Dr. Folden Lee, D.D.S. is your Clayton, NC porcelain veneer expert! If you’re wanting to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry or looking to repair a chipped tooth, then veneers are a good treatment option. Both composite and porcelain veneers are a good for correcting minor cosmetic issues with your smile. Composite veneers are typically done chair side with our dentists and do not involve any return visits. These can give a great new look to any smile, but are typically a quicker fix with less longevity as composite veneers tend to last only a few years.
With porcelain veneers, you’re receiving “state of the art” treatment and long lasting smile restoration. The lifespan of porcelain veneers can last 7-10 years or even longer with proper oral hygiene and care. The difference between composite and porcelain means an extra visit or two to the office, as a lab technician is responsible for the creation of the veneer. Initial visit(s) to our dental office consist of a consultation to make sure that veneers are the best course of action, and then possible imaging to make sure you are getting the look you want. The outer front of the tooth would then be prepped for impressions and the doctor would perform some shade matching. We then send the impressions off to the lab for fabrication. Your final visit to our office would then consist of fitting and securing the veneer in place.
Dental or porcelain veneers are generally reserved for the teeth in the front of the mouth (due to obvious aesthetic reasons). Because visible tooth services are receiving the makeover, this is where we start the process application. First a protective thread is placed around the gums in between the tooth and gums for protection. An extremely thin layer is usually removed from the enamel of the tooth so that when the veneers are fully in place, they will line up flush with the rest of your teeth. Once this step is complete, your dentist will take impressions immediately and place a provisional cap over the teeth for protection.
At this point shading (color) of the veneers can be picked out and agreed upon before impressions are sent to the lab for veneer fabrication. The fabrication process takes approximately 1-2 weeks to receive the permanent veneers. Once the dentist receives these back from the lab, you will be ready for your next visit and final application. The provisional caps are removed and your teeth are thoroughly cleaned before applying the glue and finally your permanent veneers.
The thin layer of enamel that is typically removed in preparation of veneers is typically referred to as minimal prep, as the tooth will need to be slightly adjusted for the veneer. Most applications will involve some sort of preparation, especially when there is a slight misalignment, chipping or cracking of the tooth. “No-prep” veneers can sometimes be used to fill slight gaps or spaces between teeth, but all treatments will be established on a case by case basis.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers
- Porcelain is a very hard & solid material resistant to cracking & breakage
- Color matching and shading is easily matched to surrounding teeth or lightened for aesthetics
- Can last about 10x longer than composite veneers
- More resistant to stains than composites
The procedure takes place over two office visits of about 2-3 hours each. The fabrication process takes about 1-2 weeks in between the first and second visit.
Absolutely! The material in veneers is crafted to recreate the color, texture and translucence of natural tooth enamel. Much care is also take to fit the veneer over the existing tooth so that they match and align perfectly with the rest of your teeth.
Composite can last for a couple of years but porcelain veneers generally tend to last between 7-10 years, however it is not uncommon to find patients with 15-20 year old veneers that still look great. When properly cared for with good oral hygiene, they can last a very long time.