If your teeth are misshapen, widely spaced, worn, or discolored, you may be considering different options to improve your smile. Getting cosmetic veneers through procedures such as direct or indirect veneer application may be the solution to your dental embarrassment or insecurities.
A Guide to Dental Veneers: What are Veneers?
Dental veneers are tooth-like shells that your dentist adheres to your natural teeth in order to improve the appearance of your smile. There are a few different procedures to apply dental veneers, but the result is the same: more uniform, visually appealing teeth. Veneers are usual made from either porcelain or composite resin and shaped to fit your bite pattern, and they so closely resemble teeth that most people won’t even realize you have veneers.
How are Veneers Applied?
Once your dentist has completed a smile analysis and determined that you are a good candidate for veneers, he or she will work with you to develop a plan for your veneers, which may involve deciding whether direct or indirect veneers are right for you (you may also hear these described as minimal veneers vs. porcelain veneers).
The procedure for direct (or minimal) veneers requires minimal preparation and shaping before the composite resin is applied directly to your teeth, and the veneers are then refined to create the desired look. This process can usually be done in one dental visit.
Indirect, or porcelain, dental veneer procedures require multiple visits to complete. During the first visit, your dentist removes a small layer of your natural teeth (usually about half a millimeter) to accommodate the added thickness of the veneers before creating an impression of your teeth. Then, the laboratory will make the porcelain shells in between visits, and the dentist will ask you to return when the veneers are finished. Once the veneers and your teeth are cleaned and prepared, your dentist will bond the veneers to your teeth before hardening the bonding material (usually a resin) with a special curing light.
How to Maintain Veneers
Maintaining dental veneers is fairly straightforward. One week after your veneers are bonded to your teeth, you should return to the dentist to follow-up to be sure your mouth is reacting favorably to the veneers. After that, brush twice a day, floss daily, and avoid staining foods (like coffee, fruit juices, and highly pigmented foods), just as you would care for your natural teeth. If you choose porcelain veneers, your dentist may recommend avoiding abrasive toothpaste and/or periodic maintenance visits to polish them.
Benefits of Veneers: Direct vs. Indirect Veneers
Veneers are an excellent solution for those who have severely discolored or misshapen teeth that are resistant to whitening or cannot be helped by braces alone. Direct veneers can be applied in one visit, and they are often less expensive than their porcelain counterparts. However, indirect veneers tend to last longer than direct veneers; indirect, porcelain veneers can last anywhere from 5 to 20 years. These are usually more stain resistant than their composite, direct counterparts, and many people prefer their appearance as opposed to that of composite veneers.
The Downsides of Cosmetic Veneer Procedures
Veneers, in general, do have their disadvantages. First, dental veneer procedures are not reversible due to the shaping that needs to take place beforehand. In addition, veneers are expensive, and they cannot be repaired if they chip, crack, or fall off (the last of which is rare), meaning the entire veneer must be replaced if this happens. They also must be replaced after they wear out after 5 to 20 years. The installation process also requires tooth enamel to be removed during the shaping, so dental veneer procedures could leave teeth more sensitive to hot or cold food and drinks. Finally, once veneers are placed, the color cannot be changed, so if they do not exactly match the color or your teeth, or if your other teeth change color, they cannot be whitened or altered.
Considering Dental Veneers?
If you are interested in getting dental veneers to improve your smile, the skilled professionals at the Acworth Center for Family Dentistry are here to help. Whether you need more dental veneer information specific to your needs or you’re ready to talk to a dentist about cosmetic veneer procedures, schedule an appointment online or call us at (770) 203-1711.