Tooth veneers are ultra-thin translucent shells, usually made of composite resin or porcelain, which are placed over your natural teeth. They’re used for a number of reasons, including to fix cavities, to hide discolourations, to improve the spacing between teeth, to lighten teeth and generally improve your smile.
Composite veneers are usually done in a single visit to our office. First we choose a resin colour that closely matches your natural teeth. Then your front teeth are roughened to improve adhesion. The resin is applied one layer at a time, and hardened between each layer with a special light. After the final layer is hardened, the veneers are shaped and polished, so that the finished teeth look natural and smooth.
Porcelain veneers typically take two visits to complete. On your first visit, we’ll make a mold of your natural teeth and remove a thin layer of the existing enamel to receive the veneers. You’ll go home after your first visit with temporary veneers. These are more delicate than the permanent veneers and are only intended to last until your permanent veneers can be created. Between your visits, we will create individual veneers for each tooth based on the mold we took of your natural teeth.
On your second visit, the porcelain veneers will be glued to your teeth one at a time using resin cement.
Who can get veneers?
Not everyone is a good candidate for veneers. Here are some reasons why your dentist may suggest treatments other than veneers:
- If a tooth has decay or is in an area that has periodontal disease (gum disease). These problems must be treated first.
- If a tooth has little enamel left, a veneer will not stick to it properly.
- If too much of the tooth is missing, a crown may be another option.
- If a person grinds or clenches his or her teeth. This habit is called bruxism and can chip or break porcelain veneers.
Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.
Composite resin and porcelain 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 veneers resist stains, we may recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages (for example, coffee, tea, or red wine).