When it comes to having dental veneers applied, there are usually three things that top the worry list for patients:
- if the dental adhesive will bond properly
- the dentists’ drill, and
- how much veneers cost.
As we all know, use of the dental drill is widespread in dentistry, from cleaning out decayed teeth to clearing access for root canal therapy. In cosmetic dentistry, and especially to ensure that the dental veneers have attached, the drill is used to prepare the tooth to allow optimal bonding of the veneer to the surface of the tooth.
Applying the Dental Veneers
The outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, is a smooth and lustrous surface which means it doesn’t give the dental adhesive much to bond to. Also, if we were to bond dental veneers to an unprepared tooth, we would end up with a bulky looking smile; we need to allow for the few millimeters of thickness that the veneers add, to ensure that the final result is a natural looking smile.
You can guarantee that your cosmetic dentist will carefully calculate how much of the tooth structure to remove based on a diagnostic model created from impressions of your teeth done during your initial consultation.
Once the anesthesia has kicked in, the dentist will create some reference points on the tooth to shave it to the appropriate depth; only afterward is the majority of the tooth reshaped. Once your teeth have been reshaped, they are much more vulnerable due to the loss of enamel. So to protect against sensitivity and decay between appointments, temporary dental veneers will be placed. These are usually based on the final product, so you will get a sense of how the final veneers will look.
Temporary veneers are used as a mock-up, which can be tweaked until both you and the dentist are happy. Impressions, as well as photos, are then taken and used by the dental lab so that the final permanent veneers can be made up to exactly fit your mouth.
Note that temporary veneers are not made of porcelain, so although you will see the outline of the smile, it won’t capture the shine or translucency of the dental veneers. The preparation work is essentially complete once the temporary veneers are in place.
Applying Dental Adhesive
The final appointment involves removing the temporary veneers and bonding the final veneers into place with dental adhesive. The dentist will clean up the excess dental adhesive along the margins of the tooth and then cure the bonding agent. In the case of composite veneers, both prep and delivery are conducted during the same visit. Although this mitigates the need to wait on the dental lab for fabrication, the process can still take time in the chair. The dentist must layer on a composite material to replicate the nuances of a natural smile.
Beyond some mild discomfort from tooth sensitivity, most patients don’t report any symptoms after either type of treatment. Overall, new patients can rest assured that the process probably won’t be as painful as they would imagine, the dental adhesive will hold your dental veneers in place, and the benefits post-treatment may just change your life.