Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom shells of tooth-colored materials designed to improve the beauty of your smile. Veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth in order to change their color, shape, size, and/or length.

Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.

What Types of Problems Can Veneers Fix?

Dr. Steedman may recommend porcelain veneers to correct:

  • Teeth that are discolored, whether because of root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, or excessive fluoride or other causes, such as the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
  • Teeth that are worn down
  • Teeth that are chipped or broken
  • Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
  • Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

Veneer Procedure in Lake Stevens

Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can simultaneously undergo the veneering process described below.

Diagnosis and treatment planning. This first step involves active participation between you and Dr. Steedman. During this visit, you will explain how you would like your new smile to look. He will examine your teeth to make sure veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. He may also take X-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth.

Preparation. To prepare a tooth for a veneer, Dr. Steedman will remove about 1/2 of a millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, which is an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the tooth surface. Before trimming off the enamel, Dr. Steedman may place local anesthetic for your comfort. Next, your dentist will make a model or impression of your tooth. This model is sent out to a dental laboratory, which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes one to two weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory.

Bonding. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, Dr. Steedman will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color. He will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit; the veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement to be used. Next, to prepare your tooth to receive the veneer, your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and etched. This will roughen the tooth and allow for a strong bonding process. Special cement is applied to the veneer, and the veneer is then placed on your tooth. Once properly position on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light beam to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Dr. Steedman may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.

For more information on veneers and cosmetic dentistry, we invite you to call or visit Smiles by Steedman in Lake Stevens today.