Porcelain veneers are very thin, tooth-colored shells of ceramic that are custom-fit and bonded to the front of the teeth. They can create an attractively white and even smile. Veneers can address a variety of issues, including chipped, yellow, stained, misshapen or crooked teeth, or teeth with spaces between them. A veneer placed on top of a tooth can quickly and easily improve the look of a smile.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers are custom-made in a dental laboratory to look exactly like the patient’s natural teeth. They are among the best of the restorative options when it comes to replicating the look of healthy tooth enamel. They are also resistant to staining from coffee or tea, or smoking cigarettes. And, because veneers are so thin, light shines through them, helping them blend in naturally with the other teeth.
Durability of Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers are strong and durable and, with proper care, will often last for 10 to 15 years. Veneers are manufactured from the highest quality porcelain, fitted with precision, and bonded with the most advanced adhesive materials available.
The Porcelain Veneer Procedure
The placement of porcelain veneers requires three appointments for the following:
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
This initial appointment provides the patient with the opportunity to take an active role in designing and discussing the restorative veneer process. The dentist will discuss the corrective abilities and limitations of this procedure with the patient.
At the second appointment, the teeth being veneered are lightly buffed to compensate for the added thickness the veneers will create. The teeth are typically reduced by approximately one half of a millimeter. Next, an impression is taken of the teeth and sent to the lab for the creation of veneers. Temporary veneers can be placed if the patient is uncomfortable with the appearance of the natural teeth. The veneers are usually ready within one to two weeks.
At the third appointment, the dentist will initially hold the veneers in place on the teeth with water or glycerin to determine whether they are perfect in fit and color. The color of the veneers can still be adjusted by altering the shade of the cement used to adhere them. Once the color is finalized, chemicals are applied to the teeth to optimize the bonding. Dental cement is then applied between the teeth and the veneers, and a special light is used to quickly harden the cement.
Care and Maintenance of Porcelain Veneers
Sensitivity to hot and cold may occur after placement of veneers; this is caused by the reduction of enamel on the prepared teeth. Sensitivity is a common residual effect that typically dissipates in one to two weeks.
Porcelain veneers should be cared for in the same way that natural teeth are. They will not be damaged by brushing and flossing, although using nonabrasive toothpaste is recommended. Veneers improve the appearance of teeth and, with proper home care and regular dental visits, will last for many years.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine