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Blog What is a veneer and why is it required?

What is a veneer and why is it required?

A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain or a naturally coloured composite material which is placed over the teeth to improve the appearance.

porcelain-veneers-before-after

> Improve discoloured teeth

> Shape

> Alignment

> Cosmetic improvement

What does the process actually involve?

The beginning of the assessment will start with a comprehensive photography portfolio that will be reviewed by patient and dentist to highlight aesthetic concerns during their smile makeover appointment. A smile analysis and smile design will need to be completed to design the desired outcome.

A mock-up of the design may be tried in to check that the outcome is in line with the patients’ needs and to assess the amount of tooth recontouring required on each tooth.

Once this stage has been approved by the dentist and patient a customised silicone key will be made to guide the dentist in removal of tooth structure to provide the ideal space required for each veneer.

If the dental veneers are being designed with increasing tooth width or replacing tooth surface loss, there may not be any tooth removal as we would be providing a veneer to add to the tooth. This is commonly referred to as “Additional approach” or minimally invasive veneers, thin veneers and no prep veneers.

Your veneer preparation appointment will be the beginning of your smile transformation. At the end of the appointment you will have your provisional veneers in place that will be customised to the design that has been created at the beginning.

This is the time to understand your smile requirements and test drive the veneers, please feel free to discuss with the dentist if you would like a few modifications. The colour and micro detailing, which includes adding character to the teeth by small rotations and internal colour should be decided upon at this stage. A natural tooth and smile have many flaws and colour within them but the art of creating a beautiful smile is balancing these small imperfections to the patient’s overall face shape and personality.

A local anaesthetic may be used to reduce any discomfort, but it is not always necessary. The dentist will take an impression of the teeth and the colour is matched to ensure it looks natural.

The dentist will most likely want to see you a week after the fitting to check, polish and make sure you are happy with the temporary veneers and want any modifications to set up.

What to expect during provisionalisation stage?

> Teeth will feel sensitive as the underlying tooth structure is not fully sealed at this stage 

> Soft diet as temporary veneers are lightly tacked onto the teeth

> Temporary veneers will be linked to help with retention.

> You will need to use Super Floss or Small TePe brushes between the gum spaces to keep free from food and plaque.

> Temporary veneers are made out of composite resin, care when eating is required not to break the veneers as the material is not as strong when not bonded fully to the tooth

> Temporary veneers may pick up some extrinsic food staining, so avoid heavily coloured food during this time e.g.: Indian and Chinese food.

It’s important to have excellent gum hygiene during this stage to facilitate the veneer fit appointment. If the gums are bleeding and unhealthy this appointment may be delayed. As optimum bonding (sticking of veneers) cannot be achieved while gums are bleeding.

What to expect on Fit appointment?

Your veneer fit appointment will be scheduled in 2 weeks after preparation appointment. This allows our specialist laboratory technician to produce the customised veneers. The dental veneers will be based on the smile design that was initially designed from the temporary veneers provided. If we have made changes to the temporary veneers this should also be incorporated into the new veneers.

Local anaesthesia will be used at this appointment to allow for a more comfortable procedure. Once the underlying tooth structure has been cleaned, essential to for optimum bonding the veneers are tried in.

Veneer Checklist

> Fit

> Colour

> Overall smile and shape analysis.

At this stage the dentist will ask for you the patient to sit up and review if you are happy with the overall look and colour.

IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO GO HOME AND TEST DRIVE THIS SET.

At this stage, this should be the final result of the smile makeover – the temporary veneers have allowed you to check for any issues whilst the final veneers are made. The veneers reflect the careful planning of the previous stages.

On agreement that everything on the checklist is as expected, the dental veneers will be individually bonded onto the teeth.

The dentist may feel that the veneers might need further modifications and suggest that they are sent back. This will be discussed at the time and new temporary veneers will be made. This decision is solely in the patient’s best interest.

Images used extracted from case study: porcelain veneers

About Nikita Mehta

Nikita graduated with honours and won the top student prize with a Certificate in Aesthetic Dentistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) after completing a 2-year full time postgraduate programme in 2007. She has an MSc in Restorative Dentistry at the Eastmann Dental School in London.

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