What To Expect During The Application Of A Dental Veneer

Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells used to conceal and beautify the front of damaged or discolored teeth. If you are a candidate for dental veneers, you may not know what to expect. Here are the general steps that occur during the application process:

1. Tooth Preparation

To prepare your tooth for a veneer, the enamel of its front surface is abraded. The depth of the enamel trimming is about equal to the thickness of the veneer. Thus, once the veneer is in place, the tooth surface will align with your other teeth. If your tooth is damaged from decay, enough enamel is shaved away to remove the compromised area of tooth and still allow proper placement of the veneer. 

2. Color Selection

The shade of the veneer is matched to the color of your adjacent teeth. The translucency of the veneer can be controlled during its preparation to ensure that it is virtually indistinguishable from a natural tooth.

3. Making the Veneer

An impression is made of your teeth and gums to ensure that the veneer's fit will be exact. Often, a dentist will use a dental tray filled with a thick, quick-setting paste to obtain the impression. You are asked to bite down gently on the tray for a few moments before it is removed. The resulting mold is used by the lab to fashion your veneer. In some cases, you dentist may choose to use a milling machine instead of a mold. The machine images your tooth and then sculpts your veneer, using the image as a guide.

4. Fitting the Veneer

Once the veneer has been made, it can be fitted. Your dentist will repeatedly position and trim your veneer until the fit is exact. After the fit of the veneer is satisfactory, it can be bonded to your tooth.

5. Color Adjustments

Any adjustments to the appearance of the veneer's color must be made before final bonding. The veneer's color is actually set at time of fabrication. However, because it is translucent, the color of the corrected tooth can be adjusted by customizing the color of the underlying bonding cement. A "trial paste" is used to select the color, but it is removed before the permanent bonding cement is applied.

6. Final Bonding

To further prepare your tooth's surface for the bonding step, the tooth is etched for better bond adherence. A bonding solution is applied to the tooth, and the selected cement is spread onto the underside of the veneer. The veneer is then placed, and a special light is used to cure the bond.

A veneer can be used to correct many different cosmetic problems, such as a dental misalignment, chip or stain. The steps in the application process are not excessively painful or time-consuming. If you have specific questions about veneers and the procedure for getting one, talk with a dentist at a practice like Kimberling City Dental Center.