Dental veneers can restore the look and shape of teeth, covering a variety of imperfections. The procedure usually involves several steps in appointments spread out over a few weeks. Patients first consult with the dentist to determine whether the treatment is the right choice, before the veneers are created and fitted to the patient’s mouth.
What are veneers?
Veneers are thin porcelain or resin-composite coverings that are created to cover up minor dental issues such as chipped teeth, stained teeth, or small gaps in the teeth. Veneers look exactly like natural teeth. Patients can opt for only one veneer or many, and the teeth most often covered are the top eight in the front of the mouth.
What should patients expect before, during, and after appointments?
The process of getting veneers involves several steps. The typical procedure, if the patient’s case is a simple one, usually happens as follows:
1. Before the fitting
Before a patient decides that veneers are the correct choice, the matter must be discussed with a licensed dentist who has experience making and fitting patients for cosmetic dental appliances. Often, the patient is correct in that veneers will be a great fit for the dental problem, but sometimes a dentist can suggest another procedure or a different cosmetic option that is more appropriate.
If the dentist decides the treatment is a good choice for the patient, the patient undergoes a series of impressions. These molds of the patient’s tooth, or teeth, are used to make the veneers. The molded material that fits over the patient’s teeth must match the shape of those teeth, so such precision is necessary to ensure the right fit.
2. During the fitting
A week or two after the impressions are made, the patient can return to have the veneers placed on the affected teeth. The patient should be prepared for the dentist to remove a small portion of the tooth’s natural enamel — about 0.5 millimeters — to make room for the coverings and to help the material adhere to the teeth.
This step may be performed before or during the fitting appointment. The veneers are placed on the patient’s teeth and adhered to the enamel with the aid of dental cement with a special ultraviolet light to cure it.
3. After the fitting
Veneers, if fitted properly, should not cause pain or uncomfortable sensations. Patients should contact the dentist if experiencing discomfort. The patient may return for a follow-up appointment to make sure everything looks normal or may simply be advised to call if there are any problems.
If a patient has minor cosmetic dental issues in the front of the mouth, such as stained or chipped teeth, veneers can be a great option to restoring a natural-looking smile in one of the less invasive ways. Speak with a dentist today to see if they are the right choice for your individual case.
Request an appointment or call Swati Agarwal, DDS at 415-952-1149 for an appointment in our San Francisco office.
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