What Are Dental Veneers?

One of the quickest ways to a beautiful smile is by getting the right set of veneers. This sort of treatment is great for individuals with stain, chipped, or gaping teeth. This sort of treatment is irreversible and deciding to get them is a huge decision. Prior to making this decision with your dentist, we think you should have all the information on veneers, what they cost, and the best way to take care of them. 

Veneers, what are they?

Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored pieces of porcelain or resin-composite materials that are permanently bonded to the front surface of the tooth. The goal of veneers is to recreate the look of your natural teeth while also providing them with strength and resilience. Veneers are custom made to treat a number of different concerns including: discolored, broken, chipped, or smaller-than-average teeth. 

In some cases, individuals may only get a single veneer because of a chipped or broken tooth. Others may receive six to eight veneers in efforts to create a symmetrical smile. Most of the time, individuals get veneers applied to the top front eight teeth. 



Why are Veneers Used in Dentistry?

Veneers are used routinely to fix a multitude of things including: worn down teeth; broken or chipped teeth; if there are large resin fillings that discolored the tooth; or tooth discoloration caused by stains from tetracycline or other drugs; root canal therapy; using excessive fluoride; or other causes.

Veneers are also a great solution to correct small misalignment’s and to close gaps. This cosmetic solution helps enhance overall tooth brightness and to create a straighter smile.

7 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Veneers

Veneers can be pricey, but it’s also important to note that this sort of cosmetic dentistry is a permanent one. Once you undergo this process there is no undoing it. So here are a few things you should think about prior to getting veneers:

  1. Select a GREAT Dentist
    • This is a serious aesthetic dental procedure, so make sure you get to see the cosmetic dentist’s previous work. Looking at their before and afters will help you decide for yourself if you like their style and that they do a good job. Think of veneers like a tattoo or a boob job. You want to make sure you like what you are getting prior to getting it because getting them removed is not a fun experience.
  2. Imperfect = Perfect
    • Veneers are not about giving you a perfect smile, rather they’re used to enhance the character of the smile you already have. Different types of people have different types of teeth, for example Asians will have different teeth compared to Eastern Europeans. Different types of nationalities will have different anatomical tooth shapes and your dentist should recognize that. 
  3. You Do Not Have to Veneer All Your Teeth 
    • Depending on your budget and what you’re trying to accomplish, you may only need to veneer one or a few of your teeth to achieve the look you’re going for. 
  4. Try on the Temporary
    • Part of the process of getting veneers includes your dentist making a mold of your teeth and creating a set of temporary veneers out of liquid composite. You can try these temporary veneers and take a couple pictures to decide whether or not you want to move forward. These temporary veneers aren’t as shiny as the porcelain ones and they tend to be a little bulkier, but they are just temporary. 
  5. Consultation Fee
    • For most dental offices, you will have to pay for a veneer consultation. Make sure you talk with your dentist to determine the price.
  6. Trial Smile
    • Once your full or partial temporary veneers are fitted, you will wear them for seven to 10 days. After a week or so you can go back to your dentist and discuss any changes your thinking about making. Once an agreement is made, your dentist will take more molds to send to a ceramist for duplication. When your porcelain veneers are back from the lab, they are fitted to your teeth one more time just to make sure it’s a perfect match.
  7. Bonding Sensitivity
    • 50% of patients go through bonding sensitivity – the reaction between the bonding cement and your teeth. This extreme pain typically arrives after the anesthesia wears off and remains for about six hours. Once that passes, you can expect a dull pain to follow in waves. Just take Ibuprofen for the pain during that time. As days progress after the procedure, you can expect an adjustment period where you might feel little zings of pain or your bite may feel off. If that occurs you should see your dentist so they can make a few adjustments to your teeth with a file. This will help clear away the culprit for the pain which is typically microscopic pieces of cement stuck between your teeth. Dentist’s do not typically charge for a follow-up. 

What are the different types of veneer material?

Porcelain is the most common material used to make dental veneers and can last 10 to 15 years. Traditional dental veneer application involves extensive preparation compared to alternative methods which are called no-prep veneers.  Lumineers and Vivaneeres are under the no-prep veneer category; they are less invasive to apply and take less time. 

For the application and proper placement of traditional dental veneers – the procedure typically involves grinding down the original structure of the tooth first. During this process your dentist may remove some of your tooth, even past the enamel. This type of procedure is irreversible and often requires local anesthetic because it can be painful to go through.  

For the application of no-prep veneers – they may require some small alterations and tooth preparation but these are minimal compared to traditional veneers. No-prep veneers don’t typically require local anesthesia and only affect the enamel instead of removing layers of the tooth under it. 

Some people may think of veneers as implants or crowns, but they are not the same. Veneers are used to cover the entire front surface of your tooth. Implants are used to replace the entirety of the tooth. Crowns are used to encase the entire tooth, whereas veneers are only used to cover the front surface of the tooth that is visible when you smile. 

Depending on which part of the United States you live, veneers can cost you anywhere from $800 to $2,000 per tooth. Just like most cosmetic surgery, they will need to be maintained and replaced eventually. This should be a consideration prior to the procedure because it can be a major expense for most consumers. 

Prior to Getting Veneers

Prior to getting veneers, you should have a preliminary appointment to discuss with your dentist what options are right for you. Depending on if your teeth are uneven or crooked, your dentist may recommend having braces prior to veneers. You’ll also want to discuss how many veneers you’re thinking of having placed.

During this stage, it is normal for your dentist to take an X-ray of your teeth to evaluate their health. If you have any of the following conditions, you may not be a candidate for veneers: gum disease, tooth decay, or the need for root canals.

At the next appointment, your dentist will trim down about a half a millimeter of your tooth to get an accurate sizing for your veneers. They remove the enamel with a grinding tool before they take the impression of your teeth. Once the impression is made, your dentist will send the mold off to the laboratory for your veneers to be created. 


Veneer Placement Procedure

Expect to wait about one to two weeks for your veneers to be sent back from the laboratory. While you wait, most dentists will place a temporary veneer in the meantime.  Once the veneers arrive, your dentist can schedule to have them placed. Here’s typically how this appointment takes place:

  • Evaluation
    • Your dentist will evaluate the color, fit, and shape of your veneers to make sure they’re a good fit for you. 
  • Teeth cleaning
    • To prevent bacteria from forming under the veneer and potentially cause decay, your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth prior to placing them. 
  • Grinding
    • Your dentist will prep your teeth using a grinding tool to help create a rough textured surface for each veneer tooth application site. Grinding the tooth makes it easier for the veneer to adhere to it. 
  • Cement
    • Your dentist binds the tooth to the veneer using dental cement. 
  • Cure
    • Using an ultraviolet light, your dentist will quickly cure and harden the cement. 
  • New Smile
    • Once you leave the dentist office – you’ll be ready to sport your new smile!

This secondary appointment, the appointment which the veneers are placed, doesn’t typically last longer than two hours. If local anesthetic is used, you may need to add an additional 30 minutes for the numbing to take effect. Most dentists will want to check up on your comfort level and make sure you’re loving your new smile by scheduling a follow-up visit. 

Caring for Veneers

The recovery process for veneers does not take an extended amount of time, unlike some other dental procedures. You should be able eat and chew normally once the veneers are cements and the local anesthetic wears off. Be careful not to chew on your tongue or cheeks while you’re waiting for the anesthetic to wear off. 

You may notice a little roughness immediately after your dentist applies the veneers. Typically these rough spots are from extra cement used to adhere the veneer and will wear down after several days of teeth brushing and eating normally. If you notice these spots don’t smooth out over time, your dentist can easily fix it. 

According to the AACD, American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, they suggest brushing and flossing just as you would your regular teeth. You should brush properly at least once in the morning and once at night with a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Consider limiting stain-inducing foods like coffee and wine. If it can stain a shirt, it can stain your teeth.

You should keep in mind that while veneers are permanent, they will need to be replaced at some point. Typically, traditional porcelain veneers can last between 10 and 15 years and no-prep veneers can last about 5 to 7 years. Good oral hygiene can help them last as long as possible, but inevitably they will need to be replaced no matter how well you take care of them. Following these few tips can help make sure you get the longest lifespan out of your veneers as possible:

  • Never use your teeth as tools.
  • Do not chew on hard objects like ice, pens, or your fingernails. 
  • Don’t use your front teeth to chew. 
  • When eating hard food, try chewing it with your back teeth only. Also try cutting up harder foods when possible so it’s easier to consume.
  • If you have a tendency to clench your teeth or grind them at night when you’re sleeping, discuss with your dentist about getting a retainer or a splint to protect your veneers.
  • Always wear a mouthguard when playing sports. 

If you are considering veneers, talk with your dentist more so that you can understand the entire process and how much it is going to cost. Having a beautiful smile can feel great, increase your confidence, and help your overall well-being.

You can learn more about veneers by reading this article by the American Dental Association (ADA). 

If you are interested in learning more about Cosmetic Dentistry – please click here.

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