One of the most remarkable changes any dentist can make in a patient’s smile is with dental veneers. If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite celebrity achieves a picture-perfect smile, chances are it is due to this amazing dental technology. It’s all accomplished when an extremely thin layer of dental porcelain is applied over the surface of the patient’s teeth. This strong and durable material not only produces beautiful results – it also protects the patient’s teeth for years to come. If you’re a dental patient in or around the Cedar Park, Texas area and are considering dental veneers, we’ve compiled the following information to explain the steps in the veneers process.
- Removing enamel from the tooth surface: This first step in the process (also referred to as “trimming the tooth”) involves the dentist removing a very thin layer of enamel from the patient’s natural teeth. The amount of enamel removed is very close to the same as the porcelain veneer that will cover the tooth. This means that the overall thickness of the tooth will remain the same after the veneer is applied as it was before the process.
- Determining the shade of the veneer: If you’re not having all of your teeth covered with veneers, you’ll want the porcelain to very closely match the shade of your natural teeth. The shade of the veneer may also be adjusted once it’s placed on the tooth. Shade is extremely important in order for the veneer to look natural.
- Making an impression: The next step in the process involves making an impression of the patient’s natural teeth, along with the surrounding teeth and gum tissue. The dental lab will use this impression to create custom porcelain veneers for the patient. Depending on the preference of the dentist and the technology being used, the impression may be either a digital image of the teeth, or a physical impression made from having the patient bite down on a tray filled with dental “putty.” If the veneers will be made by an outside laboratory, a traditional physical impression will be used. But dentists who have their own milling equipment onsite may be able to use a digital impression to create the veneers on the spot. If that’s the case, the patient is able to be fitted with veneers in a single trip to the dental office. If not, the physical impression is sent off to the lab, where it usually takes between 10 and 14 days for the veneers to be created and sent back to the dentist.
- Applying a temporary veneer: If the patient’s veneers are fabricated by an outside dental lab, the dentist will usually apply a temporary veneer in the meantime. Although not absolutely necessary, a temporary veneer will help to protect against any increased sensitivity that the patient may feel as a result of having part of the dental enamel removed. A “trimmed tooth” may also feel a bit rough to the patient, which is another reason why the dentist may choose to place a temporary veneer on the tooth until the permanent veneer is ready to be fitted. These temporary veneers are removed immediately before applying the patient’s permanent veneers.
- Fitting the permanent veneer: The patient will return to the dentist’s office when the permanent veneers are ready. The first part of being fitted with the veneer is when the dentist checks the fit. This usually involves placing the veneer, removing it and trimming it, then placing it again. The dentist continues with this process until the veneer is perfectly fitted. The shade of the veneer will also be evaluated and fine-tuned to make sure it’s a perfect match.
- Cementing the veneer: The final step in the process is to cement the veneer onto the tooth. This involves the dentist choosing the right shade of cement – one that very closely matches the veneer and the surrounding natural teeth. The veneer is then bonded into place on the tooth using a curing light to help set the cement. Afterward, the dentist will remove any excess cement and check the patient’s bite to make sure that the veneer hasn’t altered it in any way. Most dentists want the patient to return for a follow-up visit after a week or so to make sure all is well with the new veneer and the surrounding gum tissue.
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
Veneers not only immediately create a more beautiful smile for the patient, they are also an excellent way to repair minor tooth damage, such as chips, cracks, or uneven teeth. Veneers are also a great choice for patients whose teeth can’t be whitened due to loss of enamel. When the enamel layer of a tooth is compromised, the tooth yellows and regular whitening products can’t alter the shade of the tooth. Veneers can be applied to teeth to whiten and brighten the patient’s smile, as well as protect the teeth for years to come. In fact, most porcelain veneers last between 8 and 15 years, but if they’re properly maintained, they may last for up to 20 years!
It’s important to remember that veneers may not be the right choice for everyone. If you have other oral health issues – such as cavities or gum disease, for example – your dentist will need to resolve those issues before applying veneers. And because veneers are typically considered to be cosmetic dentistry, many insurance policies won’t cover the cost of veneers. Still, many patients find the end result well worth the investment! A more beautiful smile can not only improve your physical appearance, it can also increase your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem. So whether you want to change the appearance of a single tooth, or get a brand new smile with veneers on several teeth, it’s worth the time to find out more about this amazing dental technology.
For more information about the steps in the veneers process, contact your Cedar Park, Texas dentist today and schedule a consultation appointment.