The Porcelain Veneer Process…

As the English naturalist John Ray once said, “Beauty is power; a smile is itsBirmingham Porcelain Veneer Dentist sword.” We like to think of the smile as the universal language. No matter where you are in the world, if you smile, it makes someone want to smile back at you. But, some people don’t like to smile simply because of the appearance of their teeth. That’s where we come in!

There is a spectrum of cosmetic dentistry ranging from changing the color to a complete smile makeover. The most common procedure in cosmetic dentistry is teeth whitening. If you are happy with the size, shape, and position of your teeth and are only concerned with the color, teeth whitening may be the treatment for you. If you are pleased with the color, size, and shape and are just uneasy about the position of the teeth, Invisalign or orthodontics may be your treatment of choice. If you are dissatisfied with the size, shape, position, and color, porcelain veneers may be your best option.  (Read more on Cosmetic Dentistry Options).

Porcelain veneers give the dentist and the ceramist the most control over the changes in the smile. The size, shape, position, and color of the teeth can all be manipulated to meet your expectations. But, how does all this work? Read on for a detailed overview of the porcelain veneer process…

I.  Treatment Plan and Smile Design

The first step is listening to your concerns and developing a plan. The most important part of our initial consultation is discussing what you don’t like about your smile. Then, we can discuss the corrections we can make. We take a series of photographs and then impressions of the teeth which will aid us in developing the perfect smile for you. We look at the symmetry of the teeth and gums. Are the gums aligned? Is there too much gum tissue that shows in the smile? Are the teeth too wide? Too short? Is crowding present, or are there spaces between the teeth? Is the smile narrow or broad? All of these areas (and many more) are evaluated when your treatment plan is being formulated.

But, we don’t just look at the teeth. A smile is only made beautiful if it coincides to the entire face and ultimately to the whole person. Is your face oval, long, round, heart-shaped, or square? This also determines what smile design is best for you.

The next step is to look at different smile designs to see what you like. This is done after we have determined which smiles would work best with your facial shape, your lip structure, and your jaw form. Do you like square teeth? Or more rounded? Pointed canines or more oval? All of this is done so that YOU get the exact result that YOU want.

II.  Wax TemplateHighway 280 Dentist

After we have compiled all of our records, formulated our treatment plan, and determined which smile design works best, it’s now time to relay this information to our ceramist to create a wax guide of our desired outcome. With the wax guide, you can actually see your new smile on the model before we actually begin the procedure. This guide will be used as the template for your temporary veneers.  (Check out our Virtual Smile Simulation to see what porcelain veneers can do for you!)

III. Preparation of the Teeth and Placement of Temporary VeneersCosmetic Dentist Birmingham, AL

With our porcelain veneers, we use a minimal preparation technique. Minimal preparation means that only the necessary tooth structure is removed, which will be replaced by porcelain. This is usually only about 0.3 – 0.5 mm and the goal is to stay within the enamel of the tooth. We use reduction guides to ensure that the removal of tooth structure is uniform and as minimal as possible. An impression is taken of the preparations from which our ceramist will fabricate your porcelain veneers. Temporary veneers are made from the wax guide and are then bonded to the teeth. You can now see what your new smile will look like!

We know that it is difficult for you to try to plan your smile based off of pictures and models, so we use the temporary veneers as a “trial smile” so that the porcelain veneers are exactly what you want. This is the great advantage that cosmetic dentistry has over plastic surgery – you get to actually see the result and make changes before the process is complete and permanent. We can make any changes necessary to the temporary veneers. We can make them longer, shorter, wider, more rounded — anything! So, you leave with the temporary veneers and we urge you to critique them and make a list of any changes you would like to see made. Then, we schedule you to come back to the office in a few days and make any needed adjustments. When you are happy, we take an impression and our ceramist will use this as a guide when making the porcelain veneers. This way, YOU get exactly what YOU want – no surprises!

IV.  Place Porcelain Veneers

All of the plans and preparations are finished, and all that is left is to place the porcelain veneers. You now have the smile of your dreams! And, it was made to fit YOU and it was exactly what YOU wanted!

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