Your smile is more than just a reaction to something funny, happy or enjoyable. As your face illuminates with a smile, the trinity of feel-good chemicals, which include serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, floods your bloodstream, which improves mind and body. Even faking a smile boosts physical and emotional health.
Feeling good and smiling shouldn’t be hindered because of stained, chipped or misaligned teeth. If you wish to restore confidence in your smile, dental veneers may be a viable option. This minimally invasive procedure covers existing teeth with a customized material, typically porcelain. Its purpose is to boost the natural beauty of your smile by eliminating imperfections.
Unlike dental implants, which are permanent artificial teeth, veneers produce equally impactful results without the complexity, cost and recovery period. As with many cosmetic procedures, knowledge is power. Understanding the veneer process helps determine whether this procedure is right for you.
Brief Investigation of Dental Veneers – What Are They?
Essentially, dental veneers are shells made out of either composite resin or porcelain. Materials are customized to match the shape, size and desired color of surrounding teeth. Once crafted for your mouth, the veneers fit over the surface of teeth.
When it comes to selecting veneer material, each has its own unique considerations. These include:
- Composite Resin Veneers – This material is generally applied in a single session and are the most cost-efficient option. While quick and affordable, composite resin veneers have a short lifespan of five to seven years. Afterwards, they need to be replaced.
- Porcelain Veneers – Categorized as an indirect veneer, this material requires multiple sessions. Unlike its counterpart, the veneer is customized for precision fit. Not only is its aesthetic value greater, but porcelain veneers feature a lifespan up to 15 years. They are considerably more expensive, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Veneers are generally used to improve aesthetic imperfections, such as stained or chipped teeth. While its application is flexible, teeth must be healthy enough to support the veneer shell. If not, dental implants may be recommended.
Once complete, simply maintain your normal dental hygiene habits. Remember, just because the surface of teeth may be augmented, you must still care for the enclosed teeth. Now, let’s explore the surprisingly straightforward process of dental veneer procedures.
Session #1 – Consultation and Evaluation
The start of your journey to a more confident and beautiful smile begins with a consultation. The purpose of this session is to:
- Explain your desired outcome and what you wish to achieve.
- Determine if veneers are an appropriate option for you via a physical examination.
- Review options and perform necessary preparation steps.
During this initial consultation, it’s important to clearly explain what you wish to achieve. This helps guide the dentist toward the best solution based on your goals and dental health. Along with a standard dental evaluation, the dentist may take an impression, or mold, of your teeth. You may also need a series of dental x-rays to verify teeth health and structure.
Make the most out of this session by preparing a list of all questions and concerns. Use this as an opportunity to not only determine veneer type, but to learn about the procedure and calm any worries you may have.
Note: Before getting veneers, any pre-existing dental issues, such as gum disease or cavities, must be corrected. This is to prevent exasperating a potentially harmful condition, which could cause serious damage.
Session #2 – Procedure Preparation
After evaluating your current dental health, and taking into consideration your financial and cosmetic goals, the procedure is confirmed. As mentioned earlier, composite resin veneers are typically performed in a single session. Essentially, composite resin veneers are installed in three steps:
- Teeth Preparation – Teeth are thoroughly dried before the dentist adds a small amount of an acidic solution to its surface. This helps add texture and maximizes bond between tooth and resin. An adhesive glue is then applied to the teeth.
Layering the Resin
- Layering the Resin – The dentist carefully layers each tooth with the composite resin until the desired size and shape is met.
Refining the Results
- Refining the Results – Lastly, the composite resin is sanded and polished to deliver a natural, beautiful and comfortable result.
Porcelain veneers require a much more involved procedure. Unlike composite resin veneers, porcelain is crafted to the exact shape of your teeth. The typical process for porcelain veneers is as follows:
- Treatment area is numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
- Using a special tool, the dentist removes a thin layer of enamel. The amount removed is based on the thickness of the veneer.
- An impression, or mold, is taken of your trimmed teeth. This mold is used to create veneer size, shape and thickness.
- The impression is sent to a dental lab, which precisely creates your porcelain veneer. This process takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.
- Temporary veneers may be used until the permanent veneers are ready.
Session #3 – Installing the Veneers
When the dentist receives your customized veneers, it’s finally time to have them bonded to your teeth. The dentist typically places the veneer over your teeth to ensure a proper fit and to determine the best shade for a natural appearance.
The teeth are prepared by a thorough cleaning, polishing and texturizing. When ready, the dentist applies a specialized adhesive, or cement, and affixing the veneer. Once perfectly positioned, the veneer is permanently attached by curing it with a unique light beam. This causes a chemical reaction between the veneer and cement for optimum durability.
The final tasks include polishing the veneer, trimming excess cement and making minor size adjustments until your bite feels perfectly natural.
Session #4 – Evaluating Your Restored Smile
While not always required, it’s common to have a follow-up visit several weeks after the procedure. This is to ensure the veneers not only look great, but feel natural and effortless. Once confirmed, you’re off to enjoy over a decade of brilliantly radiant teeth.
Restoring Your Vibrant Smile Can Start Today!
Advancements in cosmetic dentistry now make it faster, easier and more affordable to regain the confidence of a beautiful smile. Dr. Marc Lazare is a dental expert specializing in veneers in New York. He brings years of top education and involvement in the cosmetic realm of dentistry. Additionally, Dr. Lazare is one of only a few dentists in the entire NYC area that is trained in and practices Biomimetic Dentistry. Learn more about Dr. Lazare and what other services can he do for your smile, at: www.drmarclazare.com.