Dental veneers are thin layers of composite resin or porcelain shells applied over the surface of teeth. A veneer is designed to fit over the tooth so that it covers worn enamel or a chipped or cracked tooth.

Dental veneers help in creating a bright, white smile with well-aligned, attractive teeth. The material used for the veneers have a translucent tooth-like quality that results in a more natural look than that of other types of material used in the past.

Use and Benefits of Veneers

While bonding may be a more cost-effective and helpful procedure to restore minor chips and cracks in the teeth, more serious cases of chipping and cracking may benefit from dental veneers. Veneers are also more appropriate treatment for teeth that are dull, worn, discolored, uneven, and have wide spacing between them.

Compared to tooth whitening, veneers require more commitment to see through. Dental veneers involve the preparation of the teeth to be fitted and result in permanent changes to your teeth. If your natural teeth are functionally and esthetically adequate, whitening may be a more appropriate treatment. However, if your teeth are more seriously discolored and lackluster, you may be better off with dental veneers.

These cosmetic dental problems may benefit from the treatment of dental veneers:

  • Worn enamel: Enamel wear and discoloration may result from over-brushing, natural wear and tear, or an acidic diet. Enamel loss exposes the inner surface of the tooth that is yellow in color.
  • Wear and tear: The wearing down of teeth is indicated by the loss of the protective enamel, unevenness in teeth, or tiny chips and cracks, all of which may be results of aging.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may inherently have abnormal spacing between their teeth that becomes wider as they age.
  • Uneven teeth: Uneven teeth may be caused by tooth grinding or common wear and tear.

Veneers are not only used for cosmetic purposes, they also serve to protect the surface of a damaged tooth. After they are securely attached to your teeth, veneers are relatively strong and long lasting. At the same time, mistreatment of your dental veneers may result in damage or breakage. Your dentist may recommend that you avoid certain activities or dietary habits, such as eating carrots. If you tend to grind your teeth during sleep, your dentist may advise that you wear a protective appliance at night.

Veneer Materials

Porcelain and composite resin are the two most common materials used in the construction of dental veneers. Porcelain veneers have more extended longevity and are more expensive than composite resin veneers. Both types may be made in a dental laboratory by a technician, then bonded to your teeth with different types of resin cement. Composite resin veneers can also be instantly constructed by your dentist inside your mouth during a visit.

The Dental Veneer Procedure

Two dental visits over six weeks is the normal agenda for a dental veneer procedure. The visits may take several hours and are inclusive of assessment and tooth preparation. Throughout the procedure, your dentist may employ the use of sedation dentistry, audio/visual distractions, and even massages that facilitate relaxation and comfort. The examination stage of the veneer procedure is crucial in identifying any oral health problems to be treated before commencing the veneer process. During the initial process you may choose the shade of white that is most natural for your teeth from a shade guide. Your dentist may show you an image of the anticipated outcome of treatment and you can view pictures of other successful before-and-after cases. After assessment is completed and a treatment plan drawn up, treatment can then begin.

In most cases you will receive a local anesthetic that will reduce discomfort during the preparation of the tooth and the application of the veneer. The tooth is prepared by reshaping it slightly using a small cutting instrument in order to afford the best fit. Shaping the tooth results in enamel loss and may cause tooth sensitivity to temperature.

After preparation, a mold of your teeth will be created. This mold may either be sent to a dental laboratory where the veneers will be constructed, or your dentist may have an in-house dental lab and technicians to make the veneers. Your dentist may supply you with temporary veneers so you can have a better idea of what the results will look and feel like. Alternatively, dentists may use computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology to construct the veneer and place it on your teeth in the same visit.

If your veneers are sent to the lab to be constructed, a second dental visit is required, during which your dentist will replace your temporaries with your final veneers. They will be adjusted and fitted onto the teeth and evaluated for color.

After Placement

You may experience increased sensitivity if you have temporaries placed, and for a short period following placement of the final veneers. Typically though, the dental veneer procedure requires no recovery period. Your dentist will advise you on maintaining and extending the wear of your dental veneer. Veneers are not permanent and have to be replaced with time. How long they last depends on the skill of your dentist and how well you maintain them.

Cost of Veneers

The cost of dental veneers depends on the fees that the cosmetic dentist charges, as well as the skills of the ceramist constructing the veneers. The material used for the veneers and the number of teeth requiring veneers is also taken into account. As with other types of dental procedures, the cost also varies according to the location where the procedure is performed and your dental insurance.

Traditional porcelain veneers may range in cost from $900 to $2,500 per tooth and can last 10 to 15 years. Composite veneers cost in the range of $250 to $1500 per tooth and are likely to last five to seven years. Although dental veneers are expensive, people find that the results are satisfying and worth the investment. Check out the payment plans or financing offers that your dentist may offer for cosmetic procedures.