Dental veneers are very thin shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth and can help to change their color, shape, size, or length.
Dental veneers can be made two ways - from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers are custom made in a dental laboratory. They resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. The natural tooth usually requires a small amount of preparation for porcelain veneers to be fitted. Resin veneers are thinner and sometimes do not require removal of tooth surface before placement. We are happy to discuss the best choice of veneer material for you.
What types of problems do dental veneers fix?
- Teeth that are discolored - either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
- Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth) Veneers offer the following advantages:
- They provide a natural tooth appearance.
- Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
- Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
- Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth's color and shape; veneers generally don't require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.
What's the procedure for getting a porcelain dental veneer?
Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can simultaneously undergo the veneering process described below.
- Diagnosis and treatment planning. This first step involves your active participation. Explain to your dentist the result that you are trying to achieve. During this appointment, your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. He or she also may take X-rays and possibly make impressions of your mouth and teeth. We will also discuss whitening of your natural teeth at this appointment.
- Preparation. To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, which is an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the tooth surface. A model is taken and sent out to a dental laboratory, which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory. You may also need to visit the laboratory to confirm the shade, size and shape of the veneers that will be made for you. In some cases, temporary dental veneers can be placed.
- Bonding. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color. We will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit; the veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement to be used. We will ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer's placement.
What’s the difference with resin dental veneers?
Resin dental veneers are bonding directly to the teeth in the dental chair using resin composite materials. There is no, or minimal, tooth preparation, and no dental laboratory procedures are involved. There will be the same initial consultation with xrays, models and discussion about teeth whitening. The next appointment will then be the direct bonding of the resin veneers.
Resin veneers may be used as “temporary” initial procedure to check the size, shape and colour of porcelain veneers that you are thinking about. The resin veneers may be bonded to be sure that your bite is suitable for porcelain veneers prior to preparing the teeth for porcelain veneers.
Resin Veneers do not reflect light as nicely as porcelain veneers and do stain and discolour over time.
Complications of dental veneers
- The process is not reversible.
- Veneers are more costly than composite resin bonding.
- Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
- Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- Veneers may not exactly match the color of your other teeth. Also, the veneer's color cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
- Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth.
- Teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
- Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth (for example, those with decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface.
- Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers to crack or chip.
How long do dental veneers last?
Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced. We will also provide you with an occlusal splint at night to help protect your veneers and increase their life span.
Do dental veneers require special care?
Dental veneers do not require any special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing as you normally would.
Dental veneers are very thin shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance.
These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth and can help to change their color, shape, size, or length.
Dental veneers can be made two ways - from porcelain or from resin composite materials.
Important to know
Good dental hygiene is critical in keeping infection at bay. Non-smokers and patients with good oral hygiene habits put themselves in a much better position for a full and fast recovery. Smokers will typically be encouraged to stop smoking beforehand to improve the odds of successful surgery.