Veneers can improve your smile and keep it looking great for years to come. So, what are veneers? They consist of thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that are  cemented over the front of a patient’s teeth. Their purpose is to change the color or shape of teeth. They work well on teeth with uneven surfaces, teeth that are chipped, discolored, unevenly spaced or crooked.

There are two big advantages to veneers. The first is that little or no anesthesia is needed when they are applied. Secondly, veneers have a longer life expectancy and color stability than bonding. Because of the highly durable material they are made from veneers have excellent resistance to permanent staining from coffee, tea, and cigarette smoking.

Your dentist will provide the lab with a model of your teeth. A lab technician will then create the veneers working with the model provided by your dentist. One thing should be noted. In order for your teeth to accommodate the shell, a little bit of the enamel on your teeth has to be removed. That means the procedure is usually irreversible.

Porcelain veneers work very well when it comes to masking defects in your teeth. Teeth that have been stained by tetracycline, by an injury, or the result of a root-canal procedure are perfect candidates. Discolored fillings in front teeth can also be masked with veneers. Those patients who might have gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may want to try porcelain veneers.

As far as the procedure is concerned, you will likely have three appointments. They are: diagnoses and treatment planning, preparation, and bonding.

The tooth preparation visit, usually lasts one to two hours. At that time, the teeth are lightly buffed to make room for the small added thickness of the veneer. The dentist will generally remove about a millimeter of the tooth. That may or may not require a local anesthetic. Afterwards, a mold is taken of the teeth. That is sent to the laboratory for fabricating the veneers.

You will have a final "bonding" visit. That will last about one to two hours. During this visit, the veneers are placed on the tooth surface with water or glycerin. This is done to check the fit of the veneers and get a sense of the shade or color. As the veneers rest on your teeth, the dentist can adjust them, trying various shades of cement to match the color of your teeth. When it comes time to apply the veneers to a tooth, it is cleansed with specific chemicals. That helps the veneer to achieve a bond. After that, a special cement is placed between the veneer and the tooth. Following that, a visible light beam, or laser, hardens the cement.

As you adjust to the veneers, you might notice a change in the size or shape in your teeth. Be sure you brush and floss daily. You`ll return for a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks. Although porcelain veneers are reasonable facsimiles of your natural teeth, they are not perfect replacements. You might notice slight variations in the color of porcelain veneers. This even occurs in natural teeth.

For certain patients, there may be no preparation required for your teeth.