What are they?
Veneers are a cosmetic procedure, usually done for a discoloured tooth, where the very edge of the tooth has chipped or broken slightly, a tooth is slightly out of line or if a tooth is misshapen.
How’s it done?
There are two ways of doing veneers. One is a thin layer of porcelain which is cemented on to the front of the tooth; this is known as an indirect veneer. The second is a white filling material (known as a direct veneer) that’s built up on to the front surface of the tooth.
Depending on the reason the veneer is needed, your dentist may need to use a drill to remove a thin layer from the front surface of the tooth. This is to make space for the veneer so it doesn’t protrude in front of the adjacent teeth.
With direct veneers, your dentist will then paint a weak acid on to the tooth which they then rinse off. This allows the bonding agent to stick to the tooth, which will be applied on to the front surface of the tooth. The direct veneer is built up in thin layers using a white filling material to match the existing tooth or lighten it as required.
The white filling material is cured with a light after each layer is completed; several layers may be required for the desired outcome. Your dentist will then shape and polish the tooth, completing the direct veneer.
With the porcelain indirect veneers your dentist will take an impression of the tooth, using a soft putty material in a plastic tray, this is then sent to the laboratory to make the veneer.
To prepare the front surface of the tooth, your dentist may need to use a drill to remove a thin layer from the front surface of the tooth; this is to make space for the porcelain. A temporary plastic veneer may be necessary to protect the tooth whilst the veneer is being made.
At the follow up appointment, your dentist will remove any temporary veneers and fit the porcelain veneer in place using a dental cement. Depending on the cement, this may be a one step process where the veneer is glued straight on to the tooth or a two-step process where a weak acid is painted on and washed off, then a bonding agent painted on and cured with the light (as with the direct veneer) and the veneer is glued to the front of the tooth with a dental cement. Any excess cement is removed and, if necessary, any adjustments are made to the shape of the veneer, completing the fit of the porcelain veneer.