Porcelain veneers, also known as dental veneers, are thin shells that are applied by bonding to the front surface of your teeth, in order to change the color, shape or size of your teeth. Veneers improve the appearance of your smile.

Unlike veneers made from resin, porcelain veneers have the advantage of mimicking the appearance of natural teeth and are also more stain resistant. Once applied, porcelain veneers last between 5 and 10 years plus years if maintained.

Dental problems that can be fixed using porcelain veneers.

Veneers are commonly used to fix the following dental problems:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Worn out teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Misaligned or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Closing large gaps in between teeth

The procedure involved in getting veneers

There are three stages involved in getting veneers.

Stage 1: Consultation

During your consultation, you should let your dentist know the results you are looking for. He will then take x-rays and assess whether you are a suitable candidate for veneers.

Stage 2: Preparation

Before veneers are applied, your teeth have to be prepared by conservatively removing off a thin layer of enamel from their front surface. The amount of enamel chipped is equal in thickness to the veneer that will be applied. This process might require the use of local anesthetic.

The dentist will then take a mold of your teeth which he will send to the laboratory for your veneers to be made. It will take about 3-4 weeks for your veneers to be custom made and fitted.

Stage 3: Bonding

Before attaching the veneers, the dentist will assess their fit and trim as necessary to achieve the right size. Your teeth will then be cleaned and their surface roughened before the bonding cement is applied. The veneers are then put in place and a light beam is applied to cause the cement to harden quickly.

The dentist will remove any excess cement, evaluate your bite and adjust the veneers until you have a comfortable bite.

If necessary, your doctor might schedule another appointment, to see how you are adjusting to your new veneers.

Benefits of porcelain veneers

Dental veneers have the following advantages:

  • Your smile will have a natural appearance.
  • They don’t irritate the gums.
  • They are stain resistant.
  • They make dull teeth appear whiter and brighter.
  • They don’t require extensive reshaping of the tooth.
  • They are very strong.

Downsides of porcelain veneers

  • Though they are longer lasting than resin bonding, they are more costly
  • Veneers can’t be repaired so if they chip, new ones will have to be applied.
  • You might experience sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Veneers do not change color. If you whiten your other teeth, this will mismatch the color of the veneers
  • You can still get tooth decay when you have veneers, as only the front surface is covered.
  • If you have weakened teeth, gum disease or little tooth enamel, you might not be a good candidate for veneers.

Managing these diadvantages.

  • To avoid chipping or breaking, do not chew on hard objects or grind your teeth
  • Before you decide on the color of veneers, whiten your teeth and then choose a shade of veneer that matches your newly whitened teeth.
  • To prevent tooth decay, practice good oral hygiene

Caring for veneers

Care for your veneers just like you would care for your teeth normally. Brush twice a day, use mouth wash and floss your teeth.