Everything You Need to Know About Veneers

When looking for ways to achieve the perfect smile, veneers can be a great option. These porcelain coverings provide a smooth, attractive surface over your teeth, disguising a number of flaws. They are a relatively simple and easy way to fix your smile.

However, veneers may not be perfect for everyone. There are several factors to consider when trying to decide whether veneers are right for you.

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a shell of material that is placed onto the surface of your tooth. They are very thin and slightly curved to cover the front of the tooth entirely. Each veneer is made to measure for each patient.

They are typically made from porcelain, ceramic or a composite resin material, and they are bonded to your teeth using a special dental cement and remain attached permanently.

Cosmetic enhancement

Veneers are often an excellent choice for those who want to mask cosmetic flaws in their smile. This includes chips and cracks, gaps and stains. The veneers are smooth and straight, with the appearance of a natural tooth.

They can also be designed to extend past the end of your tooth. Those with naturally smaller teeth, a gummy smile, or teeth that have been worn with age, may find veneers an appealing solution. You can also use them to even out the ends of your teeth if some are shorter than others.

You may also choose veneers if you simply want a different look to your teeth. The veneers will be designed for you and made to fit your teeth exactly.

Wrinkle removing

If your teeth have become excessively worn, they may not support the surrounding tissue as well as they should. This can result in a collapse of your skin around your mouth, causing wrinkles and premature aging. Veneers can help support your smile and remove the wrinkles caused by tooth wear.

Whitening

Those with dark or stained teeth may be particularly interested in veneers. Adding dental veneers gives you a smooth, whitened finish over the entire surface of the tooth. As well as creating a brighter smile, this means the finish is completely even, without any darker or lighter patches. You also do not have to worry about regular teeth whitening treatments.

It is important to note that if your lifestyle has affected the color of your teeth, you may need to make some changes to maintain your veneers. The material they are made from can become discolored, and you cannot use traditional whitening techniques on it.

If your diet or smoking habit has affected your teeth, speak with Dr. Owens about lifestyle changes you can make.

Straightening

Veneers are popular among those with slightly crooked or gapped teeth. While some more serious misaligned bites may need braces, veneers can mask small misplacements. They can also cover minor gaps.

You can still maintain the natural form of your teeth, even with an improved appearance of straightness. For example, some may wish to keep a small gap in their teeth to maintain some similarity to their original smile.

If you are using veneers to straighten the appearance of your teeth, you may need a more extensive preparation treatment. This means more of the original tooth will be removed so that the veneer can be placed in a different position. The preparation may be more similar to that of a crown.

Irreversible

Getting veneers is an irreversible process. You will be unable to have the veneers removed to go back to your natural teeth. It is essential to consider this when deciding on whether you want veneers.

This also means it is crucial to work with a reputable dentist like Dr. Owens. You should be completely happy with your resulting smile.

Long lasting

Veneers are long lasting, provided they are maintained and cared for correctly. They should last you for at least a decade before they need to be replaced. They are also permanently cemented to your teeth, allowing a natural feel in your mouth as well as an improved look.

Veneers or crowns?

When looking at ways to improve your smile through restoration, some patients may need to decide between veneers and crowns. Both involve the original structure of your tooth being altered and a permanent prosthetic placed over it.

However, veneers require less alteration than a crown, which require more than half of the visible tooth to be removed. Veneers are only placed on the surface of the tooth, rather than surrounding its core.

If you are uncertain as to which option is best for you, discuss your options with Dr. Owens.

Not suitable for everyone

Veneers may not work for everyone. If you have serious damage to your teeth, they may not provide enough support for the veneer covering. They may also need work that goes beyond cosmetic.

For example, seriously chipped or cracked teeth may need a dental crown. Some treatments may precede veneers. For example, if you have a misaligned bite, you may need to have it straightened before you have veneers attached.

Those who clench or grind their teeth are generally discouraged from getting veneers while these issues are ongoing. These actions can damage the veneers, meaning they will need replacement sooner. Grinding and clenching can also cause additional pain during the recovery process following the veneer application.

Step-by-step process

Getting veneers involves several steps. You will have several appointments before the process is complete, so it is best to plan for this in advance.

Dr. Owens will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the number of days or weeks from the start to the finish of the process, including a follow up appointment.

Insurance coverage

Because veneers are a cosmetic procedure, they are not generally covered by insurance. If you are concerned about having your insurance cover your dental work, contact our dental office to ask about our financing options with Care Credit.

Investment

The cost of veneers may be considerable, depending on where you get them. However, good quality veneers are worth the cost. If you have decided that veneers are right for you, it is best to ensure yours will last.

Veneers can often be considered an investment. They last for years and offer a long-term solution to a number of dental issues.

Initial consultation

The initial consultation for your veneers is very important. Dr. Owens will assess your teeth to determine whether veneers are a suitable option for you. He may take x-rays of your mouth as part of the diagnostic process.

You should be completely honest with your dentist about what you want from your veneers. The design process will commence from this point, and it should be directed by what you want. Dr. Owens will use his expertise to help design your perfect smile.

Preparation

After the first consultation, you will have a preparation appointment. This is when your teeth are prepared for their veneers. The surface of the tooth has to be roughened, so the bonding cement will be able to attach to the veneer shell.

This process will take place under local anesthesia.

Mold of your mouth

With a reputable dentist such as Dr. Owens, the design for your veneers will be closely based on your existing smile. A mold of your teeth and mouth will be made, so the veneers can be made to fit them exactly.

Temporary veneers

Following the preparation appointment, you will be given temporary veneers. These can give you a sense of what the permanent veneers will be like, and whether you want the shape or be altered at all.

Alteration to the tooth structure

While the preparation for veneers does not alter your tooth structure as much as crowns, there is still some alteration. Part of your tooth will be shaved away. This means that as soon as the preparation has taken place, you will always require a veneer for that tooth.

However, due to the improvements in porcelain veneers, the degree to which your teeth are altered is often much less than it used to be. It generally means just half a millimeter of enamel is removed. The alteration may also vary depending on the current structure of your teeth.

Some veneer types, such as LUMINEERS, do not require preparation. These are attached directly to your teeth without any structural changes.

Full veneers

Once the technician has completed your veneers, you will return to have the temporary veneers replaced with a permanent set. They are bonded to your prepared teeth with a special cement or glue. The process used by Dr. Owens also involves a light treatment to help the cement harden.

After the veneers have bonded, they are cleaned off and buffed to a shine. The dentist will also evaluate your bite, to check that the veneers fit correctly.

Appearance

Veneers are not generally paper-white, as some may expect them to be. This is because teeth are not naturally bright white. Veneers will be much brighter than the natural shade of your teeth, especially if you have dark or stained teeth. However, they should be a slightly off-white shade.

Accurate coloring is a major benefit to having properly made veneers. They are designed to look like natural teeth, so your smile is brightened and straightened without looking unnatural.

Pain and sensitivity

It is important to be aware of the discomfort involved in the veneer application. You will be given anesthetic for the process, but pain will still be felt afterwards for a while.

You may also experience increased sensitivity following your veneer application. This includes sensitivity to hot and cold, as well as pressure when you bite down on something hard. This should subside, but you will need to prepare yourself to take extra care in the months following the procedure.

Follow up care

You will need to take care of your veneers. It can take a few weeks for your teeth to feel normal.

You will most likely feel some pain in your gums following the procedure. However, Dr. Owens will tell you what kind of pain may indicate an actual problem. You will need to return for a follow up appointment after the procedure, usually after a couple of weeks.

Oral hygiene

To ensure your veneers last as long as they can, you must practice good oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing and flossing. It is important to remember that you cannot perform whitening treatments on a veneer, and so they must be cleaned regularly to avoid staining.

Flossing and brushing can also help prevent decay in the teeth supporting the veneers, as well as preventing gum disease. The better your oral health, the longer your veneers will last.

Schedule regular hygiene cleanings and dental exams with Dr. Owens and his dental team, so we can, can track your oral health.

Risks of breakage

Because veneers are generally made of brittle materials, there is some chance of breaking them. Like a real tooth, they can become chipped or cracked if you bite on something hard. If the veneers are damaged, you will have to have them replaced.

Repeated impacts carry the risk of dislodging the veneers. This is one of the reasons they are not recommended for those who clench their teeth. Also, avoid biting into hard substances like ice.

Replacing your veneers

With the proper care, your veneers should last between 10 and 15 years. If they are damaged, they will need replacement sooner.

Factor the cost of replacement into your assessment of the purchase. Given the longevity of veneers, you should have time to prepare for the expense.

The replacement process is similar to the initial veneer process. Your previous set of veneers will be shaved away and replaced with another set. If you have damaged only one or two veneers, you might only need these replaced.

Call our office today at (248)-716-8623 or complete our online contact form to learn more about custom dental veneers and how Dr. Owens can enhance your smile.

After graduating from the journalism school of the University of Maryland, Theresa began to gain interest in writing topics regarding the medical field after observing specific health patterns in her family history. Theresa recently quit her full-time job and left her home in D.C. to move to Medellin, Colombia to pursue remote work. Today, she professionally writes about dentistry, VA hospitals, alternative medicine, and other health-related matters.