What you should know about dental veneers.
What Are Veneers?
Generally cosmetic in nature, dental veneers are custom-made, very thin coverings that are placed on the front of your teeth in an effort to improve appearance. They are often used to cover teeth that are:
- Misshaped or misaligned
- Worn down
Veneers are typically made using composite (similar to white fillings) or porcelain. Though more expensive, porcelain veneers tend to be more durable and natural looking.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers?
Like anything else in life, there are both pros and cons to getting dental veneers:
- Restoring or improving appearance of teeth
- Very natural looking restoration
- They come in a variety of colors
- Resistant to stains
- Do not require specialized maintenance
- Not reversible
- Removal of healthy enamel in order to place the veneer
- Entire tooth is not covered, so is susceptible to decay and sensitivity
- Though the veneer may not change color, natural teeth may become stained and require whitening to match the veneer
- Veneers may need to be replaced every 10-20 years, or earlier if there is a chip or crack (veneers usually can't be repaired)
- Prohibitive cost - composite veneers can cost from $400-$2,500 per tooth; porcelain veneers generally cost between $900-$2,500 per tooth
Who Should Avoid Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers may not be a good choice for everyone, including those who:
- Have unhealthy teeth (tooth decay or gum disease)
- Have weakened teeth (tooth decay, large fillings, or fracture)
- Have limited amounts of natural enamel left on the tooth
- Grind or clench their teeth
- Are prone to chewing on pencils, ice, other hard objects, or otherwise put a lot of pressure on their teeth
- Are nail biters
The Dental Veneer Procedure
Before beginning any procedure, the very first step is a dental examination.
During this exam, the dentist will discuss possible treatment options to address any dental issues.
If after discussion, both parties agree that a dental veneer is the best option, an appointment can be scheduled to prepare the tooth/teeth for veneer(s).
Upon returning to the dental office, your dentist will prepare the tooth/teeth for the veneer.
This preparation includes reshaping of the tooth surface (removing some enamel from the front surface of the tooth), and then making an impression of the newly resurfaced tooth, which will be sent to the dental lab to make the veneer.
While the veneer is being made, the dentist will usually provide a temporary veneer to cover the exposed tooth surface.
It can take 2-4 weeks for the veneer(s) to be made and returned to the dental office.
Upon receiving the new veneer(s) from the lab, the dentist will place the new veneer on the tooth to check its fit and trim any excess material.
Once a good fit is confirmed, the tooth receiving the veneer will be cleaned, polished, and etched (roughened) to improve the bond of the tooth and veneer.
Permanent cement is then applied and the veneer is placed on the tooth.
The dentist will use a special light to set and harden the cement (similarly to getting composite/white fillings).
Lastly, the dentist will remove any excess cement and check the bite, making any needed adjustments.
Veneers and Insurance
Veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure and are not covered under insurance.
Check with your insurance company to verify your benefits before starting a veneer procedure.