Dental veneers are extremely thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored material designed to cover the front surface of the tooth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth to improve the appearance of a smile. In some cases, only one veneer is needed, but many times people will choose to get between six and eight veneers to create a more even and symmetrical looking smile.
What are the Benefits of Dental Veneers?
- Fix discolored teeth.
- Improve the appearance of teeth that have been worn down, chipped, or broken.
- Create uniformity in teeth that are misaligned, uneven, irregularly shaped, or have gaps between them.
- Make small teeth look more proportionate to the face.
- Veneers offer a natural appearance.
- Gum tissue usually tolerates porcelain ideally.
- Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant.
- The color of veneers can be customized to look lighter or darker than your natural teeth.
- Veneers offer a more conservative approach to changing the appearance of teeth; getting veneers is not an extensive procedure and still offers a strong and aesthetically pleasing appearance.
What are Veneers Made of?
Veneers can be made from porcelain or resin composite materials. Porcelain resists stains better than resin composite veneers and reflects the light more like natural teeth. Talk with the dentist to determine what material will best fit your overall oral health needs and the appearance you desire.
What to Expect When Getting Veneers
A dental veneer procedure typically spans over three visits to the dentist — a consultation and two visits to create and apply the veneers. The typical process for requesting and getting veneers is:
- Consultation: Explain to the dentist the results you are trying to achieve. It is important to have open communication with the dental provider to ensure the best results. The dentist will then examine the current state of your teeth and overall oral health to determine if dental veneers are an appropriate solution for you. If it is determined veneers are the right solution, the dentist will then discuss what the procedure will involve and some of the limitations. X-rays or impressions of the mouth and teeth may be required during this visit.
- Preparation for veneers: To prepare a tooth for a veneer, the dentist will remove about a ½ millimeter of enamel from the tooth’s surface. The dentist will then make an impression of the tooth to send to a dental laboratory where the custom veneer will be created. It typically takes two to four weeks for the veneers to be constructed and the dentist to receive them. In the case of very unsightly teeth, temporary dental veneers can be placed while waiting for the permanent veneers.
- Bonding: Before permanently bonding a veneer to a tooth, the dentist will temporarily place it on the tooth to examine the fit and color. The veneer may need to be removed and trimmed multiple times in order to achieve a proper fit. If the color of the veneer needs to be adjusted, the dentist can change the shade of cement to be used. Once the veneer is trimmed and the proper fit is achieved the dentist will clean, polish and etch the tooth. This will ensure an ideal surface for the cement and veneer to attach to. After putting the veneer in the proper position, the dentist applies a special light beam that activates chemicals in the cement which allow it to cure very quickly. The final steps of applying a veneer will involve removing any excess cement, evaluating the bite and making any additional adjustments necessary. A follow-up visit may be requested by the dentist in the two weeks following a veneer procedure. The dentist may want to see how the gums are reacting to the newly placed veneers.
How to Take Care of your Veneers
Dental veneers do not need any type of special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices – daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, as well as eating a healthy diet, limiting foods and beverages that can cause staining, and abstaining from smoking and other tobacco products.
How Long do Veneers Last?
If properly cared for, dental veneers can last between seven and 15 years before needing to be replaced. For no-prep veneers, the average lifetime is five to seven years.
How Much do Veneers Cost?
According to Consumer Guide to Dentistry the average cost of a traditional veneer is $925 to $2,500 per tooth. For no-prep veneers, the average cost is $800 to $2,000 per tooth. However, no-prep veneers have half the life span of traditional veneers. Traditional veneers are often the most cost-effective option. Cost widely depends on the type and brand of veneers, the expertise of the dentist, and even the cost of living in the area you will be receiving this service.
If you have dental insurance coverage, the out-of-pocket expense will differ. Contact your preferred practice location for more information.
What are No-Prep Veneers?
No-prep veneers are bonded to the front of the tooth without having to grind, cut or file down any of the enamel or tooth structure. This type of veneer requires none to little prep, but do no last as long as a traditional veneer.
What are the Disadvantages of Veneers?
- The process cannot be reversed.
- Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack, they will have to be completely replaced.
- Because of the removal of enamel in order to apply a veneer, a tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- Veneers may not exactly match the color of the natural teeth and the color of the veneers may not be changed once permanently applied to the tooth. If you plan on whitening your teeth, this should be done before getting veneers.
- Though unlikely, it is possible for veneers to fall off. To minimize the chances of this happening, refrain from biting nails, chewing on pencils, ice or other hard objects, and overall avoid applying excessive pressure on your teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth at night, wear a nightguard to protect your teeth from teeth and veneers from the added wear and tear.