What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that adhere to the front of the teeth.
Gil Dental Clinic offers porcelain veneers at both of our locations, in San Pedro and Escazú.
What do porcelain veneers do?
Porcelain veneers are used to improve esthetics and smile:
- They are an excellent choice for teeth with severe pigmentation that cannot be treated by conventional whitening.
- They are used to make small alterations in the size or shape of the teeth (especially in crooked, short, or irregular teeth).
- They solve slight alignment problems of the teeth (inclination, separated teeth, etc.)
Veneers are also used to repair damaged teeth:
- Teeth with small fractures
- Veneers cover the surface of the tooth where the enamel has been lost through over-acidification.
How are porcelain veneers made?
Porcelain veneers are fully customized according to the appearance of the smile you desire. The Prosthodontist (dentist specializing in oral rehabilitation) designs the veneer according to the wishes and needs of the patient.
Generally, veneers are placed only on teeth in the “esthetic area”, the area that is seen when smiling. The central and upper sides are the most common.
- A slight filing down of the tooth is carried out.
- An impression is taken of the tooth that will receive the veneer.
- A temporary veneer is placed on the patient while the final one is prepared.
- The final porcelain veneer is cemented to the patient two days after preparation.
Importance of the Dental Laboratory:
- In the laboratory, each porcelain veneer is manufactured according to the specifications given by the Prosthodontist. Having our own laboratory helps us guarantee that only the best porcelain is used and that our products receive strict quality control before they are given a final finish.
- When testing the veneer on the person, if some minimum correction are required, they can be done immediately in the laboratory.
How long do porcelain veneers last?
The porcelain veneers last 15 years or longer.
Disclaimer: Patients who grind their teeth have to commit to the use of a night guard. Otherwise, they could fracture the porcelain veneers at any time.
Types of veneers
There are two types of porcelain veneers:
- Feldspathic veneers (the original type of porcelain):
- This type of porcelain was named after its fundamental elements: feldspar, quartz, and kaolin.
- Feldspar breaks down into glass, which gives this type of porcelain a translucency similar to the natural tooth.
- These veneers are manufactured in our laboratory by layering porcelain of different densities and colors. For this reason, a skilled technician is instrumental to obtaining a veneer as similar as possible to the patient´s teeth.
- Once constructed, the veneers are placed in a high-temperature oven. After cooling, we finish the anatomical details and put them back in the oven to be glazed.
- Injected porcelain veneers:
- This material is a high-quality ceramic made with lithium disilicate (a non-metal). We use E-max, which is processed in the laboratory.
- Using a model of the patient’s tooth, a wax design is created to make the injection of the ceramic veneer in the oven. Once the veneer is created, a laboratory technician works on the piece to provide its required finish and color.
An alternative to the porcelain veneer is the composite resin veneer (also known as resin laminate).
Resin veneers are made by hand, using resin to imitate the teeth in the most natural way possible. Because resin is such a dynamic substance, it can be molded into infinite shapes and shades, providing exceptional esthetics.
Composite veneers are used to correct small imperfections in teeth, such as holes, irregular spaces, splintered, stained teeth, tooth separations, among others.
Comparison between porcelain veneers and composite veneers
Advantages of porcelain
- Over time, porcelain does not change color, nor does it lose its shine. The composite can change with the consumption of foods with strong coloration (wine, coffee, tea, and others).
- Porcelain is a stronger material than composite, so it is less likely for porcelain to break.
- Porcelain veneers last longer (between 15 and 20 years) than composite veneers (between 8 and 12 years).
Advantages of composite
- Composite laminates are repairable and can be modified in a single visit to the Clinic if necessary. If a porcelain veneer breaks, a new one must be made in the Laboratory.
- Composite laminates are less expensive than porcelain veneers.
We emphasize that each case is different and should be assessed by a professional to determine which treatment is the most appropriate.