Having damaged or misaligned teeth fixed can restore a great amount of confidence in one’s smile and improve their mental state. Porcelain veneer application is one of the most popular and effective tools in restoring the appearance of teeth.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are tiny, ceramic shells that resemble miniature teeth. They’re manufactured to match the color and translucent properties of natural teeth, so they blend as closely as possible.
A dentist applies the veneer to the front portion of the treated tooth. The procedure can have an immediate effect on a patient’s smile and overall appearance. Sometimes the treatment takes place in a series of multiple sessions over a few weeks, after which a much more dramatic effect can result.
It’s important to note that porcelain veneers do not necessarily repair the dental issues one might have; their primary purpose is to obscure or camouflage misaligned or unattractive teeth. If there’s an underlying problem causing the appearance of one’s teeth, a veneer doesn’t typically address it. But cosmetic procedures are still valuable—if all you want to do is make your teeth more attractive, porcelain veneers may be all you need.
Conditions porcelain veneers can help
Porcelain veneers are most effective in addressing appearance issues or malformations that commonly occur in the teeth, including:
- Minor flaws. Porcelain veneers are especially good at disguising moderate blemishes, cracks, or stains, as well as worn-down or modestly disintegrated teeth.
- Gaps. Small spaces between the teeth can be covered over with porcelain veneers.
- Crooked teeth. Veneers can cover up minor misalignment or crooked teeth.
In certain situations—especially severe misalignments that pose a risk to a patient’s oral health—strictly cosmetic porcelain veneers may not be a total solution. But for patients with less acute conditions that don’t require surgery or restoration, porcelain veneers could very well be all they need to improve their smile and self-image.
The process of getting porcelain veneers
The first step in getting porcelain veneers is to schedule a visit with your dentist. They’ll diagnose your teeth’s condition and verify whether it requires more extensive treatment. If not, they’ll inform you if a porcelain veneer is a viable option.
The dentist then procures a “mock” veneer. This is a temporary application of filling materials in the color and shade of natural teeth—like a fitting you’d get at a tailor shop before buying the whole outfit. The mock veneer gives you and the dentist a general idea of what your permanent veneer will look like and allows for adjustments in the making of the final veneer.
The dentist then preps the teeth for the real thing. To ensure the veneer will fit appropriately, the dentist may have to remove some of the enamel from the surface of a tooth or two. It’s a standard part of the procedure, but you should be aware it will permanently alter the tooth in question.
After the permanent veneer is produced by a cosmetics lab, the dentist affixes them to the teeth with an extremely strong adhesive. The material used to attach the veneer is developed to integrate as fully as possible with the surrounding teeth and gums.
The entire process, from the initial appointment to the final application of the veneer, usually takes between two to three weeks, depending on the extent of the procedure.
When your veneers are in place, you’ll treat and care for them as you would your natural teeth. Since they’re extremely fine, porcelain veneers may be a little more fragile with certain hard or overly chewy foods. Your dentist will inform you if that’s likely and advise you on proper care procedures.