Porcelain Veneers

Actual samples of porcelain veneers.

Porcelain veneers, also known as porcelain laminates, are very thin shells of dental porcelain that are bonded to the outer portion of teeth visibly associated with your smile. Porcelain veneers will make a dramatic cosmetic improvement on teeth that are stained, crooked, chipped or worn out. It is one of the most popular procedures done in modern cosmetic dentistry that will turn your smile into movie star caliber instantly.

The property that makes a natural tooth look “natural” is the fact that a real tooth is translucent. Teeth have an outer layer called enamel and an inner layer called dentin. The enamel of a natural tooth has translucent properties. This means that when light strikes a natural tooth’s surface, it is not immediately reflected off, but instead penetrates through the thickness of the enamel. This light will subsequently be reflected off the nontranslucent inner layer which is the dentin. An example of this would be a screen door. If light is flashed it will pass through the screen door
and bounce off whatever object is behind. In a natural tooth, the enamel acts as a transparent screen.

When the enamel of a tooth becomes permanently stained, chipped or distorted, porcelain veneers can make the difference between avoiding to smile and smiling with all the confidence in the world. With porcelain veneers, the characteristics of a natural tooth are reproduced. Because veneers are glass-like and contain no metal they mimic the light handling characteristics of enamel. Another advantage is that they are resistant to staining. This is a problem in people whose natural teeth have had excessive exposure to tea, coffee, red wine and smoking. With porcelain veneers, no permanent stains are picked up due to its smooth surface.

Top six teeth are targeted for porcelain veneers.

The difference is remarkable, just this small change in her smile lifted her self-confidence sky high.

Older patient concerned strictly with his stained front teeth due to age and excessive smoking, coffee and tea.

Porcelain veneers are placed above converting his aged smile into an attractive look, even makes him feel younger again .

Veneers also serve to close small gaps between teeth, specially in very young patients where a complete crown is not always advisable.

Patient wanted to close gaps between teeth and align them properly without using crowns or braces; the most conservative option possible would be porcelain veneers.

Patient decided to go with a whiter shade for her new veneers, gaps are now eliminated and teeth are in excellent position, a total upper cosmetic improvment.

Adolescent unhappy with the spaces between his front and side teeth, considering his age a complete crown is not a good option.

With conservative porcelain veneers, there is unity to his smile, gaps and no longer visible and patient is very much satisfied.

This picture shows how porcelain veneers are custom made using a stone copy of your teeth as a guide for veneer fabrication.

Any tooth that is to receive a porcelain veneer is slightly drilled on in order to allow for the thickness of the veneer.  Only about 1/2 mm is removed from the outer layer of the tooth, making this one of the most conservative dental procedures available.  After this an impression is taken from your teeth and the mold is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers.  Below is an illustration of a veneer preparation procedure

Illustration shows a chip of one of the front teeth. In order to acheive better symmetry, both front teeth are slightly drilled on to accept porcelain veneers.

After the lab finishes fabricating the veneers they are bonded onto the prepared teeth. Any stains or chips
associated with the two front teeth are eliminated.

Porcelain veneers have a cost of $280dlls. per veneer and requires two dental  visits.  Not all teeth are candidates for porcelain veneers.  Teeth with crowns already on them, teeth with root canals, or back teeth are not eligible for porcelain veneers.  Usually the front six teeth upper and lower are designated for veneers, because they are closely visible.  Sometimes it is possible to put veneers on middle teeth when the smile is broad enough.