Porcelain veneers are an excellent way to repair, reinvigorate, and enhance a winning smile. Minimally invasive in nature and nearly impossible to tell apart from an original set of healthy teeth, veneers are a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution to bad teeth. To help facilitate our patients’ understanding of the porcelain veneer treatment, we at ArtLab Dentistry have created the following Q&A series exploring the procedure in greater detail.
What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin facings that adhere to the front of your teeth, done to improve the shape, color, size and spacing of your teeth. It is a safe, effective, and common way to attain an ideal smile. In essence, porcelain veneers are front-facing covers for your existing teeth that can improve your appearance.
ArtLab Dentistry Patient 1
This patient presented with severe wear and discoloration of teeth caused by vegetarian and acidic diet. She was not happy with the way her teeth looked. In particular she was unhappy with the shape, size, color, also the black triangles between her front teeth. The patient asked whether it would be possible to fix her teeth without too much tooth removal. Her teeth were reconstructed with porcelain veneers and without removing any more tooth structure. Still-beautiful result after 10+ years.
What are porcelain veneers used for?
Porcelain veneers can be used to drastically improve your smile by actually providing a new and improved “face” for your existing teeth. Those who suffer from discoloration, cracked, chipped, misaligned, or misshapen teeth and other cosmetic imperfections are ideal candidates. By the procedure’s very nature, candidates must have existing teeth (even though imperfect) on which to graft the veneers. Porcelain veneers offer an easier and less invasive alternative to crowns for altering the shape, color, and overall aesthetics.
Patients with severely decayed, missing, or otherwise seriously compromised teeth may not be good candidates for porcelain veneers, and should instead opt for a more holistic solution including an All-On-Fours procedure or a complete smile makeover.
What are porcelain veneers made of?
Typically veneers are made with two materials: resin composite or porcelain. At ArtLab Dentistry, we recommend the porcelain treatment to all our customers for many reasons. First, porcelain is more durable. When properly bonded by a knowledgeable and experienced prosthodontist, porcelain veneers will outlast resin alternatives. The material itself is more resistant to the grinding and natural wear and tear of daily life, and due to its nonporous nature, also resistant to staining and bacteria buildup. In regards to the procedure, porcelain veneers don’t require as much shaving down of existing teeth, which reduces the possibility of complications. Finally, and perhaps most importantly for our patients, porcelain teeth simply look more natural, feel better, and better achieve their aesthetic goals.
4 Steps To Beautiful Porcelain Veneers
Opting for porcelain veneers is a serious decision that shouldn’t be made lightly or without a basic understanding of what the procedure might entail. Once the treatment has been completed the results are permanent. Because the process inherently involves the removal of a small amount of enamel, it is impossible to undo. A full understanding of the benefits and tradeoffs of porcelain veneers, including before and after the procedure itself, will help patients make an informed decision that will best serve their needs and desires.
Step 1: Initial Consultation
The very first step any prospective patient should take is to have an in-depth conversation or consultation with a trained Prosthodontist like Dr. Mamaly Reshad. Be sure to establish what you hope to achieve with porcelain veneers as well as what to expect during and after the procedure. At ArtLab Dentistry, Dr. Reshad will review the minimal risks involved as well as the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing a porcelain veneer solution. Dr. Reshad will also offer alternatives if the veneers are not possible or not recommended. During this initial consultation, impressions, photos, and x-rays may be taken in order to create an initial model of the patient’s proposed teeth that can be adjusted and modified as needed. Once both the patient and the doctor are satisfied with the proposed look of the teeth, it’s on to the next step: Preparation.
Bonus Step: The ArtLab Dentistry “Test Drive”
At ArtLab Dentistry, we’ve added another layer into the initial consultation phase in order to ensure absolute, 100 percent patient satisfaction. Utilizing our very own in-house fabrication laboratory, we can create a set of temporary veneers based on the initial consultation on the very same day. This allows patients to “test drive” their new smile before making it official, and to catch any potential issues before the procedure takes place. Our “test drive” service not only protects clients, it is what makes ArtLab Dentistry a truly unique dental clinic.
Step 2: Preparatory & Planning
During the second step, Dr. Reshad and his team will begin work on your teeth. First, a very thin layer (on average about ½ a millimeter) will be removed to make space for the temporary veneers. Depending on the needs of the patient, local anesthetics may be employed. Once the removal process is complete, a final mold of your teeth will be taken and sent to a lab where your permanent porcelain veneers are fabricated. The fabrication process typically takes a few weeks during which time the temporary veneers are worn.
Step 3: Placement & Bonding
Finally, on the third and final visit, the custom fabricated porcelain veneers are installed. Dr. Reshad will start by placing the veneers on your teeth and evaluating for fit. These veneers may have to be trimmed, shaped, or otherwise altered on the spot to ensure a precise fit. Once the porcelain has been shaped accordingly, your existing teeth will be cleaned, polished, then etched in order to receive the cement that will permanently bond the veneers in place. A highly specialized dental cement is applied to each porcelain piece which is then adhered to your teeth. Once in place, your doctor will shine a beam of UV light onto each veneer which causes the dental cement to harden very quickly. Finally, with the porcelain veneers installed, Dr. Reshad will remove any excess bonding cement, evaluate your bite, and make final adjustments as required. The placement and bonding step is now complete!
Step 4: Followups
Dr. Reshad will more than likely want you to make at least one follow-up appointment a few weeks after the procedure to make sure everything is perfect. He will check to see how your mouth and gums are responding to the new veneers and double check the placement. If everything looks okay, you are done! You can now enjoy your brand new smile.