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Porcelain veneers are a restorative option for front teeth where aesthetic improvement is desired. They can improve colour, shape and position of the front teeth. Veneers at Hometown Dental are made out of porcelain in the same way that crowns are, however the difference is they only bond to the front surface of the tooth and cover the biting edge (not the whole tooth like a crown). The teeth need to be prepared on the front and biting edge to make room for the veneer.

Once the teeth are prepared they can be scanned with a special digital camera and the information fed into a computer. On this computer we can design the veneers digitally and send the design to a machine in the office that will mill the veneers out blocks of porcelain. We can then custom shade these veneers with staining and glazing before they are cooked in a furnace to fully crystallize and harden them.

The other option is taking a impression or mould of the teeth with a putty-like material. This impression is then sent to a dental laboratory and they will fabricate the veneers and return them to the dentist in 1-2 weeks for insertion. In some cases, we will have the patient go to the lab for a custom shade/colour visit to make the veneers look as natural as possible.

In either case, if the veneers cannot be completed in the same visit, temporary veneers will be placed on the teeth. Once the veneers are ready, they are tried in the mouth to ensure fit and aesthetics. Then the veneers are bonded to the tooth with a strong dental cement so that they do not come off. The teeth are then restored to ideal aesthetics and function.

Teeth with veneers can still get decay so it is still imperative to have good oral hygiene. We recommend that care is taken with veneers when tearing food to prevent chipping or fracturing of the veneer. If patient grinding or bruxism is an issue, a night guard should be fabricated to protect the restorations. Veneers last many years but they usually need to be replaced once or twice in a patient’s lifetime so patients need to be prepared for the commitment that comes with this treatment.

Written by Hometown Dental Okotoks

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