Your smile affects your confidence. So, you want to make sure you’re 100 percent happy with it, right? Well, veneers can help. You’ve probably heard the name, but how do they work and what problems do they correct? Here’s your guide.
What are veneers?
Veneers are a custom-designed shell that is bonded to the front of your tooth. They’re thin — almost wafer-like — colored to blend in, and can help correct a variety of imperfections, including:
- Teeth that are discolored
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped
- Teeth with gaps between them
There are two substances that veneers are primarily made from — composite resin or porcelain. Composite veneers are typically cheaper and take less time to place than porcelain. In fact, composite veneers can usually be fabricated while you wait for same-day treatment.
Porcelain veneers are far more durable, though. Well-maintained porcelain veneers can last 10 to 15 years, as opposed to five to seven years for composite resin veneers. Porcelain veneers can also offer a more natural aesthetic. Their translucent quality makes them more similar to tooth enamel.
What’s the procedure like?
No matter the type of veneer you go with, an initial consultation will usually be required to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for the treatment. If no issues are found, the dentist will discuss the final desired color of teeth before continuing with the procedure, which differs slightly depending on whether you use composite resin or porcelain. (Note: if your desired color is lighter than your natural teeth, tooth whitening may be required.)
The teeth that the veneers are applied to will be dried using a dam and will be isolated to ensure there is no moisture which can interfere with the application of the bonding material. Acid will be used to slightly roughen the surface of the tooth to allow the resin to stick more effectively. Then your dentist will apply the glue to the prepared teeth, before adding the composite material in multiple layers. This process will continue until your dentist is satisfied with the look and shape of the veneer. After this, the material is polished to complete the treatment.
Whereas composite veneers usually take one appointment, porcelain veneers typically take two. During the first appointment, the tooth is prepared and shaped for the new veneer to fit. That means some of the natural tooth must be removed. It’s possible that your dentist will take an impression to create and place a temporary veneer, which will be worn until your next appointment. It can take anywhere from two to four weeks — after a mold is sent in — to get veneers back from the lab.
During the second appointment, the temporary veneer will be removed, and your dentist will check to ensure that your permanent veneer is of proper fit and aesthetics. If everything looks and feels good, your tooth will be prepared for the bonding process, and the veneer will be securely placed before it’s polished.
After either of these procedures, caring for veneers is the same as cleaning natural teeth, with flossing and brushing twice daily being essential. Schedule an appointment to see if veneers are right for you.