What is a porcelain veneer?
Porcelain veneers (porcelain laminate) are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the outside facing surface of a tooth (like a fake fingernail). Veneers mimic the lifelike appearance of teeth and when done correctly and artistically they are virtually undetectable. Laminates are used mainly on the front teeth and any back teeth that need to be included when a smile change is desired.
Why do I want a porcelain veneer?
- Porcelain veneers are used to restore or alter the appearance of the outer surface of a tooth.
- They are so thin that light passes through them like a natural tooth and because of their thickness, only a small amount of tooth needs to be removed to make room for them. Under the right conditions certain they can be placed directly over the existing tooth with no preparation at all (no prep veneers).
- The veneer can be used to change shape, color or position of a tooth, and to mask deformities.
- They are the main restoration used in cosmetic smile makeover procedures.
- Porcelain veneers are the choice of models and celebrities when a natural, attractive smile change is desired.
How is this done?
- The outside facing surface of the tooth is precisely prepared with 1/2 mm of tooth or less removed and shaped.
- An impression is made and sent to the lab.
- The patient leaves the office with a temporary covering any prepared tooth that is custom shaped to create the desired look of the final restoration. This is the key step because it allows for real time customization for the lab and patient to see. The patient can actually try out the case before to be sure of the final product.
- The lab receives a mold of this temporary as well.
- When the work comes back from the lab, the temporaries are removed and the laminates are tried in for doctor and patient approval.
- They are then bonded to the tooth.