polishing, the patient is ready to go.
In caring for veneers, it’s simply like caring for one’s regular teeth. The AACD suggests the same flossing and brushing procedures one would normally do and limiting coffee and other stain-inducing foods.