What is a porcelain veneer restoration?
- A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that is bonded to the front visible surface of a tooth.
- It is similar to a false fingernail.
- The appearance of a tooth can be dramatically improved.
- It can change the colour, shape and size of a tooth.
- Discoloured teeth can be permanently whitened.
When will I need this?
Porcelain veneers are ideal for front teeth if you have any of the following:
- Stained and discoloured teeth.
- Fillings that are large and noticeable.
- Chipped teeth.
- Spaces between the teeth.
- Slightly crooked teeth.
- Teeth that are too short, too long, or too wide.
Why is porcelain the best material?
- Porcelain has a translucency and lustre that cannot be equalled by any other material. It closely resembles the enamel of a tooth.
- Perfect colour matching to existing teeth is possible.
- Porcelain is a very strong and durable tooth restoration.
- Although a veneer is a very thin shell, it becomes as strong as the enamel of the tooth. It is strengthened by being fused or bonded to the tooth.
- It cannot be stained and will not discolour.
- The porcelain shell is very thin and as a result very little tooth material has to be trimmed away to accommodate it.
- A veneer can also be made of a plastic material, but this can not match the aesthetics and durability of porcelain. Temporary shells are made of acrylic.
What steps are involved?
- The dentist trims down the front surface of the tooth, and takes an impression of the prepared tooth.
- The impression is sent to a dental technician who makes the porcelain veneer.
- As very little tooth material is removed in the process, a temporary may not be necessary. If the prepared tooth is particularly sensitive a temporary acrylic shell will sometimes be needed. This is to protect the trimmed down tooth while the porcelain shell is being made.
- Finally, the dentist will bond (cement) the attractive natural-looking porcelain shell to the tooth.
Is the process painful?
- It is not a painful procedure.
- A small amount of trimming of the tooth is needed.
- This is not painful but the trimming at the gum margin may be sensitive.
- A local anaesthetic can make it a painless experience.
- There may be some sensitivity to hot and cold after the preparation and before the final fitting.
- A temporary may be fitted if the prepared tooth is particularly sensitive or additional repair work is needed.
- The temporary will protect the tooth, and prevent sensitivity.
- Before the preparation is started any decay must be removed, and the tooth repaired.
- After the veneer is fitted, the tooth may be sensitive for a few days. This will soon pass.
How careful must I be?
- Veneers are very strong and durable and cannot be damaged easily.
- Eating will not be affected, but it is not advisable to bite or chew hard sweets or chicken bones.
- The bright lustre can be preserved by using a non-abrasive toothpaste.
Why choose a veneer instead of a replacement crown?
This is a much more conservative option compared to crowns as the tooth structure that needs to be removed is minimal and at the same time exceptional aesthetic results can be acheived. These treatments have though certain limitations that need to be discussed with your dentist.
Can they make a big difference to my appearance?
- They are able to transform the appearance of all the front teeth.
- Discoloured teeth are very successfully changed to look natural and appealing.