Before embarking on veneers, the crucial first stage is the consultation and examination.
This is where you need to sit down with your dentist and discuss what you are trying to achieve. It is crucial that the dentist understands your expectations… What do you want? What result are you trying to achieve? What is it exactly that you don’t like about the shape, size, colour or position of your teeth? What is your budget?
Once they have examined you (X-rays
may be needed as part of this) they can talk you through the various treatment options that are suitable for your teeth.
Veneer preparation is irreversible so once you have veneers, you are always going to need them and as such, and the decision should be given some proper thought.
Ask the dentist to explain the advantages and disadvantages of porcelain veneers
compared to the alternatives, such as enamel shaping, tooth bonding, porcelain crowns
, teeth whitening, orthodontic treatment etc. for your set of teeth so you understand and appreciate the limitations, benefits and the different choices. This is what we call 'Informed Concent'.
Not all choices will be possible, available or appropriate and porcelain or composite veneers may not be able to correct the problem in question.
Assuming you are suitable, the dentist will need to look at the rest of your mouth first and identify any issues that need to be addressed or treatment that must be completed first before the veneers can be prepared.
This may include:
If you have poor hygiene, gingivitis
or gum disease
- your gums are likely to be swollen and bleed. This would make impression taking and bonding in veneers difficult- a poor impression means an badly fitting veneer and any contamination when sticking them in would drastically reduce the veneers lifespan.
Poor hygiene would also make it difficult to determine the best position for the margin of the veneers. You want the top of your veneers to just touch the gum or extend slightly underneath for the best aesthetics. To do this, we need you to have eliminated any swelling or inflammation by decent cleaning and flossing so we know where this should be. Improve your hygiene after instead of before the veneers and you have a problem... As your gums shrink down a little, the previously unseen margin of where the veneer meets the tooth can become visible.
Whilst the look of your teeth may be of primary importance to you, it is important that any active disease is first seen to. Here we are mainly talking about our arch enemies tooth decay
and gum disease. If you lose some of your back teeth because you failed to address these problems, your front teeth are going to end up taking more pressure and stress. This will increase the risk of wear, cracking or fracture of your veneers.
- Other cosmetic procedures
It is important if you want to whiten your teeth (either because they are dark or you wish to see if you can get away with fewer veneers), this is done prior to picking the shade for your veneers. It is possible to match the colour very accurately this way. Doing this the other way round by placing some veneers that are whiter than your natural teeth and then trying then to use teeth whitening for the others is unpredictable and a recipe for a disaster.
It is important to let the colour settle for a few days before going in to have the shade taken- so don’t whiten up until the day of your appointment. A week's break is ideal. If you are having any other porcelain work done such as an implant crown or bridge
you will want to complete this all at the same time. This way the laboratory can use a single mix of porcelain and ensure a perfect colour match of these with your veneers.