Regarding strength, they can be compared, if not equal, to the natural tooth enamel. Being made of porcelain makes them stain resistant. These veneers are designed specifically for one patient, and no two porcelain veneers for two different patients are the same.
To tell whether the patient needs porcelain veneer and to determine the best choice of material for their dental veneer, the patient must consult with his/her doctor.
Situations that dental veneers are used and problems they fix
- Damaged enamel: Some lifestyle habits such as smoking and some eating and drinking habits, such as drinking soft drinks, tea, coffee or even some genetic factors play role in wearing down the tooth enamel, which is a natural protective layer on teeth. Worn enamel affects the appearance of teeth. By covering the frontal surface of teeth with dental veneers (specifically porcelain veneers), the patient can regain confidence and more importantly protect their teeth from further damage.
- Broken, cracked or chipped teeth
- Age-related teeth damage: As we age, our teeth lose their strength and are susceptible to breaking and cracking, which can also give them an uneven appearance. Some are unpreventable. And some are reversible, by bonding a layer of porcelain veneer on a broken or cracked tooth.
- Genetically uneven, irregular shaped teeth.
- Teeth with abnormal gaps and spaces between them.
- Discoloration: Tetracycline (antibiotic), Root canal induced discoloration may not be fixed with teeth whitening method, cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneer treatment can be executed on the selected teeth.
- Improve alignment: If the patient wants to straighten their teeth without braces, he/she have the option of applying porcelain veneers.
Am I a candidate for porcelain veneers?
To determine whether the patient is a suitable candidate to get porcelain veneer, at first they must make an appointment with their doctor, for teeth and mouth examining, and generally for consultation purposes.
The doctor will evaluate the patient’s oral and dental health, and discuss the best options available. As this treatment is irreversible and the doctor cannot undo the steps taken, so it is highly important for the doctor to discuss the other available and alternative options matching the patient’s criteria. After coming to the point where the doctor and patient both agree with porcelain veneer treatment, the doctor will go through the treatment steps, from preparation to application of the veneers.
The patient must specify how they want their smile to look. Based on the patient’s preferences and expectations, such as shape, colour and size (length, width), steps will be taken to make sure their expectation will be fully met. The consultation session needs the patient’s active participation, in order to get their desired results. During this appointment, the doctor might order x-ray of the patient’s mouth and teeth and check the current tooth condition. He/she might look for any gum disease, which might also need to be addressed and treated before making and applying veneers.
Porcelain veneer procedure
After consultation session, approximately two appointments will be required for making and then applying the veneers. porcelain veneers might be used on more than one tooth.
The steps taken are as below:
- Preparatory works: In order to prepare the teeth for dental veneers, the doctor will need to trim the teeth and remove about 1 mm of enamel to reach the width of the porcelain veneer and a right height and size for placing the veneer. With some veneers, no enamel trimming and removing is needed. This process should not be painful because there are no nerves present on the tooth itself, but as a precaution, local anaesthetic may be used based on the doctor’s discretion. If the patient has decided to use porcelain veneers on some but not all of his/her teeth, and also wants to make their teeth whiter, they better do a brief whitening process on other surrounding teeth before going through with porcelain veneer treatment. Also, if the veneers are made to match the cleaned and whitened teeth, then they need to regularly do overall dental cleaning and teeth whitening.
Afterwards, the dentist will make a model of patient’s teeth and send the model to the dental laboratory. Each veneer is crafted separately in the laboratory. It usually takes 1 to 3 weeks for the porcelain veneers to be ready and sent back to the doctor’s office. For the teeth on the back side of patient’s mouth, those that cannot be seen, temporary veneers can be used. Sometimes the patient will be given temporary dental veneers, while he/she is waiting for the permanent dental veneers to be ready. This is to protect the prepared teeth during this time.