Veneers are thin custom-made coverings that conceal the front and side surfaces of your tooth, like a mask or artificial fingernail.
If your teeth are stained, broken, or shaped in a way that is not pleasing to you, then you may want to consider veneers to restore your smile’s beauty.
Veneers are custom made from porcelain and fit precisely over your existing prepared teeth. Even though veneers are a thin covering, they are extremely strong and durable.
While they are not suitable for every patient, veneers are a cosmetic alternative for a variety of dental conditions of the front teeth including:
- diastemas-meaning spaces between the teeth
- broken or chipped teeth
- unsightly, stained or washed out fillings
- permanently stained or discolored teeth
- misshapen or crocked teeth
Placing veneers provides major change in teeth without the requirement of cutting them down severely.
A healthy “natural” look is achieved with little or no discomfort. However, depending on the situation, crowns or bonding may be suggested instead of veneers.
A thorough dental evaluation can help your dentist assess the general health and cosmetic appearance of your teeth to determine which option is best for you.
Remember it is important to have realistic expectations and to know that although cosmetic dentistry has come a long way, no restoration can replace your natural teeth. If you understand the limitations, you’ll be happier with the final results.
Applying veneers is a two step procedure.
First, your dentist may choose the colour that will best match your natural teeth. Then minimal preparation of the teeth is done. At least half the enamel is left intact to provide a surface to which the veneers is attached.
After preparation, an impression is taken which is sent to a dental laboratory to fabricate the porcelain veneers.
Between visits, temporary veneers will be applied to restore the shape of the teeth and to prevent senitivity to hot/cold. You should continue to care for your teeth as usual, brushing and flossing daily.
On your second visit (an hour or less), your dentist fits the custom made veneers onto the prepared teeth.
You should know:
- Cost – placing veneers is more costly than conventional bonding.
- Eventual replacement – the materials used in veneers may not last a lifetime.
- Sensitivity – you may experince sensitivity to hot and cold, which usually subsides within two weeks.
- Repairs – it is more difficult to repair your tooth if the laminatecracks or chips, so you should not bite on anything hard that may damage or bend your veneers, especially nail biting.
- Removed enamel – a slight amount of tooth structure is usually removed to allow the veneer to be placed on the tooth without making the tooth too large.
- Sometimes, if too much enamel is removed the procedure can be irreversible.
- Those who have bite problems or have a tendency to grind their teeth may not be good candidates for veneers.
The greatest about veneers are:
- Appearance – the most obvious advantage is esthetics. With veneers it is easier to obtain proportionate closure of spaces, cover broken teeth, and hide discoloration or stains.
- Painless application – applying veneers is a virtually painless procedure sometimes done with no anesthetic.
- More conservative – placing veneers provides major changes in teeth without the requirement of cutting teeth down severely, as for crowns.
- Economics – veneers chip less than bonded restorations and are less expensive than crowning which saves on dental bills over the long term.
The decision to enhance your smile with porcelain veneers is a very personal one, but even a subtle change can make an exceptional difference in the way you look and feel.