Are veneers a good idea?

With numerous advances in modern cosmetic and restorative dentistry, there are now many options for dental patients seeking everything from a subtle change to a full smile makeover. One of the most common options is dental veneers.

What are dental veneers?

Veneers refer to thin custom-made shells of medical-grade, tooth-coloured material bonded to the front surface of teeth to correct common problems such as gapped, crooked, chipped, or coloured teeth, and deliver an immediate smile transformation. Veneers are mostly fabricated from porcelain, though resin composite material can also be used. Porcelain is preferred because it has better resistance than resin.

Veneers in modern dentistry

Dental veneers are attached to change the shape, colour, size, and length of a tooth. They have undergone 3 decades of transformation to make them more convenient and lifelike than ever before. The new forms of porcelain are stronger, and capable of reflecting light in a similar manner to natural tooth enamel. Dentists use dental imaging systems to create same-day restorations that closely resemble the natural shape and colour of your natural teeth.

Advantages and disadvantages of veneers

Veneers can also be combined with other dental procedures, like crowns and teeth whitening, to provide patients with all-inclusive cosmetic results and truly dazzling smiles.

Advantages of veneers

Some of the amazing benefits of veneers include:

  • Make teeth stronger and restore their functionality
  • Straighten crooked teeth and correct other dental flaws
  • Same-day fabrication and placement
  • No preparation, since they are placed with little to no tooth alteration
  • Appear like your original teeth (color and texture) when placed properly and cannot be easily differentiated from your real teeth
  • Enhance the appearance of your teeth for a better smile, which will boost your confidence
  • Offer a long lasting dental solution – veneers are easy to clean, like your natural teeth, and some materials, like porcelain, are stain resistant. This means that they will not tarnish or discolor from consuming darkly coloured foods and drinks.

Disadvantages of veneers

  • Veneer placement requires removal of some of the tooth enamel. Once this is done, the treatment cannot be reversed.
  • There is a risk of stains and cavities forming under the veneer if the thin shells are not placed completely onto the tooth and properly sealed.
  • In the event of any damage to the veneer, such as chips, fractures, or cavities that form under the tooth, then the veneer will have to be redone. In some cases, your dentist may recommend placing a crown on the affected tooth after removing the veneer.
  • Patients suffering from bruxism (clench their jaw or grind their teeth) may not be suitable candidates for veneers to the higher risk of veneer damage – chipping or breaking.
  • You may have to change your diet and avoid any hard or chewy foods that may damage your veneers. You also have to be careful about biting hard items like fingernails or ice cubes.
  • Veneers are considered as a cosmetic treatment, so your dental plan may not cover this treatment option, forcing you to pay out-of-pocket.

Who is a candidate for dental veneers?

Veneers are mostly used to correct multiple cosmetic or structural teeth issues, such as cracks, chips, discolouration, minor misalignment, and gaps between teeth. That said, patients looking to have dental veneers placed should:

  • Have sufficient amount of enamel, since dentists usually remove a thin layer of tooth enamel before placing the veneers
  • Have great periodontal and general oral health
  • Be dedicated to proper oral care and hygiene

Dental veneers can last up to 20 years with proper care, so they are often considered to be a permanent dental solution. Since they are not easily removed, patients should take their time to weigh all their options when choosing a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort when biting or chewing, or sensitivity to hot or cold beverages after getting your dental veneers. This is because your teeth need some time to heal after removing a thin layer of protective tooth enamel.

That said, these symptoms should only last for a few days, and a maximum of two weeks after the procedure. If the pain, sensitivity, or gum inflammation doesn’t subside within this time, then you should consult your dentist.

Veneers that have been properly placed should feel perfectly natural in your mouth, such that you’re able to perform normal functions like eating, talking, or laughing without being conscious about them. Moreover, dental veneers don’t require any additional care beyond regular brushing and flossing, and visiting your dentist every six months for professional cleaning.

Your veneers may fall off due to improper bonding techniques and over-preparation. Tooth preparation involves the removal of a fraction of a millimeter of tooth enamel on the front surface of the tooth to allow proper fit of the veneer on the tooth and gumline. However, excessive preparation may cause the veneer to fit loosely and eventually fall off.

Additionally, enough bonding material must be applied to ensure firm attachment, and any excess material between the tooth and veneer removed, to allow proper curing.

Veneers may fall off prematurely due to over-preparation or incorrect bonding technique as discussed above. But even this should be an occasional event rather than a monthly or weekly situation. Otherwise old veneers may begin to fall off after 3-5 years for composite material, or 10-15 years for porcelain material due to age, eating / chewing habits, and so on.

If your veneer falls off in one piece, and both the veneer and tooth are undamaged, then it can be easily re-cemented back at a minimal cost. However, even this involves a process of removing any previous bonding material or pieces of veneer, and would cost about $200 – 400.

But if the veneer has cracked or chipped, or the tooth is damaged perhaps due to underlying decay, then you will likely need a new veneer replacement, in addition to procedures such as decalcification to remove decay, bleaching to remove stains, and examinations and procedures that significantly increase the cost of veneer replacement. Some minor veneer damage can be fixed using a buffering tool to lower costs, but this may cause the veneer to lose its natural appearance and shine.

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