These are very fine porcelain facings which are made by the dental technician and bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. Veneers can be used to mask discoloured teeth, to correct misshapen and mis-aligned teeth and close spacing. Treatment with veneers is sometimes known as "instant orthodontics" since it allows correction of crooked teeth over a relatively short period of time.
While a porcelain veneer is very delicate the adhesive used to bond these to the underlying tooth structure is very strong. This means that a superb and very natural aesthetic result can be achieved without sacrificing a lot of healthy tooth structure. The natural colour of the underlying tooth shines through a veneer and this helps to give these restorations a very natural appearance. Sometimes tooth whitening can be completed prior to treatment with veneers and this gives a bright white smile.
At the first appointment, it is important to plan the treatment and work with the patient to visualise the predicted outcome. Sometimes it is important to complete a simulation of the final outcome on a model. Digital photographs can be extremely useful in communicating the important information to the dental technician.
At the second appointment, the teeth are carefully prepared and impressions are taken. Provisional or temporary veneers are also placed at this visit and these are to the predicted final outcome in complicated cases, which allows the patient to view the predicted final outcome.
At the third appointment, the temporary veneers are removed and the porcelain veneers are placed with try-in cement. This allows the patient to check that they are happy with their new restorations. The veneers are then bonded into place with multiple layers of adhesive. It is not unusual for the dentist to see the patient one more time to check that everything is satisfactory and to hear how much the patient is enjoying their beautiful new smile.
There have been amazing developments over recent years in tooth coloured filling materials (sometimes called white fillings or composite) and the adhesives used with this material. A wide variety of problems can be fixed with this material and the clinicians at SCED are very experienced in the use of this material.
Some people have stained areas on their teeth and because the tooth substance is healthy and it is not desirable to remove healthy tooth, bonding with composite can hide these areas.
Sometimes the teeth don't form fully and have less than ideal shape and bonding can be used to correct this without progressing to a veneer or crown. Composite can also be used to close spaces between teeth or to build up worn teeth and this is invariably successful with a very natural appearance.
Composite can even be used in some circumstances over the whole front surface of a tooth – this is called a composite veneer and allows the dentist to change the surface of a tooth in just one visit. It is not unusual for this procedure to be performed without the need for a local anaesthetic.