Veneers are a quick and easy way to get a beautiful smile and are the ideal treatment for people with teeth that are chipped, worn or stained. However, since the treatment is mainly regarded as permanent, having porcelain veneers placed is a decision not to be taken lightly. Before you speak to your dentist about your suitability for veneers, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about them, including their cost and how to care for them.
What are veneers for teeth?
Veneers are thin, customised shells of tooth-coloured materials used to cover the front of teeth to improve their appearance while also providing durability and resilience similar to tooth enamel. Each veneer is tailored to the tooth’s shape and bonded to its surface during an in-house procedure.
When are veneers used in dentistry?
Veneers can be used to correct a wide range of dental problems and cosmetic issues, including:
- Discoloured teeth that don’t respond to teeth whitening
- A large gap (diastema) between the upper front teeth or uneven spaces
- Teeth that are crooked or misshapen
- Chipped or worn teeth
- Minor misalignments
Veneers can be made from tooth-coloured composite resin or porcelain. We’ll discuss the differences between the two below.
So now we have provided the answer to “what are veneers for teeth?” let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures.
Composite veneers are made from the same tooth-coloured resin material dentists use for tooth fillings and bonded to the tooth’s front surface.
- Less, if any, tooth enamel has to be removed, unlike porcelain veneers.
- Composite veneers are cheaper than porcelain
- Fewer dental visits are required as composite veneers can be completed in a single visit in most cases
- Although composite veneers are less durable than porcelain, they are quick and easy to fix if they chip or break
- The appearance and quality of composite veneers rely on the dentist’s skill.
- Composite veneers stain more easily than porcelain but can be regularly cleaned and polished.
How are composite veneers placed?
The dentist etches the surface of the tooth enamel to aid adhesion. Then an adhesive glue is applied to help the resin material stick to the teeth. Thin layers of the composite resin are added to the tooth’s surface and carefully shaped and moulded to mimic the natural teeth. The layers of composite resin are hardened with a high-intensity beam, and voilà – you have an attractive new smile.
So now you have a better understanding of what composite veneers are for teeth, and their pros and cons, let’s turn our attention to porcelain veneers.
Porcelain veneers are referred to as indirect dental restorations because they’re made in a dental lab and placed on the teeth by a dentist in a clinical setting.
- Look more natural than composite veneers because porcelain has similar translucent properties to tooth enamel
- Durable and long-lasting
- Do not stain easily
- Not as invasive as a dental crown (less enamel is removed)
- They are permanent since removal is not a viable option once tooth enamel has been removed. In other words, there’s no changing your mind once you have committed to veneers.
- Can cause mild tooth sensitivity for a few days.
- May chip, break or fall off, especially if you bite your fingernails or suffer from sleep-related bruxism.
Procedure for placing porcelain veneers
Placing porcelain veneers typically requires two dental visits.
A thin layer of tooth enamel is removed from the front of the teeth (the same thickness as the veneer) to ensure a flush fit within the smile.
Next, the dentist takes an impression of the teeth and decides on the porcelain’s shade. The impressions are then sent to the lab making the custom veneers. This can take several days or weeks, so your dentist will fit you with a temporary set of veneers while you wait for your permanent ones to be ready.
At this visit, the ‘temporaries’ are removed, and the dentist places the permanent veneers on the teeth to check for size, shape and colour. After any adjustments, the teeth will be cleaned before bonding the veneers to the teeth. Finally, the bite is checked. All that’s left to do is check out that gorgeous new smile!
Your dentist may suggest a follow-up appointment to see how your gums are responding to the veneers and to examine the veneers’ placement once more.
So, how long do veneers last, and what do they cost?
Porcelain veneers can last anywhere from 10-20 years, depending on how well they’re cared for. A porcelain veneer can cost up to $2,036 per tooth, although the price will vary from state to state and according to the experience of your dentist.
Composite veneers, in comparison, are about half the price and can last 5 to 7 years on average.
Caring for veneers
Adopting a good oral hygiene routine will help your veneers last longer, which means brushing and flossing as you do your regular teeth. You might want to consider limiting your consumption of coffee and other stain-inducing drinks and food. Remember, no matter how well you care for veneers, you will eventually need to replace them.
Hopefully, this blog has answered the question “what are veneers for teeth?” helping you decide if they’re right for you.
Why not schedule an initial consultation with the experienced dentists at Beyond Infinity Dental in Castle Hill. Thanks to our innovative Digital Smile Design software, we can show you how your new smile will look and make adjustments to achieve your dream smile before starting treatment.
Call us on (02) 8806 3799 today.
NCBI Resources – What We Now Know About Teeth Whitening
WebMD – What is Diastema?
Colgate – Acid Etching: How Does It Work?
Up to Date – Sleep-related Bruxism (Tooth Grinding)
Smile.com – How Much Do Veneers Cost?
Healthline – How Long do Composite Veneers Last?