In dentistry, a veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two types of material used in a veneer, composite and porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory, and later bonded to the tooth, typically using a resin cement such as Panavia. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.
The advantages of using a veneer to restore a tooth are many. Very good aesthetics can be obtained, with minimal tooth preparation (i.e. drilling). Normally a reduction of around 0.5 mm is required for a porcelain veneer on a labial tooth surface. Composite veneers are becoming more popular as they are easy to repair, whereas porcelain veneers have a tendency to fracture. It can be very difficult to match the shade of an individual veneer to the remaining teeth, hence the tendency to place several veneers.
Veneers and laminates are another conservative approach to enhancing the look of your teeth. They are a thin shell made of porcelain or composite resin that is cemented to the front surface of the tooth. Like bonding, veneers are used to cover up discoloration, cracks and chipping, and to change the shape or size of your teeth. However, porcelain veneers outperform bonding with greater resilience and a greater resistance to stains and dulling. Also, they tend to look more natural than a bonded tooth.
Veneers may be used cosmetically to resurface teeth such as to make them appear straighter and possess a more aesthetically pleasing alignment. This may be a quick way to improve the appearance of malposed teeth without need to use orthodontics. However, the amount of malposition of teeth may be such that veneers alone may not be enough to correct the aesthetic imbalance. Instead, orthodontics would need to be used, or orthodontics combined with veneers. The dentist who places veneers must be careful since veneers could increase the thickness of the front face of the teeth. If the teeth are too thick on the face they may appear to stand out and push out the lips. The effect may be enough to give the patient a full or chipmunk appearance when the lips are closed. Veneers must also be created such that the patient bites into them with minimal force. Otherwise, they may chip off. So, patients whose lower jaw protrudes out farther than their upper jaw, otherwise known as a class III bite, may not be good candidates for veneers because the teeth of the lower jaw may bite into the teeth of the upper jaw such as to dislodge the veneers.
Indications treatable by veneers include
stained/ defective restorations
gap between front teeth
wearing of teeth
gum recession exposing the roots
Erosion/ abrasion of teeth
in case of children teeth (with large pulp}
Comparison of veneer systems
Composite resin veneers
Composite resins ( same as used for tooth -colored fillings) can be used in a direct chairside technique to form a veneer. Advantages of these direct composite veneers are:
Only one appointment is required
cost to the patient is less
composite resin veneers are reparable
color and form can be controlled by the dentist
Porcelain veneers: These veneers promise" the highest esthetic potential to date for restoration of anterior tooth defects." Porcelain is the optimum material for its color stability, esthetics, wear resistance and tissue compatibility. But unlike composite resin veneers these are constructed in labs from dies made from patient's impression.
Frequently do not require anesthetic and are less stressful to the patient.
does not usually cause sensitivity
maintains natural contacts between teeth
eliminates display of metal at the gum margin
does not usually require temporization
But these veneers are expensive. These are extremely difficult to repair if fractured and the technique involved in placement of veneers is extremely delicate.
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