Dental veneers are custom-made
ultra-thin shells of tooth colored
materials designed to cover the
front surface of teeth to improve
your appearance. The veneers are
bonded adhesively to the front of
the tooth to fix the look of teeth that
are chipped, discolored, misaligned,
uneven, worn down, or abnormally
spaced. Veneers are a cosmetic dentistry procedure that creates a bright, white smile with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. Veneers are constructed of porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers are thought to be more natural looking as they better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth and are known for their abilities to resist stains. Your cosmetic dentist will be able to help you decide which choice is right for your particular needs.
What Dental Problems can Veneers Solve?
Dental veneers can make most issues concerning unattractive teeth better, including worn enamel, wear and tear, genetics, and uneven teeth. Over time the protective layer that covers our teeth called enamel becomes worn down, gets duller, and becomes discolored. This is often the result of genetics but may also be attributed to diet and the food and drinks that stain our teeth. The natural wear of teeth occurs as we get older and results in a less esthetically pleasing appearance. Our teeth are more prone to chipping and cracking, and veneers may be recommended to remedy this occurrence.
Additionally, veneers have been known to provide benefits to the following:
A braces alternative
In addition to being utilized as a cosmetic dentistry procedure, veneers can also serve a functional purpose by protecting the surface of a damaged tooth. Often time's dental veneers can eliminate the need for more invasive tooth preparation, such as the need for a dental crown. The thin nature of veneers requires little to no tooth reshaping to bond them to the tooth.
Dental Veneers Procedure
A dental veneer procedure usually takes three trips to the dentist- the first for the initial consultation and two to make and install the veneers. One tooth or many teeth can simultaneously undergo the application process as described below. Dental offices typically offer amenities for those undergoing procedures that take elongated periods of time such as the ability to watch TV, listen to music, or relax.
Initial Consultation- The initial consultation is between you and your dentist to discuss the result that you wish to achieve. Your dentist will perform a full examination and evaluation of your teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations. Your dentist may also take x-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth.
Preparation- On your next visit to your dentist, he/she will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, which is an amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added to the tooth surface. A use of a local anesthetic may be used to numb the area before the enamel is trimmed off. Then your dentist will make a model or impression of your tooth to send out to a dental laboratory which will be constructing your veneer. This process usually takes 1 to 2 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory.
Application- On your third and final visit, your dentist will temporarily place the veneer on your tooth to examine its fit and color before it is permanently attached. To achieve the proper fit, your dentist will repeatedly remove and trim the veneer as needed. Before the veneer is bonded to your tooth, your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and roughened to allow for a strong bonding process. To properly affix the veneer to your tooth, the dentist will apply a special light beam to the veneer which activates chemicals in the bonding cement that cause it to cure very quickly. Finally all excess bonding cement is removed, your bite is evaluated and any final adjustments are made to the veneer as necessary. You will probably be asked to return for a follow-up visit to ensure the veneer placement has been successful and to check how your gums are responding to the presence of your veneer(s).
Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers
Dental Veneers offer the following advantages:
Provide a natural looking appearance
Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
Veneers don't require extensive shaping procedures
The color of veneers can improve upon that of dark teeth
The disadvantages to dental veneers:
Veneers are permanent
Veneers cost more than composite resin bonding
Veneers may not repairable should they become damaged
They may temporarily cause your teeth to become more sensitive because of the removal of enamel
Other factors that influence the cost of dental veneers include:
The artistic and technical skill of the ceramist making the veneers.
The material used, whether porcelain or resin composite.
The number of teeth involved in the procedure.
Any additional restorative or cosmetic dentistry procedures necessary to prepare for veneers such as teeth whitening, or tooth reshaping.
“Every time I looked in the
mirror I saw uneven teeth
and a gap. I never smiled
in photos. I was so
self-conscious. But O’Kane
& Monssen balanced my
smile and filled in gaps.
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difference. I did the same
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real difference was I smile
all the time now. I’m
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confidence led to my
promotion. Thank you!“
– William P.