By Dr. Kenneth Polke

Have your teeth become discolored? Are they worn down, chipped or broken? One of the best ways to restore the beauty of your smile is to conceal damaged teeth with porcelain veneers.

Veneers are extremely thin pieces of ceramic (porcelain) that are bonded to your teeth to cover imperfections. They can also be used to enhance the appearance of teeth that are misaligned or uneven. Veneers can even cover the gaps between teeth and make dark teeth look whiter. Other advantages of porcelain veneers include their strength, durability and stain resistance.

The porcelain veneer procedure is virtually pain-free. Consequently very little, if any, anesthesia will be needed. Veneers are often a desirable alternative to crowns – a more aggressive treatment for correcting problem teeth. It’s the easiest way to improve a tooth’s size, shape and color.

It can take up to three visits to get through the entire porcelain veneer procedure. During your first visit, your teeth will be examined. X-rays may be taken, along with impressions. Measurements are taken and then the information is recorded about the size, shape and color of your teeth. This is to make sure the veneers blend naturally with your existing teeth.

Before the veneer can be bonded to your tooth, about ½ millimeter of enamel will need to be removed. This is the preparation stage of the process. A mold of your teeth will be made and sent to a dental laboratory. Over the next week or two, the lab will construct the veneers.

Once the veneers have been created, they will need to be fitted, which is the last part of the procedure. The fitting is done by putting the veneers on each tooth temporarily, and then trimming them as needed. This is also the time when the dentist checks the color of the veneers. The color can be adjusted with the bonding agent that will be used to attach the veneers to your teeth.

Your teeth will also need to be cleaned, polished and etched before the veneers are permanently affixed. After the etching, a special type of dental cement will be placed on the veneer. Once the cement has been applied, the veneers will be positioned correctly on each tooth. Many times a light beam is used to enhance and strengthen the bonding.
The last step is to remove any excess cement. Your bit will be checked and any final adjustments will be made.

You may go through a slight adjustment period after the veneers have been applied, but you’ll be able to eat and drink normally.

There is usually a follow-up visit about two weeks after the procedure in order to re-check the placement of the veneers and make sure your gums are responding well to their presence.

Porcelain veneers can last up to 10 years. They can be cleaned like regular teeth with brushing and flossing. You can even rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.

They’re a great way to improve your appearance, and enhance your confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Kenneth J. Polke, (Westminster porcelain veneers, general dentist Westminster CO, Thornton dentist, Denver sedation dentist) ) is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton, and went on to study dentistry at Case Western University Dental School. Kenneth Polke is also an NFL Alumni, having played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and as quarterback for the Cleveland Browns! While he still has a passion for football, he chooses to serve the needs of his patients as a dentist, opening American Dental Excellence ( in Westminster, CO, in 1981. Dr. Polke offers the latest in dental services ( Dr. Kenneth Polke and American Dental Excellence can be reached at 303-920-4900.