What is it?
Dental porcelain veneers are also known as porcelain laminates. It is a thin wafer like ceramic material that is custom made to be bonded onto a discolored, chipped, worn or mildly mal-aligned tooth. It gives excellent esthetic properties because of its translucency that mimics actual enamel of a tooth.
Who is it for?
- Permanently stained teeth (tetracycline staining, fluorosis)
- Mildly chipped or worn teeth which filings are not feasible
- Spaced teeth or slight mal-alignment when braces are not a choice
- You wanted to change the colour of the teeth to a permanent shade without bleaching
- Habit of clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism)
- Having epilepsy
- The tooth is heavily filled or weakened whereby a dental crown is more suitable.
- Severe gum problem
How it is done?
A complete oral examination which would involve taking certain radiographs (X-ray) is done prior to the tooth preparation. Discussion will be made to understand your expectations and the feasibility of it.
A dental porcelain veneer preparation involves trimming 0.5mm to 0.7mm of the external surface of the tooth extending over the contact point of the tooth with its adjacent teeth. This standard preparation may vary depending on certain conditions of the desired tooth.
An impression (dental mold) of the prepared tooth will be taken and sent to the dental laboratory. It would usually take 1 to 2 weeks for the dental veneer to be made for fitting.
If your dentist has a milling machine, he would capture the prepared tooth and send the image to a special machine so that the porcelain veneer could be cut from a block of ceramic. You will have your dental veneer the same day itself. This way seems splendid but most dentists feel that casting and contouring a dental veneer by hand through dental laboratory give a more superior esthetic.
A temporary dental veneer is made for you before you leave. It is best to avoid extremely cold or hot beverages to prevent unwanted sensitivity. Some dentists may just leave your prepared tooth bare and tell you not to use that tooth besides brushing it. Some dentists may include extra charges for the temporary veneer.
On your next visit, your dentist would try on the dental veneer and made certain adjustments to its shape and size if necessary. Trial paste is placed repeatedly to find a good match of colour of the bonding cement to mimic the colour of your adjacent teeth. After bonding the dental porcelain veneer, excessive cements are removed and high bites are trimmed.
Your dentist would advise you not to bite on hard objects like finger nails, pencils, peanuts and crab shells as they would fracture the dental veneer. A fractured dental veneer could not be repaired but have to be redone. You would need to instill good oral hygiene habits to prevent caries over the edges of the veneer.
Dental Porcelain veneer Cost
It ranges from $600 to $1100 per unit. This excludes charges for dental consultation, dental X-rays, dental treatment prior to dental veneer and temporary dental veneer.
Problems with dental porcelain veneers
Dental veneer does not strengthen a tooth. It is not meant for high compressive forces. Its sole purpose is esthetics. Therefore it would break easily if excessive force is incurred. Dental veneers are stain resistant, however the bonding cement at the edged when exposed through gum recession could be stained and making aesthetically unpleasing. Therefore, excessive consumption of colored beverages and tobacco products are not advisable.
Dental veneer procedure is not reversible. Once you have trimmed your tooth, you will always end up with a dental veneer or a dental crown if dental veneer is not strong enough.
A dental veneer could last up to 10 years if proper care is made. You could always redo your porcelain veneer whenever you think necessary.