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Veneers or commonly known as porcelain veneers are mainly used to improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth. They are also used to idealize teeth that are discolored, misaligned or chipped. Veneers utilize bonding techniques to secure a thin sheet of porcelain to the tooth. Veneers have a common property to enamel. Both enamel and veneers are translucent. This means that when light hits the surface it will penetrate rather than immediately reflect off the surface. Because veneers have this same characteristic as enamel, it provides a sense of depth and a very life-like appearance.

Steps in placing a veneer are outlined above for a case where a gap between teeth are closed. However, veneers can be used to improve the appearance of chipped or discolored teeth. First your dentist will determine the need for a veneer. After diagnosis and determination is set, your dentist will remove a thin layer of enamel for retention of the veneer. This thin layer of enamel removal mimics the thickness of the veneer. If discoloration is present, your dentist may elect to remove the discolored portion of the tooth and any caries or cavity underneath. If solid tooth structure is present, then only the thin layer of enamel removed is needed for retention. An impression or dental mold is taken and sent to a dental laboratory with instructions for alignment and tooth shade. A temporary is placed in the meantime. Upon return for placement, the tooth is etched with an acidic solution in order for bonding of the veneer. This etching technique assures adequate bonding of the veneer to the tooth. A cement is used to adhere the veneer to the tooth and the excess removed.

Dental veneers are considered an art science. When done correctly they can improve a persons smile tremendously. However, there are certain situations where veneers are not advised such as active gum disease or insufficient tooth structure. Your dentist will inform you if you are a good candidate for dental veneers. Proper home care and diet is essential for the longevity of the veneer.