Laminates and Veneers

What are laminates and veneers?

There is a very little difference between these two words as far as dentistry is concerned and could be used interchangeably with some liberty. Laminates are the ones that are made directly inside the patient’s mouth whereas, veneers are made in the laboratory on a replica of the patient’s teeth acquired by making the impression of the teeth. Both are basically shells of tooth- coloured materials that are bonded to the front surfaces usually to make them look beautiful. They are the cure for teeth that are severely discolored, chipped, have small holes or pits, misshapen or crooked, or for the correction of unwanted or uneven spaces.

What is the difference between a laminate/veneer and a crown?

A crown covers the whole of the tooth whereas a laminate/veneer generally covers only the front surface of the tooth. Therefore it may be considered to be a more conservative treatment, as it tends to preserve a lot of healthy tooth structure that might have been sacrificed if a crown were to be fabricated.

How is lamination/ veneering done?

Lamination is done by tooth reduction of 0.5mm to 1.0mm and then adding tooth coloured restorative material directly in the patients mouth to correct the aesthetics of the tooth. Veneers are thin like contact lenses, and will usually only need tooth reduction of 0.5mm to 1.0mm. A mold is taken of the teeth, from which the veneers are modeled after. Temporary veneers will be placed and worn until your permanent veneers are ready.Your dentist places the veneers with water or glycerin on the teeth to verify their perfect fit and the shade or color. The color cannot be changed after the veneers are adhered to your teeth. The tooth is then cleansed with chemicals to achieve a durable bond. Once the glue is between the veneer and your tooth, a light beam is used to harden the glue/cement.

Do they look natural?

It may be extremely difficult for a lay person to make out anything artificial having been done on your teeth if the laminates are properly made. Only a trained eye like a dentist’s may be able to make out any treatment. That too sometimes, is difficult.

What are laminates made from?

There are various materials from which laminates or veneers can be fabricated as is the case with metal-free crowns. Some of them are:

  • Ceramics
  • Zirconia
  • Composite Resin