Veneers are ultra-thin shells/coverings (made from either porcelain or composite resin materials) that are bonded over the front enamel of the teeth in order to give the appearance of natural teeth. They’re frequently used for repairing chipped/broken teeth, crooked teeth, worn down enamel, teeth that are misaligned or irregularly shaped, uneven spaces or gaps, and permanent staining or discoloration. Veneers help improve your teeth’s overall appearance by changing the color, size, shape, and/or length, and ultimately make for a brighter smile.
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The Veneering Process
Getting a veneer usually requires scheduling about three separate dental appointments for the entire procedure: one for diagnosis and treatment planning, and two for preparation and bonding. Diagnosis and treatment planning involves discussing treatment with the dentist while they examine the teeth and gums to make sure they’re healthy (as well as potentially take X-rays and make impressions). This is the time when they will see whether the procedure is appropriate for you and your teeth; the process is irreversible and damages are irreparable, and veneers may not be the best choice for those who frequently clench or grind their teeth.
During preparation, the dentist numbs the required area using anesthetic, makes the model (impression) and sends it out to the laboratory. This step takes about two to four weeks in its entirety, so in the meantime they may place temporary veneers to protect the treated area. With bonding – the final step – the dentist places the finished veneer on the tooth (teeth), trimming and adjusting the fit and color if needed; then the tooth is cleaned and polished, a special cement is applied to the veneer and then the veneer is placed on the tooth until it is properly positioned. Finally, the dentist shines a special light beam on the veneer until it hardens, removes any excess cement, and make any last-minute adjustments. Unlike a crown or cap, the process is limited to removing about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth’s surface and a small amount of the structure in order to avoid making it appear too bulky.
It will take about a week or two after the procedure for the veneers to fully adjust, and then they will typically last between seven and fifteen years before needing to be replaced. In the meantime, continue practicing daily dental care (including brushing, flossing, and rinsing) in order to prevent cavities.
Since veneers can easily chip or break under excess pressure, avoid nail-biting and/or chewing on hard objects such as pencils or ice. In order to reduce risk for staining, limit intake of stain-causing foods and beverages (such as coffee, tea, or red wine).
If you’re ready to repair your teeth and give yourself a brighter, happier smile, schedule an appointment with Cirocco Dental Center by filling out the form below. We’re ready to help give you the best smile possible!
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