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Porcelain Veneers – and several alternatives

For many years porcelain veneers have been the most commonly provided type of veneer. They can be used to change the shade, shape, position or size of teeth and also to close or reduce gaps between teeth.

Porcelain veneers are custom-made in a dental laboratory on precision models of your teeth, created from very accurate impressions of your prepared teeth.

The tooth under the new porcelain veneer frequently needs adjustment or preparation to create enough space to place the veneer.

In some situations (such as where a tooth is being moved forward, or where a small tooth is being made bigger), it’s certainly true that it may be possible to avoid any preparation. However, don’t be mislead: to make your final veneers look good it’s unusual NOT to have to remove some part of the front surface of the tooth.

As a result, we’ll always make sure that you understand the irreversible nature of most porcelain veneers: it’s not always possible to remove a veneer and return your tooth to its original state. This issue alone may influence the type of veneer you choose.

What are the stages involved in having porcelain veneers?

1. Planning

The most important step is to have your teeth evaluated carefully by our clinical team, so that you know all the treatment options and can make an informed decision that porcelain veneers are the best solution for you. We’ll take digital x-rays of your teeth to make sure that there are no hidden problems. We’ll also take photographs and moulds of your teeth before you have any treatment, so we can thoroughly plan what needs to be done. Often special wax veneers are formed on plaster models of your teeth, so that you can see what the final result will look like.

2. Tooth preparations

Once you have made the choice to have porcelain veneers, the first treatment stage normally involves using a dental anaesthetic to numb your teeth. Here’s where we excel: read about how we can use painless anaesthetics, that won’t give you a numb face for hours afterwards.

When the teeth are numb we carry out a planned reduction of the front surface of your teeth to create the veneer preparation.

3. Impressions

Once the veneer preparation is completed we’ll make impressions of your teeth. We use special, highly accurate, impression materials inside a thin metal tray that fits over your teeth.

4. Temporary Veneers

The clinical team then place temporary veneers for you while the dental laboratory makes your new porcelain veneers. If a diagnostic wax-up was carried out, this may be used to make your temporary veneers so that you have a good idea what the final result will look like.

5. Getting the Right Fit

Once your porcelain veneers have been constructed – each one made-to-measure for each individual tooth – we’ll check them on your teeth to ensure that they fit correctly and don’t get in the way when you bite. We’ll often use a special low-stick paste so that you can see the veneers in place before they are permanently cemented. This is a great opportunity to check that you’re happy with the results.

6. Bonding the Veneers

The final stage involves bonding your veneers to your teeth using an advanced dental adhesive system. The strength of your porcelain veneer is largely due to the strong bond to the tooth due to this dental adhesive. Here is where attention to detail is critical – rushing this stage can lead to failure of the veneer, so we allow plenty of time to get the process correct.

7. Finishing off

Finally, we’ll polish away any excess adhesive and make sure everything is smooth and easily looked after. You can now smile with confidence showing off your lovely new teeth!

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