What situations are dental veneers used for?
Worn down and damaged teeth
With age and over time, the thin, tough outer surface that coats your teeth called enamel can wear and look, dulled, stained and discolored. This process can occur naturally with age or as a result of certain medications however it is more often due to habits such as teeth grinding, poor oral hygiene and the consumption of carbonated and sugary soft drinks such as coke. Tea, coffee and smoking can all contribute to the staining of your teeth.
Natural wear and Tear
Over time as you grow older your teeth will naturally wear down just like wear and tear on a car tire or shoes. As your teeth are used in everyday activities such as biting, eating and chewing, they also wear away and can become cracked and chipped.
Many people have genetically crooked teeth or have large gaps between their teeth (diastimas). A large gap between the two front teeth is a common problem that is solved with veneers.
Teeth can naturally be crooked or can become crooked over time with age or through loosing neighboring teeth and gum disease. Crooked teeth can be treated using orthodontic braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign, but treatment times can be up to two years before any results are seen. Veneers are often called “instant orthodontics” as they cover up the imperfections of slightly crooked teeth. Veneers are not recommended for teeth that are very crooked.
A common problem is that patients can chip or damage their teeth and trauma such as sports or just simply falling and banging your front tooth can cause a small part of the tooth to become chipped or broken. Composite resin can be used to build the tooth back up and this technique is sometimes referred to as bonding or composite veneers. This is a much quicker fix than porcelain veneers but it does not last as long and is much more prone to staining.
Protective role for veneers
As well as making your teeth “look good” veneers can also serve a functional purpose as they can provide a protective cover for damaged teeth in a similar manner to the way dental crowns can protect damaged teeth. The advantage of veneers over crowns is that is that because they are thin very little tooth structure needs to be removed or drilled away. Veneers can often help with tooth sensitivity where the enamel has worn away.
Porcelain Veneers Vs Composite Resin Bonding / Composite Veneers
Composite veneers are made from a special bonding material and require the artistic skill of the dentist to shape and mould the composite resin to the desired shape of your tooth. Once this has been done a special light is used to “cure” or “set” the resin. Composite bonding is a much quicker and less expensive alternative to porcelain veneers but they do not last as long and are more susceptible to staining with food and drinks and so may need replacing every couple of years.
Composite is an ideal solution for teeth with small chips and cracks in them or to fill a tiny gap but for more severe cases with large gaps or for a smile makeover porcelain veneers provide the ideal solution.
What’s the procedure for getting dental veneer?
Before having any treatment it is important that your dentist knows what you want from the treatment, to discuss if he or she can meet your expectations and whether they are realistic. At this stage you could discuss tooth shape and color as well as any anxieties and concerns you may have about the treatment. Some dentists offer a digital smile preview where you can preview how your smile might look before you go ahead with any treatment.
The dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth to first of all ensure that your teeth are clean, healthy and that your gums are free from any signs of periodontal disease. It is very important that your teeth and gums are healthy before undergoing any major dental treatment. Once your dentist has had a good look at your teeth he or she can begin to design your new smile ready for the preparation of your existing teeth to accommodate the veneers.
A local anesthetic will first be administered and some patients may wish to be sedated during the procedure if they are anxious. Dr Antonious offers free nitrous oxide laughing for all patients. Once you are fully numb your teeth or tooth will be prepared for the veneer – a small portion of your natural tooth structure is removed using a burr (a small handheld tooth shaping devise) equivalent to the thickness of the veneer that will sit on top of it. Once your teeth have been prepared an impression or mould of your teeth are taken using a special alginate or “dental putty”. This impression is then left to set and solidify and the mould of your mouth is sent off to a dental laboratory that will fabricate your new veneers to the dentist’s exact specification. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for your new teeth to be fabricated and during this time your dentist will fit some temporary veneers over your prepared teeth, which will also give you an opportunity to assess what the shape, fit and look of your new teeth will be like.
Approximately 2-3 weeks later, on your second visit your temporary veneers will be removed and your teeth thoroughly cleaned. Your new veneers will first be placed on your teeth and adjusted to give the perfect look before they are “glued” onto the front surface of your teeth. The veneers are attached to your teeth with a special strong dental cement, despite this veneers have been know to come loose and fall off. If this happens be sure to contact your dentist immediately and keep the veneer in a safe place.
How will I feel after my treatment?
After the anesthetic from the procedure has worn off you should feel fine and be able to go back to your everyday activities. You may have a little soreness around your gums and possibly some temporary sensitivity around your teeth which should disappear. Occasionally teeth sensitivity might last for a longer period of time, rarely sensitivity might last indefinitely. Should you experience any discomfort after the procedure you should discuss this with your dentist immediately. Since they are essentially new coverings for your own teeth it may take a while to adjust to your veneers. Immediately after the treatment it is best to avoid very hot and very cold drinks.
What are Lumineers Veneers?
There are just like standard laboratory made veneers except they are much thinner (0.2 mm) and made from a patented Cerinate porcelain. The boast to be as thin as a contact lens and so very little if any tooth reduction is needed compared to standard veneers. Lumineers thus have the advantage of preserving more of your own natural tooth structure. Your Lumineers dentist will usually be certified to place them and will have undertaken additional training to be able to offer this type of veneer. Since little or no tooth structure is removed the procedure can often be carried out without the need for anesthetic and is also reversible unlike traditional veneering techniques. Like in any other dental procedure, proper case selection is vital. Lumineers procedure is limited as to how much it can alter the shape, size and color of your existing teeth. In many cases traditional veneers is the way to go.
What are the advantages of dental veneers?
Veneers offer the following advantages:
- 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 to bonding.
What are the disadvantages of dental veneers?
The downside to dental veneers include:
- 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.
How long do veneers last?
Dental veneers are do not last a lifetime and will eventually need to be replaced however, they can last between five and ten years, depending on the quality of material used for the veneers and how well you look after them. Just like normal teeth veneers require regular cleaning flossing and checkups with the hygienist.
Are there alternatives to dental veneers?
Yes, 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 dental veneers cost?
The answer to this question depends on numerous factors such as the skill of the dentist offering them and their individual fee structure. The type of veneering technology used, the quality of material used and the skill of the laboratory technician if lab made veneers are offered are all factors that affect the cost of your treatment. Composite veneers are much cheaper than porcelain veneers but as discussed earlier they will not last as long and are prone to discoloration.
Generally veneers range in cost from $800.00 to $1800.00 per tooth, the cost of veneers is not generally covered by insurance. To be certain, check with your specific dental insurance.