Dental veneers, also known as laminates, are exceptionally thin, porcelain shells that are custom made to fit over your natural teeth. They’re designed to hide cosmetic flaws or restore lost tooth structure by changing the color or the shape of your teeth. Once they’re permanently bonded to the front side of your teeth, veneers can correct a wide range of flaws, including:
Crooked, broken, or chipped teeth
Uneven tooth edges or spacing between teeth
Worn or misshapen teeth
Discolored or permanently stained teeth
Veneers offer a more subtle way to repair teeth, making them an attractive alternative to porcelain crowns. A dental technician creates custom veneers in a lab, working from a model provided by Dr. Gertsen.
Getting veneers usually requires three appointments:
The first step in getting veneers is having a consultation with Dr. Gertsen. During this appointment, you have a comprehensive oral exam, so Dr. Gertsen can diagnose any cosmetic issues and develop a customized treatment plan.
During your second appointment, Dr. Gertsen lightly buffs and reshapes the surface of your enamel to accommodate the thickness of the veneer. This process only removes about half a millimeter of tooth surface, or just enough so that your veneers won’t feel out of place in your mouth. Although most patients don’t find this part of the procedure too uncomfortable, you may request a local anesthetic if your teeth are sensitive to dental work.
Next, Dr. Gertsen takes an impression of your teeth to send to the dental lab, and helps you choose the right shade of white for your veneers.
During your third appointment, Dr. Gertsen cleanses your teeth with bond-promoting chemicals. Then, he adheres the veneers to your teeth with dental cement, which is hardened with a special light beam.
Dr. Gertsen checks your veneers in a follow-up appointment to make sure they’ve stayed in place after the first week or two. Even though porcelain veneers are more resistant to staining than natural enamel, it’s a good idea to cut back on staining beverages and foods, including coffee, tea, red wine, and berries, to help preserve their vibrancy.
Because porcelain veneers are permanently bonded to your teeth, they’re incredibly strong and durable. To make sure your veneers last as long as possible, however, it’s important to maintain healthy dental habits by brushing and flossing at least twice a day.
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