- Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve appearance.
- They can be made from porcelain or resin composite materials.
- Veneers are used to fix various dental issues including discolored, worn down, chipped, broken, uneven, irregularly shaped, or gapped teeth.
- The procedure usually requires 2-3 visits to the dentist.
- Porcelain veneers are more stain-resistant and natural-looking compared to resin veneers, but are also more expensive.
- With proper care, dental veneers can last between 7 and 15 years.
- Dental veneers are an irreversible procedure as a small amount of enamel is removed from your tooth.
What are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers, sometimes referred to as porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are a popular cosmetic dentistry option that can enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile. They are wafer-thin and custom-made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, much like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Veneers are used to change the color, shape, size, or length of the teeth. They are made from materials that closely resemble natural teeth and are attached to the tooth surface using a special adhesive.
Types of Dental Veneers
Porcelain veneers, often referred to as traditional veneers, are made from a durable ceramic material that mimics the natural teeth’s ability to reflect light. They are custom-made to the contour of your teeth and are known for their ability to resist staining and create a very natural appearance.
- Strong and long-lasting
- Natural tooth appearance
- Less tooth enamel needs to be removed compared to crowns
- Irreversible process
- More expensive than composite resin veneers
- Not repairable if they chip or crack
- The process is usually done in multiple appointments
Composite Resin Veneers
Composite resin veneers are made from a tooth-colored filling material bonded to the tooth. They require less enamel removal than porcelain veneers and are also less expensive.
- Less tooth enamel needs to be removed compared to porcelain veneers
- More affordable
- Usually completed in a single appointment
- Easily repairable
- Not as strong as porcelain veneers
- Not as natural-looking as porcelain veneers
- Don’t last as long
- Less resistant to staining
This is a newer category that includes options like Lumineers and Vivaneeres. These veneers are ultra-thin and require little to no removal of tooth enamel.
- Minimal to no tooth preparation
- Reversible procedure
- Completed in fewer appointments
- No need for temporary veneers
- May not be appropriate for patients with alignment issues or large fillings
- Not as customizable
- May not look as natural as traditional porcelain veneers
Palatal veneers are usually made from gold, but can also be made from composite or porcelain, and are used for treating tooth wear. They are applied to the inside of the upper teeth.
These are an alternative option, often marketed as snap-on smile or clip-on veneers. They are custom-made from dental resin and can be temporarily worn over the teeth.
Deciding on the Type of Veneer: when deciding on the type of veneer, it’s important to consider various factors including the cost, how long you want them to last, and what appearance you’re hoping to achieve.
Which Type of Veneer is Best?
The two main types of dental veneers are porcelain and composite resin:
- Porcelain Veneers: These are made from a high-quality ceramic material that mimics the natural appearance of tooth enamel. Porcelain veneers are known for their durability and resistance to staining. They require less removal of the tooth surface compared to crowns and maintain their color for a long time.
- Composite Resin Veneers: These are made of a tooth-colored filling material. Composite veneers can be built up directly in the mouth or made by a dental technician and later bonded to the teeth. They require less tooth reduction compared to porcelain veneers and are also less expensive.
The choice between porcelain and composite veneers depends on various factors, including budget, the desired aesthetic result, the condition of the teeth, and the recommendation of the dentist.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
- Aesthetic Improvement: Veneers can significantly improve the appearance of your teeth, making them look straighter, whiter, and more uniformly shaped.
- Stain Resistance: Especially porcelain veneers, are resistant to staining from foods and drinks.
- Less Invasive: Veneers are less invasive than crowns since they require less removal of the tooth structure.
- Durability: With proper care, veneers can last for many years.
- Customization: Veneers can be tailored to match the color and shape of your natural teeth.
What Are the Disadvantages of Veneers?
- Cost: Veneers can be expensive, especially porcelain ones.
- Irreversible: Tooth preparation for veneers is irreversible.
- Potential Sensitivity: Some people experience increased sensitivity after getting veneers.
- Not Repairable: If veneers chip or crack, they usually cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
- Not Suitable for Everyone: Not everyone is a candidate for veneers, especially those with poor oral health or severe grinding habits.
Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
The diagnosis and treatment planning stage is crucial to ensure a successful veneer treatment. During this stage, the dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth to determine if you’re a good candidate for veneers.
This often involves taking X-rays or making impressions of your mouth and teeth. You and your dentist will also discuss the process and decide on the type of veneers that will best meet your needs.
The dentist will also discuss the limitations of the procedure. For example, if you have severe tooth decay, gum disease, or if you clench or grind your teeth, you may not be a good candidate for veneers. Furthermore, veneers are a permanent treatment as a certain amount of enamel needs to be removed from your teeth to accommodate the veneers. Once removed, the enamel cannot grow back.
How Are Veneers Put On Teeth?
The process of applying veneers generally requires several visits to the dentist.
- Consultation: The process begins with a consultation where the dentist will assess your suitability for veneers and discuss your options.
- Tooth Preparation: For porcelain veneers, a small amount of enamel is removed from the front of the teeth to make room for the veneers. Composite veneers typically require less tooth preparation.
- Impressions and Shade Matching: The dentist takes impressions of your teeth to create custom veneers and selects a shade that closely matches your natural teeth.
- Placement: For porcelain veneers, once they are fabricated, the dentist will temporarily place them on your teeth to check for fit and color. Any adjustments are made, and then the veneers are bonded to your teeth. For composite resin veneers, the dentist may directly apply the material to your teeth, sculpting it into shape, and then hardening and polishing it.
Dental Veneer Procedure
A dental veneer procedure is typically performed over several visits to the dentist, and it generally involves the following steps:
- Initial Consultation: During the initial visit, you will discuss your goals with your dentist, who will then evaluate whether veneers are suitable for you. This often involves a dental examination to evaluate your oral health and determine the type of veneers that would best suit your needs.
- Tooth Preparation: Once it’s decided that veneers are right for you, the dentist will prepare your teeth. This usually involves removing a small amount of enamel from the tooth surface to make room for the veneer. This is typically about half a millimeter and is usually done under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort.
- Impression Making: After the teeth are prepared, the dentist will take an impression or mold of your teeth. This mold will be used to create the veneers that fit your teeth perfectly.
- Veneer Fabrication: The impressions are then sent to a dental laboratory, where the veneers are custom-made to fit your teeth. This process typically takes a few weeks.
- Veneer Bonding: Once the veneers are ready, the dentist will first place them on your teeth to check their fit and appearance. Adjustments can be made as necessary. The teeth will then be cleaned, polished, and etched to provide a strong bonding surface. The veneers are then cemented onto the teeth, and a special light beam is applied to harden the cement quickly.
- Final Adjustments and Checkup: After the veneers are bonded to the teeth, the dentist may make final adjustments to ensure a comfortable fit. A follow-up visit may be scheduled to ensure the gums are responding well to the new veneers.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
The cost of dental veneers varies depending on factors such as the material, the complexity of the procedure, the expertise of the dentist, and geographic location. As of 2023, on average, porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite resin veneers. Porcelain veneers can range from $1,000 to $2,500 per tooth, while composite resin veneers typically cost between $300 and $1,700 per tooth. It’s important to note that dental veneers are generally considered a cosmetic procedure, and insurance may not cover the cost.
How Can I Keep My Veneers in Good Condition?
Keeping your veneers in good condition involves maintaining excellent oral hygiene, avoiding using your teeth as tools, refraining from biting hard objects, and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. If you are a teeth grinder, it’s advisable to wear a nightguard to protect your veneers from damage.
How to Take Care of Your Veneers After They’re Placed
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Use a non-abrasive toothpaste to prevent scratching the veneers.
- Avoid Staining Foods and Beverages: If you have composite veneers, avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and other substances that can stain the veneers.
- Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools: Avoid using your teeth to open packages or bite your nails, as this can damage the veneers.
- Wear a Mouthguard if Necessary: If you grind your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard to protect your veneers from damage.
- Regular Dental Visits: See your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Dental veneers can be an excellent option for improving the appearance of your smile. It’s essential to consult with your dentist to determine the best type of veneer for your specific needs and to understand the costs and maintenance associated with this cosmetic procedure.
Dental Veneer Lifespan
Dental veneers, though durable, are not permanent and will eventually need to be replaced. The lifespan of veneers varies depending on several factors such as the material, oral hygiene practices, and personal habits. On average, porcelain veneers tend to last between 10 to 15 years, while composite resin veneers last around 5 to 7 years. With proper care, some porcelain veneers have been known to last up to 20 years.
Impact of Root Canals
A root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp from inside a tooth. This procedure can affect the strength and structure of the tooth. When a tooth has undergone a root canal, a dental veneer can still be used to improve its appearance. However, in many cases, a dental crown is recommended over a veneer for teeth that have had root canals, especially when the tooth is significantly weakened. This is because a crown provides more strength and support to the tooth compared to a veneer.
What is the Difference Between Veneers, Crowns, and Implants?
- Veneers only cover the front surface of the tooth. They are primarily used for cosmetic purposes, such as fixing chipped, stained, or misaligned teeth.
- Crowns cover the entire tooth, restoring its shape and improving its appearance and strength. Crowns are used for severely damaged or decayed teeth.
- Dental Implants are used to replace missing teeth. An implant involves inserting a metal post into the jawbone, and a crown is then attached to this post, replacing the natural tooth.
Do Dental Veneers Require Special Care?
Dental veneers don’t require special care beyond regular good oral hygiene practices.
Given that veneers are an investment and can be damaged, there are some tips for taking care of them:
- Use a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Floss daily to avoid gum disease around the veneered teeth
- Avoid using your teeth as tools or biting into very hard foods
- If you grind your teeth, consider using a night guard
- Avoid excessive consumption of staining beverages like coffee and tea
Are Veneers Permanent?
Veneers are not permanent. They have a finite lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. Furthermore, the process of getting veneers often involves removing a small amount of the tooth’s enamel, which is an irreversible process. Once you get veneers, you will always need some form of restoration on those teeth.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider?
You should see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings to ensure the longevity of your veneers.
Additionally, if you notice any of the following, schedule an appointment with your dentist:
- A veneer is loose or has fallen off
- You have pain or sensitivity in a tooth with a veneer
- You notice a chip or crack in a veneer
- Your gums are receding or inflamed around a veneer
Dental veneers can be an excellent option for improving the aesthetics of your smile. Understanding their lifespan, the impact of root canals, and how to care for them will help you make informed decisions regarding this dental procedure. Remember that while veneers have many advantages, they also have some disadvantages and are not suitable for everyone. Regular dental visits and proper oral hygiene are key to maintaining your veneers in the long term.
This article is complete and was published on June 18, 2023, and last updated on August 26, 2023.