Porcelain Veneer Techniques

The majority of smile makeovers today involve porcelain veneers. Although porcelain veneers (also known as porcelain laminates or dental veneers) have been around since the 1980's, their popularity did not materialize until years later. A series of cosmetic makeover television shows and news reports revealed the benefits of porcelain veneers and showcased the dramatic differences they made. People soon began to realize that porcelain veneers create amazing smile makeovers.
Porcelain veneers are a preferred treatment option for two main reasons: 1. They can dramatically change a smile in as little as two dental visits. 2. The procedure is virtually painless. Even the most fearful patient can comfortably have a new, beautiful smile in a short period of time with porcelain veneers.

In order to avoid creating teeth that look too bulky (caused by layering too much material on top of the teeth), a small amount of tooth structure must be removed. There is much publicity about drill-less thin porcelain veneers. However, experience shows that this application has limitations, and these veneers often look unnatural. Most patients with porcelain veneers require some tooth reduction in order to obtain a natural and realistic result. The teeth must also be free of decay before they can receive porcelain veneers. After the teeth are minimally prepared with a dental drill, an impression of the teeth is taken and sent to a dental laboratory. This impression provides the laboratory with the information needed to design the veneers. A highly skilled and artistic dental technician fabricates the porcelain veneers according to our instructions and sends them back to our office.

While the veneers are being fabricated in the laboratory, the patient wears temporary bonded veneers. Once the porcelain veneers come back from the dental laboratory (about two weeks later), it is time to permanently cement the veneers on the teeth. Both the inner surfaces of the veneers and the enamel surfaces of the prepared teeth are etched with a mild acid; this process creates micropores in the veneers and the teeth. Once etched, a liquefied bonding adhesive and a composite resin are used to cement the etched veneers to the etched teeth. The bonding adhesive flows into the micropores created by the acid etch, resulting in a strong, permanent bond between the tooth surface and the veneer.

Once the veneers are cemented onto the teeth, a special curing light is applied to the veneers to harden the cement and ensure the bond is strong. The porcelain veneer process is now complete and the patient has a beautiful new smile.