Porcelain veneers can help make worn, discolored, chipped, uneven, cracked, and unattractive teeth look beautiful. Unlike dental crowns, which cover the whole tooth, porcelain veneers cover very little of the back of the tooth. Veneering involves shaping the teeth, selecting a shade, and then making an impression. A dental lab makes the veneers and sends them back to the cosmetic dentist. There are three techniques to shaping and making the veneers.
The first technique is the original technique developed in the early 1980’s by the late Dr. Robert Nixon. It requires the removal of a .5mm from the front of the tooth and 1mm from the biting edge. This compensates for the thickness of the veneer so the resulting tooth will be the same thickness. The dental lab builds layers of differing colored porcelains to the desired shape and shade. A technique many dental laboratories use is known as “stacked porcelain.” It’s main advantages are that the veneers look more natural in color and shape. However, with this method more of the tooth structure needs to be removed than the no-prep technique and the veneers require a highly skilled ceramicist and dental laboratory, like daVinci™ Dental Studio..
The second technique, the “LVI” (Las Vegas Institute) technique, which requires the most removal of tooth structure; 1mm on the front and 1mm on the biting edge. This is a called a “Pressed Ceramic,” where the lab presses the porcelain onto the mold of the patient’s teeth and then stains it. This is an easier technique for the lab technician and the additional space created from grinding allows for a very natural shaped veneer. With the LVI technique, there is more tooth grinding than others approaches, and the color is not as natural as “stacked porcelain.”
The third technique, LUMINEERS by DenMat™, has been available for over 20 years. Minimal tooth structure is removed using this technique and the dental lab can press or stack the porcelain. The advantages of this technique are that it requires very little tooth preparation, grinding, and therefore it is reversible. It’s drawbacks are that it is more difficult to create a natural shape and color. Veneers can last a very long time and they do not stain or wear down.
Porcelain veneers have been in existence since the mid 1980’s. We, at Delmarva Dental Services, P.A., have been providing our patients with this service since 1987.