Veneers are dental appliances which are thin wafer-like sheets of porcelain. They are bonded on to the surface of a tooth in order to improve its appearance; mainly its color and shape. Sometimes, they are used to by dentists to treat minor cracks on a tooth as well.
What are the uses of veneers?
Veneers are used to improve the shape and color of teeth.
Teeth which are too small can be made larger.
Teeth which have an issue of crowding can be handled using veneers.
The excessive gap between two adjacent teeth can be eliminated using veneers.
Teeth which are badly discolored can be given an entirely new appearance, where they would look whiter than ever.
Teeth that are chipped due to external trauma can be brought back to their original shape.
Teeth which have worn out due to mineral loss can be restored.
Minor cracks in the surface of teeth can be treated using veneers.
The procedure of getting veneers usually requires two or more visits to the dentist's office. During the initial visit, which would be the consultation, the measurements of the tooth which would receive the veneer would be taken. During the second visit, the fabricated veneer would be bonded on to the tooth. Multiple teeth can receive veneers in a single sitting. However, if the number of teeth receiving veneers is too many, then more than one sitting would be required.
Screening: During this process, the teeth are screened for discolouration, chipping, cracks, etc. The dentist would recommend an x-ray, if necessary, to locate any hidden cracks in the tooth.
Preparation: The tooth will have to be prepared before it receives the veneer. By getting a veneer bonded to the tooth, the size (thickness) of the tooth would increase. Hence, a thin layer of the enamel would be removed in order to make space for the veneer. This is usually done by grinding the tooth. Local anesthesia may or may not be required, depending on the sensitivity of the tooth and other factors.
Fabrication: An impression of the tooth is required for fabricating the veneer. Hence, it is taken on a mold and sent to a dental laboratory. The veneers are usually made of porcelain, and it takes 2 to 3 weeks for the fabrication to be completed.
Pre-bonding: During this process, the veneer is checked for a perfect fit. Also, the color and shade of the veneer are checked for and any changes, if necessary, are made. This process finalizes the shape and color of the veneer before it is bonded to the tooth.
Bonding: The final veneer will be bonded on to the surface of the tooth. Before that, the tooth will have to be cleaned and roughened. This allows the veneer to grip on to the surface of the tooth and stops it from getting displaced. Dental cement is used to bond the veneer into position. The cement is made to harden under the effect of an ultraviolet light beam. The chemicals in the cement are activated and this cures the dental cement, thereby bonding the veneer on to the surface of the tooth. Finally, any excess cement that is left is removed and the veneer is polished. The bite is also checked in order to prevent any misalignment.