Made from wafer-thin, custom-made shells, dental veneers are usually tooth-colored and designed to cover the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. They are bonded to the front so you can see a change in the color, shape, size, and/or length of your teeth.
They can be made from porcelain or resin composite materials. While porcelain ones will resist stains and mimic reflections of light, the resins are much thinner and don’t need as much of the tooth’s surface to be removed for bonding the veneer in place. The best choice for you should be discussed with your dentist.
Veneers Can Fix Several Problems
You’ll find veneers are the perfect solution for the following:
- Discolored teeth from root canals, medications, overuse of fluoride, or even resin fillings that are largely present.
- Worn down teeth.
- Chipped or broken teeth.
- Misaligned, uneven, or irregular teeth.
- Gaps between teeth.
You’ll find that there are three visits you need to make to your dentist for veneers: the first for consultation and the second two for the making and application of your veneers. You can choose to have one tooth or many teeth done at the same time during this process.
- Diagnosis and Treatment Planning – You’ll need to actively participate in this step. You need to explain to your dentist what you want to achieve for your teeth. As you do this, your dentist will perform an examination to ensure veneers are the right option and will further discuss the procedure involved as well as any limitations. X-rays and impressions are also possible for your teeth and mouth.
- Preparation –Your tooth/teeth need to be prepared prior to placing a veneer, so your dentist will sand away approximately half a millimeter of enamel from the surface of your tooth, which equals the thickness of the veneer that will be used. Before beginning this trimming process, you should discuss whether or not you need some numbing treatment. Then, your dentist will take an impression of your tooth, which is sent to the lab that will produce your veneer(s). It can take up to two weeks to get your veneers back from the lab. If your teeth should need them, there are temporary veneers available at an extra cost to you.
- Bonding – Like a crown, your dentist will want to ensure the look and fit of your veneer before he/she permanently puts it in place. To provide you with the best fit, he/she will remove and trim your veneer multiple times; he/she can also adjust the color of your veneer with the addition of the cement being used. Your tooth/teeth will then be cleaned, polished, and etched so the veneer can be attached. Etching is necessary so the veneer will have a better, stronger process for bonding. Your dentist will use a special cement to apply your veneer to its permanent home. Once it’s in place, your dentist will use a special beam of light that will cause the cement to harden very quickly due to activation of the cement’s chemicals. Before you leave, your dentist will want to remove any excess cement from your teeth, check your bite, and adjust your veneer one final time if necessary. You may need to schedule a follow-up visit so your dentist can evaluate your gums response to the veneer and check the veneer’s placement.
Advantages of veneers include:
- Natural appearance of teeth.
- Your gum tissue and porcelain will tolerate each other well.
- Stain resistance for porcelain veneers.
- Your teeth can appear whiter through color choices for porcelain veneers.
- Great alternative to crowns because they don’t take as much shaping as crowns to create an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
- You can’t reverse the process.
- Higher costs than composite resin bonding treatments.
- Harder to repair if they chip or crack, sometimes impossible to repair.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks is more likely since you’ve removed some of your enamel.
- The color isn’t alterable once you put them in place, so you’ll want to whiten your teeth before having these put in place.
- They can dislodge or fall off in certain circumstances though instances are rare, but best to take precautions and minimize the chances.
- Veneers don’t prevent decay of the tooth, which can lead to eventual need for a crown.
- Veneers aren’t for everyone, especially those with unhealthy teeth, weakened teeth, or don’t have enough enamel on their tooth’s surface.
- Grinding and clenching of teeth make individual’s poor candidates as these can cause chipping or cracking of veneers.
Lifetime of Veneers
They can last between five and ten years, though you’ll want to replace them after this time.
Special Care for Veneers
There isn’t any other than following good basic hygiene routines from brushing to flossing as you would on your regular teeth.
You may also want to avoid stain-causing foods and drinks even if you have porcelain veneers.
The two alternatives are bondings and crowns though veneers are the best for middle-of-the-road options. Changing the shape of your teeth can be done by any of these three, but you’ll find that veneers are made for higher shaping than bonding and less shaping than crowns.
Cost of Veneers
Depending on where you live and your procedure, you’ll find that costs vary, though they are usually within the $500 to $1300 range per tooth. If you have insurance, you may find it won’t cover your veneers, but you should double check with your insurance provider.