What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers, alternatively termed dental veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are wafer-thin shells of porcelain that are bonded using a resin material to the front surface of teeth. Veneering a tooth means to cover its facial, or front, surface. It is actually very similar to placing acrylic fingernails on top of natural nails. Veneers are used to enhance the shape and color of teeth, as well as to close spaces between teeth and improve alignment. Veneers can also cover up significant stains such as those caused by tetracycline. As we age, wear of the front teeth may affect the aesthetics of our smile and result in us appearing older then we actually are. Porcelain veneers may be used to lengthen worn or short teeth and restore the patients’ natural, youthful smiles.
The best part about porcelain laminate veneers is that they can be placed in two visits. The technique consists of first shaving a thin layer of outer tooth structure (about the thickness of an eggshell). An impression is then taken of the prepared teeth and is sent to a dental laboratory. In the lab, a ceramist will make very thin porcelain facings consisting of all the changes in shape, size, color and teeth arrangement that are needed to have a great looking smile. At the second visit, the laminates are bonded onto the prepared teeth with a white light gun. The bonding material acts as an adhesive for the laminates. Porcelain laminates are the most popular technique used for dramatic smile makeovers.