Of all cosmetic dental procedures, veneers are a relatively quick way to significantly improve the look of chipped or misshapen teeth.
Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored pieces of porcelain or composite resin, which get permanently bonded to the tooth’s exterior. The result looks completely natural, evening out your smile and correcting minor cosmetic issues in the process.
When Veneers Are Ideal
Veneers assist with improving the outward appearance of your teeth or concealing small gaps between them. Your dentist may recommend veneers if you’re looking to improve or correct the following issues:
- Discolored teeth that haven’t responded to whitening treatments
- Chipped, broken or worn teeth
- Small teeth creating an uneven smile
- Misshapen or pointed teeth
- Uneven shaping or gaps
Although veneers can be applied to any tooth, they’re more commonly applied to the top set of teeth.
Types of Veneers
Veneers are strictly a cosmetic dental procedure. Unlike crowns, which go over the tooth’s entire form, or a bridge, which can replace a missing or damaged tooth, veneers will not improve the structure. Dentists use the following types of veneers.
Porcelain veneers are the most common. Called traditional veneers, the porcelain material requires the front of the tooth to be partially ground down. Due to this aspect, a dentist may use local anesthetic before putting in a set of porcelain veneers. As a small part of the tooth is being removed, the veneers will be permanent.
Before application, your dentist has a custom shell created to match the color and size of your tooth.
Between both options, porcelain veneers tend to offer:
- A more natural appearance
- Better coverage for discolored or misshapen teeth
- Greater durability and stain resistance
Composite resin is typically used for no-prep veneers. Your dentist may remove thin layers of enamel from the front of your teeth – a less-painful, minimally invasive option that rarely involves local anesthetic. As a result, these procedures can take just one visit.
Composite veneers are also made of a tooth-colored material. Considered less expensive than porcelain but also slightly less durable, composite veneers tend to be easier to replace if they break or chip.
Adding Dental Veneers
Considering a set of dental veneers? Potential candidates can come in for a preliminary appointment to discuss if this option is ideal and have X-rays taken.
Based on these results, your dentist may recommend a procedure to address gum disease, tooth decay or a root canal before discussing veneers or may suggest straightening your teeth with braces or Invisalign® to address any gaps.
If the X-rays show you’re a candidate for veneers:
- We’ll schedule an appointment to create a mold of your teeth to be sent to a lab to create the veneers. An impression will be taken and colors to match your teeth will be examined. Expect one to two weeks for your custom veneers to be created. At this stage, your dentist may also remove a thin layer of enamel and you may be sent home with a set of temporary veneers.
- Once the veneers have arrived, you’ll schedule another appointment to have them placed in your mouth and bonded to your teeth. Your dentist will examine their shape, fit, color and may make some adjustments.
- Prior to adding the veneers, your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Your dentist grinds the enamel on the front of each tooth, so it has a rougher texture. This step creates enough room to place the veneers, so they appear natural.
- To apply the veneers, dental cement will be added to each tooth before placing the pieces of porcelain or composite resin. Next, the cement is hardened to securely bond the veneers to your teeth.
The process of attaching the veneers typically takes no more than two to three hours, although time depends on the number of teeth altered.
Following the procedure, you will be given care instructions, although many patients can eat and chew normally once the local anesthetic wears off. The area will feel a bit rough initially due to the cement applied, but this smooths out after a few days.
Who’s a Candidate for Veneers?
Veneers may be ideal if you have healthy teeth and gums and don’t grind your teeth or chew on hard objects. For individuals who clench or grind their teeth, veneers have a higher risk of breaking or detaching. To prevent this, you may be directed to wear a mouth guard at night.
With the right care, including brushing and flossing every day, your veneers can last for at least a decade!
Experiencing pain after receiving a set of dental veneers? We see emergencies same-day!