Dental veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are cemented and masked onto the outer surface of the tooth. Veneers are used to recreate the natural appearance of teeth while retaining the strength and resilience of natural tooth enamel. Many cases that are considered for veneers include teeth that are badly stained, shaped, crooked, or unevenly chipped.
Veneers are usually irreversible, often requiring the trimming of a small amount of enamel to make space for the veneer to be bonded onto (usually less than 1mm). Once the trimming is completed, the shade and an impression will be taken of the teeth and sent to a lab to fabricate the veneer(s). During this time a temporary veneer will be applied as the permanent is being made (usually about 2 weeks). Once the permanent veneer is fabricated a pre-evaluation is necessary to ensure that the shading and fitting of the teeth is matched. Once approved, the veneer is permanently bonded and a follow-up appointment is made to evaluate the gum’s response as well as make any necessary adjustments.
Often times, Lumineers are a possible alternative to veneers because they are less invasive and often require little to no trimming of the original tooth enamel. Lumineers use an even thinner material than veneers, have a shorter procedural process, and are inexpensive to their veneer counterparts, while preserving most of the tooth structure. While veneers are expected to last about 10 years under proper care, Lumineers have a life expectancy of 20 years.