What is the Porcelain Veneer Procedure

Porcelain veneers are a time-tested means of hiding an unsightly stained or damaged tooth from view. Composed of porcelain, a material that has excellent cosmetic properties for these kinds of applications, porcelain veneers consist of a very thin tooth-shaped shell that is designed to fit over the front of the tooth itself, where it is then cemented in place.

A permanent solution in which each individual veneer is designed to last upwards of a decade before requiring replacement, the creation and placement of a porcelain veneer requires several key steps and stages, described upon continuation.

Planning and Preparing for Porcelain Veneers

In the initial stages of planning and preparing for porcelain veneers, your dentist will first want to do a detailed oral examination. Depending on the type of damage being masked, she or he may also take X-rays to examine the parts of your teeth that aren’t readily visible.

If the oral exam and X-rays support the initial recommendation for veneers, your dentist will then explain the procedure; at this point, time can and should be taken to determine if porcelain veneers are the right option for you, as they require modification of your tooth that will permanently necessitate the use of a veneer.

Before a porcelain veneer can be created and placed, your tooth will first have to be prepped to both make room for the veneer and to create a surface upon which it can be effectively adhered. This may be done with or without the use of sedation, depending upon if and how far under the gumline a veneer may need to be placed. Your dentist will talk to you about their recommendations surrounding sedation versus local anesthetic, which is often all that is required.

First, the surface of the front of your tooth will be ground down with the use of a special dental tool in preparation for subsequent steps. While this may seem alarming, it is a necessary part of the process to make room for the veneer. Although they are typically only half a millimeter or so in depth, this same area needs to be removed from one’s tooth if it is to be placed there and not protrude from the rest of one’s teeth.

Next, detailed impressions will then be taken or your tooth or teeth. It is these impressions that will determine the size, shape, and thickness of the porcelain veneers to be created in the dental lab for you. While the veneers are being created, your dentist may place a temporary veneer to cover the tooth in the meantime. This will eventually be removed and replaced by a porcelain veneer.

Placement of Porcelain Veneers

The day of placement, your dentist will remove any temporary veneers that may be in use and then use a special acid gel to lightly etch the surface of the tooth. This is a quick and painless procedure that simply prepares the surface of the tooth to bond to the dental cement that is used to adhere the veneer to the front of the tooth.

Next, they will place the veneer and check for an appropriate fit. It is important for a veneer to fit just right, so some modifications might be required before the veneer can be cemented in place. Finally, the veneer will be bonded to the tooth and hardened with a special UV light.

Porcelain veneers that are placed properly and cared for appropriately will then last anywhere from 10-15 years.

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