Dental veneers are a treatment to restore the natural appearance of teeth. To create them, a thin shell-like mould is made from composite resin or ceramic materials. This shell is then bonded to the front of the tooth via a specially formulated dental cement. The aim of veneers is to improve the physical appearance of minorly damaged or discoloured teeth.
First, you will have a consultation with the dentist. The dentist will examine your teeth, look for signs of damage or decay, and decide whether veneers is a suitable treatment for you. If there is an underlying condition that is compromising your teeth, such as periodontal disease or clear evidence that you habitually grind or clench your teeth, the dentist may not recommend veneers. But if the teeth are healthy and the problems are purely cosmetic, the veneer construction process can then begin.
Your initial consultation will be done through clear photos of your teeth and your dental history. Once you arrive at the clinic, you will have another in-person consultation to confirm that you are suitable for veneers.
During the consultation, the dentist will discuss your wishes for how you want your veneers to look in terms of shape and colour. They'll also advise you on what would look most natural based on their professional opinion when considering the characteristics of veneers (translucency, brightness, and colour).
Preparation of your teeth
Next, the dental specialist will use precision tools to remove the outer layer of enamel from the teeth being treated. This may be done on the same day as your consultation if you are abroad or during a second visit if staying locally.
The width and depth of the layer will correspond approximately to the layer of veneer being applied. A local anaesthetic will be used to dull the pain during this process.
Making the mould
Once the teeth have been prepared, the dentist will then make a mould in order to construct the veneers that specially fit your teeth.
The mould will then be sent to the clinic's own dental laboratory or to an external lab if they do not have one onsite. The lab will use the mould to produce exact replicas of the damaged teeth. A type of ceramic (usually porcelain or laminate) is the material most often used for veneers but a composite resin will be used if you are being fitted with indirect composite veneers.
The veneers will be produced in a few days. You will be provided with temporary veneers to wear while your permanent veneers are being made.
For direct composite veneers, the veneers are created directly on the treated teeth using a composite resin.
Bonding the veneer
Once the permanent veneers are ready, the next step is the bonding procedure. The veneers may first need to be trimmed slightly to fit the tooth. Then, the tooth needs to be prepared for bonding. The dentist will polish the tooth, then etch it to create a suitable bonding site for the cement and the veneer. Anaesthesia is usually not needed during this part of the treatment.
After that, the dental cement is applied to the teeth and the veneer is attached. The dentist will use a special focused light to "activate" the cement and tightly bond the veneer to the tooth. This process happens in a matter of minutes. Finally, any excess cement will be quickly removed, leaving the veneer in place and restoring the natural appearance of your teeth.
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