Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth to either artificially straighten the teeth, or improve the color and shape of the teeth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect. The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. Our office does two types of veneers, conventional, which requires removal of some tooth structure or existing fillings and Lumineers, which do not.
At the first appointment for conventional veneers, the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very esthetic. This technique is usually reserved for teeth that already have fillings on them, minimizing the removal of healthy tooth structure.
Lumineers, or no-prep veneers, are used on teeth that do not have fillings or broken edges, thus keeping as much healthy tooth structure in tact as we can. Sometimes a rounding of a corner needs to be done, but the removal to tooth is significantly less than that of a conventional veneer. This technique is often done for “quicky ortho” or tooth straightening when patients do not want to do either bracket orthodontics or Invisalign for the straightening.