Veneers are an excellent cosmetic remedy for a variety of dental conditions that affect the appearance of the front teeth. Durable and color-stable, veneers are, in many cases, the perfect way to restore the natural function and beauty of your teeth, so you can smile with confidence!
What are veneers?
Veneers, usually fabricated from porcelain, are a thin, semi-translucent “shell,” custom made to fit precisely over an existing tooth. They are permanently cemented and are held in place by a resin that adheres to the back of the veneer to the front of the tooth.
The finished result is extremely strong and durable. Though dental veneers are not suitable for every patient, they are a cosmetic alternative for a variety of dental conditions affecting the front teeth, including:
- closing diastema (spaces between the teeth)
- restoring broken or chipped teeth
- covering unsightly, stained or washed out fillings
- whitening permanently stained or discolored teeth
- correcting uneven or crooked teeth
Advantages and benefits of veneers
When your smile is disfigured by decay, abrasion, chipping, breakage or imperfect development, the goal is to restore its natural beauty, so you can smile with confidence. At one time, resin fillings or crowns were the only available treatment for the above types of conditions. Today, a third alternative is available – one with proven results!
There are many benefits and advantages to having porcelain veneers applied to your front teeth. These may include any or all of the following considerations:
- Only a small amount of natural tooth structure (if any) is removed during the procedure.
- A healthy, natural look is achieved with little or no discomfort.
- Veneers are often less expensive than alternative procedures Veneers are strong, durable and color-stable
How are veneers different from fillings or crowns?
A composite resin filling is used when only a small amount of tooth structure needs replacing or repair. A full crown is indicated when a tooth has had root canal treatment or when the substantial amount of the entire tooth structure (enamel) has been lost. A porcelain veneer is indicated when a portion of the front surface of a tooth needs “face lift.”
What can you expect from your veneers?
Veneers can last for years, depending on how well you take care of them. Because veneers are stronger than simple bonding, they are also mere resistant to stains and chipping. However, it is important to maintain regular oral hygiene, to avoid bad habits such as biting nails or chewing ice and to visit the dentist regularly for routine cleaning and exams. These precautions will help ensure that your veneers will last a long time and keep looking as good as new.
Here's how veneers are done
- The dentist will remove part of the enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. A mold (or an impression) is then taken of your teeth. The impression is sent to a dental lab, where your veneers are custom-made.
- On the next visit, the dentist puts a mild chemical on your teeth to make them a little rough. This helps the veneers stick to your teeth better.
- The veneers are then attached to your teeth one by one, using composite resin cement.
Typically, this process is done in two appointments over the course of about a week, with one appointment at the beginning of the week and one appointment at the end of the week.
Composite veneers (bonding)
What is “bonding” and how is it different from porcelain veneers?
Bonding, also known as composite veneers, is a quick and painless way to repair chips in your teeth or address cosmetic improvement. Bonding uses a white plastic paste, called composite resin - a plastic that is semi-liquid at first, but that becomes hard and durable when cured with light.
This material can be tinted to match the color of natural teeth and can also be contoured and shaped to resemble the missing part of a chipped tooth. It can be painted over a stained tooth, and it can make a fractured tooth look whole and perfect. Composite resin can even build up the size of teeth so gaps between them are reduced or eliminated.
Here's how bonding is done
- The dentist puts a mild chemical on your tooth to make it a little rough. This step helps the composite resin stick better to the enamel of your tooth.
- The composite resin is mixed and tinted to match the color of your natural teeth.
- The dentist puts the composite resin on your tooth in layers.
- A very bright light is used to harden (or cure) each layer of resin as it is put on your tooth.
- After the last layer of composite resin is hardened (or cured), the dentist shapes and polishes the resin so the finished tooth looks natural and smooth.
- It's painless. There's usually only minor drilling involved, so there is no need for a local anesthetic.
- It doesn't take much time. Several teeth can usually be veneered in one visit.
- It costs a lot less than crowns or porcelain veneers. Before direct veneering, crowns were the only way to improve the look of chipped, widely-spaced or discolored teeth.
- It can be used on children, because bonded material can be removed and replaced as children's teeth grow.
- Bonding treatment doesn't last as long as crowns or veneers. It can last from five to 10 years, compared to 10 to 20 years for crowns.
- Some composite resins can be stained by tobacco, coffee, tea, berries, grape juice, and red wine.
- If the seal between your tooth and the bonding material isn't perfect, decay can occur under the composite resin.