Porcelain veneers (dental laminates) are made of very thin slices of porcelain that are glazed with a very life-like lustre and appearance, they are custom-made.

These tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front surface & or incisal tips of teeth to improve the appearance. Veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth to improve their colour, shape, size, length.

Dental veneers can be made from porcelain. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers require removal of more of the tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.

When are dental veneers needed?

  • Teeth that are discoloured — either because of root canaltreatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes, or the presence of large resin fillings that have discoloured the tooth
  • Teeth that are worn down
  • Teeth that are chipped or broken
  • Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or cracks or bulges in them)
  • Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

How are dental veneers done?

Getting a dental veneer usually requires two to three visits to the dentist – one for a consultation, treatment planning and two to do tooth preparation to receive the veneer and the third appointment to cement the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can simultaneously undergo the veneering process.

  • Diagnosis and treatment planning.This first step involves your active participation. Explain to your dentist your concerns and expectations. During this appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. He or she also may take X-rays/photographs and possibly make impressions of your teeth. If required you can get wax mock-up to visualize the possible outcome (will add an additional appointment).
  • Porcelain veneers are cemented to the outside surface of the teeth. In some cases where the face, lips and cheeks allow, the teeth do not need to be prepared (ground). In other cases, the teeth need be slightly reduced; otherwise the veneers can be too prominent. To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about 1/2 to 3/4  of a millimetre of enamel from the tooth surface, which is an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the tooth surface. Before trimming off the enamel, you and your dentist will decide the need for a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Next, your dentist will make a model or impression of your tooth. This model is sent out to a dental laboratory, which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory. Temporary dental veneers will be placed on your prepared tooth till the time permanent ones arrive. In this appointment you can decide or change the colour of the desired veneer (not possible to change it after this appointment).
  • Bonding.Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and colour. He or she may repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit. The veneer colour can be minimally adjusted with the shade of cement to be used. Next, to prepare your tooth to receive the veneer, your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and etched — which roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process. A special resin cement is applied to the veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth. Once properly position on the tooth, a special light beam is applied to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Your dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.

At the end of treatment, a splint or night guard is often suggested after any veneer treatment to protect the new restorations from tooth grinding at night time.

Veneers offer the following advantages:

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance.
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • The colour of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
  • Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s colour, shape and size. Veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure as crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

So, what are the limitations?

  • The process is not reversible.
  • Veneers are expensive than composite resin bonding.
  • Takes longer time and multiple appointments compared to composite veneers.
  • Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
  • Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
  • Veneers may not exactly match the colour of your other teeth. Also, the veneer’s colour cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
  • Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off.which can be minimized by , not biteing on, your nails, chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth.
  • Teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
  • Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth (for example, people with multiple decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface.
  • Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers to crack or chip.

What’s the life expectancy of veneers?

Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.

Do Dental Veneers Require Special Care?

Dental veneers do not require any special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing as you normally would.

Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages (for example, coffee, tea, or red wine).

Yes, alternatives to veneers include bondings and crowns. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers may be best suited for individuals who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just a little bit — as is done with bonding — but not enough to require a crown.