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What You Need to Know About Dental Veneers

There are several reasons why a smile can be less than perfect, from age and heredity to lifestyle choices and accidents. If your smile isn’t as bright or straight as you’d like it to be, dental veneers may be the cosmetic solution for you. Porcelain veneers can give you a brighter smile that you’ll love.

What Are Dental Veneers?

Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are attached to the fronts of your teeth. The most commonly-used material for veneers is porcelain as it mimics the look of tooth enamel, reflecting light in similar ways and giving a more natural appearance than other materials. Veneers can be used to improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, broken, or worn down, and can change the shape, size, or length of teeth.

How Dental Veneers Are Applied

Before any work can be done, you’ll need to have a consultation with your dentist to make sure that you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Depending on the condition of your teeth, some preparation may be needed before the veneers can be applied. Your dentist may need to make room for the veneers to fit onto your teeth, so about half a millimeter of enamel will be removed. A local anesthetic can be used if needed. Other types of porcelain veneers require less preparation.

Once the teeth are prepared, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory where the veneers are created. You will need to return to the dentist during another appointment for the veneers to be placed. In the meantime, temporary veneers can be placed on the teeth.

After two to four weeks, the permanent veneers should be ready. Your dentist will first check the fit on your teeth and make any adjustments needed. Your teeth will be cleaned, polished, and etched. This last step roughens the tooth and allows for a stronger hold of the veneers. A special cement is used to bond the veneers to the teeth. Once placed, a special light is shined on the veneers, activating chemicals in them that cause them to harden quickly. Your dentist will then remove any excess cement, check the bite, and make any necessary adjustments.

You may have to make one more visit to the dentist so that he or she can check that your gums are responding well to the veneers and that they are working properly, but besides that, you’ll be able to use them the same as your natural teeth.