Dental Veneers: The Complete Guide

Have you wondered if dental veneers might be right for you? After all, a good-looking smile is what we all want and veneers are a good option. But are they right for you? To know if you should be considering dental veneers as an option you must first know what they are, how they work and whether or not you’re a possible candidate for them.

Before you sit down in the dental chair to make this permanent change find out more about dental veneers and why they’ve become such a popular choice for a beautiful-looking smile.

 

Dental Veneers: What Are They?

The ADA’s website explains veneers themselves are shells that are custom-crafted; they are made of tooth-colored materials which cover the front of your teeth. A dental technician makes these, typically in a lab, after your dentist takes a model of your teeth.

They are different from bonding because a small bit of enamel is removed from your teeth, that is where the veneer shell is then placed. Veneers cannot be undone, as mentioned earlier they are permanent.

 

Two Types of Veneers:

There are two types of materials most commonly used for dental veneers: composite resin and porcelain. Both are or can be made by a dental technician in a lab and both are used to bond your veneers to your teeth. However, porcelain is extremely brittle until it is bonded to the veneer and your teeth, then it is strong and durable like the composite resin.

 

Are You A Good Candidate For Dental Veneers?

Since dental veneers are permanent it is important to know ahead of time if you are a good candidate. The Consumer Guide to Dentistry gives some of the following criteria for deciding whether or not dental veneers are a good fit for you:

  • Discolored, chipped, poorly-shaped, uneven or decayed teeth
  • Worn enamel
  • Wear and tear
  • Genetics and gaps between teeth

Let’s look at each of these in greater detail.

 

Discolored, chipped, poorly shaped, uneven or decayed teeth:

These types of teeth are all solid candidates for dental veneers. The veneer itself will cover up discolorations, small chips, and misshapen or decayed teeth. Uneven teeth are often due to grinding or general wear and tear, and will also be masked by dental veneers.

 

Worn Enamel:

As far as worn enamel goes, over time it becomes dull and even discolored. Sometimes this is from food like coffee, colas or tea, smoking or certain medications. In some cases, though, it is merely a product of genetics. Dental veneers will take care of all of these instances.

 

Wear and tear:

As we age our teeth generally become worn down. The more worn down they become the easier it is for them to chip, crack or become uneven in some other way. Veneers replace worn and torn enamel.

 

Genetics and gaps between teeth:

Certain people are born with abnormal spacing between their teeth that widens with age. And some people have less enamel than others which can also contribute to greater wear and tear, and general aging of teeth.
However, if your teeth function properly and they look okay your dentist may not recommend veneers. Remember veneers are permanent because the process removes part of your natural tooth and it cannot be undone; as a result, your dentist may offer other alternatives.

 

Deciding If Veneers Are Right For You

 

Once you’ve examined whether you fall into any, some or all of the categories listed above, you’ll need to decide if dental veneers are right for you. Just because they are an option doesn’t mean you should have the procedure done.

The first thing to do is to meet with your dentist for a preliminary consultation. He or she will talk to you about your overall oral health, why you are considering dental veneers, other potential treatment options and the variables of each potential treatment plan. He or she will explain the risks, the pros, the cons, the costs and what to expect from each option offered to you.

As mentioned before, dental veneers are irreversible so your dentist may offer other treatments that are less invasive but give the same results.

But if you and your dentist decide that veneers are the best way to go, the next thing you must do is go into the details of the dental veneer treatment process, including which veneer procedure you’ll have (composite resin or porcelain) and how to prepare for it before and after.

Part of this consultation will include the designing of your ideal smile. You and your dentist will talk about your smile preferences – the shape, length, width, color, etc. This is done so you can be sure your treatment is exactly what you want and that your dentist thoroughly understands what you are seeking from your dental veneers.

 

The Benefits of Veneers, The Drawbacks, And The Cost

The Benefits

We’ve already discussed some of the benefits of veneers: covering up discolored, decayed or worn down teeth. But are there other positives? Yes, your custom-made veneers will be resistant to coffee, tea, and cigarette smoke because of the materials they are made from. So you won’t have to worry about anything you eat or drink staining your teeth again. They will also whiten and reshape your smile to look exactly the way you want it to look.

 

The Drawbacks

As mentioned a few times now, veneers are not reversible, they are permanent. You can have new veneers made but your teeth will never be in their original condition once you’ve had the treatment done.

Another drawback is the time it will take the lab to make them, and the adjustment period before your teeth are back to normal. Porcelain veneers take up to a week to be made and up to six weeks to be added to your teeth, and once applied, your veneers will be sensitive to hot and cold for a few days.

 

The Cost

The next thing to consider is the price of your veneers, which Colgate.com says will vary depending on the type of veneers you have made and the number of teeth you will be getting veneers made for.

As you’ve learned veneers are typically made from one of two types of material: porcelain and resin. Porcelain is the more expensive material, and resin is not as costly.

Your dental insurance often will not cover veneers as they are a cosmetic procedure. But if your veneers aren’t covered by your dental insurance, most dentists have payment plans and options they can offer you. Many will work with you to fit it into your monthly budget. At Greenspoint Dental we offer flexible and affordable payment options so you can afford the beautiful smile you want.

In addition to whether you opt for porcelain or composite resin, the number of teeth you are getting veneers for will also impact the overall cost. Many people opt just to cover their front teeth but you and your dentist will discuss this in your initial consult.

 

What To Expect Before, During And After Veneers:

Now that you know the basics of dental veneers from what they are, to the pros and cons of having them, you should know what to expect from the actual process of having them implanted.

As mentioned earlier, this process often requires two dental visits. Typically those visits are spaced out over a period of six weeks. You should talk to your dental office about how long these appointments will be as they could take several hours and may involve exams and other preparation.

Colgate.com describes what to expect from the entire dental veneer process, step by step.

 

Step-by-Step Dental Veneers

We won’t go into too much detail. Instead, we will give you an overview of what to expect from each stage of the dental veneer implant process.

The dentist first gives you an anesthetic to make you comfortable. Then they will reshape your teeth so the veneers fit properly. If you are using composite resin veneers, they will be applied layer by layer as necessary. They then polish the veneers so your smile is perfect.

Porcelain veneers require an impression of your teeth, from which your dental veneers will be created. A lot of dentists work with an outside lab to have these made. Some even have CAD/CAM technology in their office so they can make veneers for you in one visit. This is often called “same day dentistry”. Your dentist will tell you which option they have available and will explain whether they will be using temporaries if your veneers have to be off-site.

Once your veneers are ready, either through a dental lab or CAD/CAM technology, your dentist will place them and adjust them so you have proper fitting teeth and the smile you requested.

 

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care of Your Dental Veneers

Once your veneers are in place it’s important to know how to care for them. You’ve invested valuable time and money into creating the perfect smile and you’ll want to keep it that way.

Overall, your care for your veneers will be similar to how you care for normal teeth. You should brush and floss regularly, while also visiting your dentist for your normal cleanings. Do not to bite or chew on hard objects that could crack or chip your veneers. Though veneers have been shown to last many years, if porcelain veneers are broken they have to be replaced entirely. You can avoid this by not chewing on things such as ice or hard candy. Oh, and no opening bottles with your teeth.

Your dentist will recommend a non-abrasive toothpaste to use as well. This will help keep your veneers intact and looking good for as long as possible.

Dental Veneers and You

By now you have a good idea of what all goes into dental veneers. If you think you might want veneers, be sure to visit your dentist and start the discussion. Only with proper dental guidance and input will you know for sure if dental veneers are right for you.