Veneers are thin shells that cover the front side of teeth. They are used to restore stained teeth, discoloured, deformed or slightly damaged teeth from wearing out. Veneers are mainly placed over front teeth, therefore correcting their contour, colour and size to improve the smileís appearance.
The materials used to create dental veneers are primarily porcelain and composite. A composite veneer can be produced directly, meaning that the dentist builds it directly on the tooth, or indirectly, outside the mouth, usually in a dental laboratory. In contrast, porcelain veneers are produced only in an indirect way. Porcelain is more aesthetic and more resistant to food stains than composite veneers.
Problems that veneers can fix
Dental veneers are used to either improve the appearance of a tooth or to restore it if itís damaged. If a tooth is destroyed, or if a tooth has undergone a root canal, it would be preferable to put a dental crown on it. The principle of a crown is somewhat similar to the one of a veneer because it improves the appearance of a tooth, but the crown covers the tooth completely and not just the front part.
Here are some situations where dental veneers are useful:
- To improve the appearance of dark teeth that a previous tooth whitening didnít make them look whiter.
- To restore teeth worn out moderately; severely worn teeth should be repaired with crowns instead.
- To restore fractured teeth.
- To arrange the appearance of slightly misaligned teeth, although itís recommended to consider orthodontics first.
- To close diastemas (spaces between teeth), although orthodontics can also be effective.
Preparation steps for veneers
When veneers are made directly, the dentist restores the tooth directly in the mouth. The indirect way usually requires two appointments, since the veneer is made in a dental laboratory:
- First visit Before this appointment the dentist has already examined the teeth and the x-rays to make sure that veneers are the appropriate treatment. To prepare a tooth in view of placing a veneer, the dentist must remove about Ĺ millimetre of enamel all around, under local anesthesia. After, an impression of the teeth is taken and sent to the dental laboratory where the veneers are made. Temporary veneers are then placed on the teeth and they remain there until the following appointment.
- Second visit The cementation of permanent veneers is done two to three weeks later. The dentist removes the temporary veneers, verifies the adaptation and the color of the porcelain veneers before installing them with dental cement.
Advantages of porcelain veneers
Dental veneers, especially the ones made of porcelain, offer several advantages to improve the aesthetics of the smile. It should be pointed out however that this treatment must be redone when the veneers are old or worn out. They have a lifespan of about 10 years. That's why when teeth are not too damaged, tooth whitening and orthodontics is a combination of treatments can also improve the appearance of smile.
But if teeth are damaged, severely discoloured or have big fillings, here are the benefits of dental veneers:
- they offer a very natural appearance of a tooth;
- they are resistant to food stains;
- you can select a porcelain colour for teeth to appear whiter.
Maintenance of veneers
It's important to remember that even though a veneer cannot be decayed, the tooth below may be exposed to cavities and gum disease. Good oral hygiene must be maintained by brushing teeth and flossing between veneers and all other teeth as well.
Even though porcelain veneers are resistant to food stains, your dentist may recommend reducing the use of certain staining foods, such as coffee, tea or red wine.
Veneers last between 8 and 12 years. After that, they should be replaced. You must take into account that having veneers is a treatment that is irreversible.
Cost of a veneer
The price of veneers varies depending on whether the material is porcelain or composite, and which part of the country we live in. In general, the cost varies between 250 and 500 dollars (175 and 350 euros) for composite veneers and between 700 and 1,500 (550 and 1,000 euros) for porcelain veneers.