Dental veneers, which are also called laminates, are exceptionally thin, custom shells made from porcelain or a composite resin material. Veneers are designed to change the color or the shape of your teeth by hiding structural or cosmetic flaws. Once they’re permanently bonded to the front side of your teeth, veneers can help correct a wide range of flaws, including:
Veneers can be an attractive alternative to crowns, because they provide a more subtle way to repair a tooth’s color, size, or shape. Custom-made veneers are created in a lab by a dental technician who works from a model provided by your dentist.
A complete veneer procedure typically requires 3 appointments. The first includes a comprehensive dental exam, diagnosis, and treatment plan, the second is for veneer preparation, and the third is for bonding the veneers to your teeth. Composite resin veneers require your teeth to be lightly buffed in preparation, which removes about half a millimeter of surface enamel to accommodate the new layer. This part of the procedure doesn’t bother most patients, but if you’re particularly sensitive to dental work, you may need a local anesthetic. After the surface is ready, the veneers can be carefully bonded and sculpted to fit your teeth. Preparation for porcelain veneers includes cleansing your teeth with special bond-promoting chemicals. Porcelain veneers are adhered with dental cement, which is then hardened with a special light beam.
Dental veneers provide several important benefits: They can brighten the shade of your teeth, enhance their shape, and put some confidence back into your smile. Because veneers are permanently bonded to your teeth, they’re incredibly strong, durable, and long-lasting. Although you might need to get used to the feel of your veneers, you’ll continue to keep up good oral health habits of brushing and flossing at least twice a day as you adjust. Your dentist will check your veneers in a follow-up appointment to make sure they’ve stayed in place after the first few days. Even though porcelain and composite resin veneers are more resistant to staining than natural tooth enamel, cutting back on staining beverages and foods, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and berries, can help preserve their bright color.