What are Laminates?

The Laminate, also called Laminate Veneer, is a layer of tooth coloured material, which is used to restore defects or discolouration of the tooth. The laminates are a type of veneers, which are used to improve the aesthetics of the patient’s smile. Laminate Veneer is a thin layer that will cover only the surface of the tooth. Laminate Veneer treatment is an alternative to the complete covering of the tooth to improve its smile.

Laminate Veneer Restoration is an aesthetic restoration procedure that will help in the following:

  • Mask the discolouration in the teeth,
  • Restore the malformed teeth,
  • Close the diastemas,
  • Correct the minor teeth alignments.

Need For Laminates

The dentist would recommend Laminates for the following reasons:

  • Extreme Discolouration of the Teeth:
    Discolouration can occur from the staining caused by medications like tetracycline or fluorosis, or devitalized teeth or aging.
  • Defects of the Tooth Enamel:
    The enamel in the teeth can develop small crack due to aging or trauma.
  • Diastema: The teeth can develop gaps.
  • Exposure of the Root
  • Crooked, Malposition and abnormal shape of teeth.
  • Tooth Fracture
  • Restore mandibular incisors
  • Crowding and involvement of Periodontal

Laminates Advantages

Some advantages of Laminates are:

  • They do not need too much of trimming of the teeth before the laminate is placed on the teeth.
  • They can appear remarkably similar to natural teeth due to its ability to handle light.
  • They have a better resistance to stains.

Laminates Procedure

The dentist usually would suggest a couple of visits to fix the laminates. The different stages of the procedure are:

  • Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

    The dentist will examine the patient’s teeth to confirm if laminates will be the right solution for the problems faced by the patient. The dentist might take X-Rays and make impressions of the mouth and teeth for further confirmation. The dentist will then tell the patient about the procedure and the limitations of this treatment.
  • Preparation

    The dentist will administer local anaesthesia to numb the area. The dentist will then chip off small bits of the tooth enamel to accommodate the laminate that is to be added here. Then an impression of the patient’s teeth is made and is then sent to the lab for manufacture of the laminate. The custom made laminate usually takes 2-4weeks to manufacture. In some cases, the dentist might fix temporary laminates.
  • Bonding

    When the dental lab has manufactured the laminate. The dentist will first place the laminate on the tooth to check for the fit and colour. The laminate is then trimmed to get a proper fit and the colour is also adjusted with the cement’s shade that is going to be used.

The tooth is then prepared to receive the laminate by cleaning, polishing and etching it. This will help in roughening the tooth and allow a strong bond to be made.

Special cement is then applied to the laminate and then fixed on the tooth. Once it is positioning properly, a light beam is applied to the laminate to activate the cement to harden and cure quickly.

The dentist will then remove the excess cement, check the patient’s bite and do any final adjustments, if required. The patient might have to visit the dentist a couple of times to check the laminate’s placement and the patient’s reaction to it.

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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