Wanting to improve that smile and thinking of going the porcelain veneer route? When choosing this classic dental procedure, keep in mind that a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. Now, this tidbit of information isn’t to hinder you from getting veneers, but just know it takes time and that’s a good thing. Whether it’s just one tooth or many teeth, each can simultaneously undergo the veneering process described below.
Diagnosis and treatment planning
The very first step involves your active participation. Explaining to your dentist the results that you are trying to achieve will help them know exactly what you’re looking for. During this dental appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure dental veneers are right for you and discuss what the procedure will entail.
When preparing a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, which is almost equal to the thickness of the veneer that will go on that tooth. Before the trimming of the enamel, you and your dentist will decide the need for a local anesthetic to numb the area. Next, your dentist will take an X-ray or make a model/impression of your tooth. The model/impression is sent out to a dental laboratory to construct your veneer. The process usually takes 2-4 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory.
Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color and make sure it’s right. The dentist will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit. Once the veneer looks right, they will prepare your tooth by cleaning, polishing, and etching — which roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process with the veneer. A special cement is applied to the veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth to bond. Once properly in place, a special light beam is set to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden or cure very quickly.
The final steps will involve the dentist removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. You may be asked to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.