In dentistry, a veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth or to protect the tooth's surface from damage. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer: composite and dental porcelain.

Porcelain Veeners

Placement of dental veneers can dramatically improve your smile and appearance.You can whiten your teeth, close spaces, and create a great smile. We can even do virtually instant orthodontics to straighten crooked teeth.Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.Veneers are routinely used to fix:

  • Teeth that are discolored — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth.
  • Teeth that are worn down.
  • Teeth that are chipped or broken.
  • Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them).
  • Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth).

What’s the Procedure for Getting a Dental Veneer?

Getting a dental veneer usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can simultaneously undergo the veneering process described below.

  • Diagnosis and treatment planning. This first step involves active participation between you and your dentist. Explain to your dentist the result that you are trying to achieve. During this appointment your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. He or she also may take X-rays and possibly make impressions of your mouth and teeth.
  • Preparation. To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, which is an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the tooth surface. Before trimming off the enamel, you and your dentist will decide the need for a local anesthetic to numb the area. Next, your dentist will make a model or impression of your tooth. This model is sent out to a dental laboratory, which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory. For very unsightly teeth, temporary dental veneers can be placed for an additional cost.
  • Bonding. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your tooth to examine its fit and color. He or she will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit; the veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement to be used. Next, to prepare your tooth to receive the veneer, your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and etched — which roughens the tooth to allow for a strong bonding process. A special cement is applied to the veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth. Once properly position on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light beam to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement causing it to harden or cure very quickly. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Your dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer’s placement.

The Advantages of Dental Veneers

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance.
  • Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
  • The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
  • Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape — veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

The Disadvantages of Dental Veneers

  • The process is not reversible.
  • Veneers are more costly than composite resin bonding.
  • Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
  • Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
  • Veneers may not exactly match the color of your other teeth. Also, the veneer’s color cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
  • Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth.
  • Teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
  • Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth (for example, those with decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface.
  • Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers to crack or chip.

How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?

Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.

Do Dental Veneers Require Special Care?

Dental veneers do not require any special care. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices including brushing and flossing as you normally would.Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages (for example, coffee, tea, or red wine).

Are There Alternatives to Dental Veneers?

Yes, alternatives to veneers include bondings and crowns. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers may be best suited for individuals who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just a little bit — as is done with bonding — but not enough to require a crown.

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

Costs of veneers vary depending on what part of the country you live in and on the extent of your procedure. Generally, veneers range in cost from $500 to $1,300 per tooth. The cost of veneers is not generally covered by insurance. To be certain, check with your specific dental insurance company.

Composite Veeners

Dental composite veneers are fine aesthetic restorations that are placed over the teeth’s surface modifying the color, form and size.They can be made on one single tooth as well as for multiple teeth.A composite, or resin veneer is nothing more than a filling material that resembles the color of your teeth. This material can be further manipulated and molded to cover over a tooth, creating veneers.Composite veneers will aesthetically correct irregular teeth that are chipped, discolored, misshaped, crooked (mildly to moderately), misaligned, gaped or worn down.

The Advantages of Composite Veneers

  • No tooth reduction is needed. It is a very conservative treatment in relation to dental tissues.
  • Price average.
  • Can be applied within one dental visit, the "in chair" time is around 2 to 3 hours, depending on the amount of work required.
  • It can be repaired if damaged.

The Disadvantages of Composite Veneers

  • They generally will not look as natural or appealing as a porcelain veneer.
  • They do not last as long.
  • They will discolor quicker than their porcelain counterpart.
  • They tend to chip and crack.

When should Dental Composite Veneers be placed?

Dental composite veneers could be placed at any age.Either for a teenager, a young or an adult patient, indications of the doctor should be taken into account.Besides, as it is a reversible treatment, we can always go back to the initial situation.

How long do Dental Composite Veneers last?

Following a correct maintenance treatment we can count on an estimate average life of 2 to 5 years.The longevity of the composite veneer depends on the patients’ oral hygiene the amount of black tea, coffee, or red wine consumed, smoking, etc.Once this period is over, a regeneration treatment is recommended, that consists of removing the superficial composite layer replacing it by a new one. Therefore, it is not necessary to remove the whole dental veneer.

Porcelain versus Composite

The cosmetic end result achieved with a porcelain veneer will often appear more natural than a veneer made using dental bonding.

  • Porcelain has a glass-like translucency that closely mimics the light handling characteristics of tooth enamel. In comparison dental composite, the restorative used with cosmetic tooth bonding, is more opaque and therefore doesn’t mimic the luster of tooth enamel quite as readily.
  • Porcelain veneers will resist staining better than cosmetic bonding.
  • Porcelain veneers are strong but brittle.
  • Creating a porcelain veneer for a tooth requires more dental appointments than placing cosmetic tooth bonding.

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