A dental veneer pertains to an all-porcelain restoration bonded on the front surface of a tooth. It enhances the appearance of the tooth where it is placed because porcelain can match the natural color of the teeth.
Dental veneers are generally used to improve the appearance of the patients’ teeth. It can change the actual shape and color of the smile, as well as fix teeth that are excessively worn out. For permanently brighter teeth, veneers can be put on all six front teeth in the patient’s preferred shade in lieu of whitening procedures whose results will fade over time.
Some patients even refer to dental veneers as “instant orthodontics” because it can also be used to fix crowding. It can correct teeth alignment, but not in the same way braces do.
A porcelain veneer, sometimes called a “partial” crown, is a much more conservative restoration than a full crown. Conservative means that less amount of the tooth structure is removed to make way for the restoration. In full crowns, removal of tooth structure all around the crown is required. With veneers it is only the front side or surface. In other words, a veneer covers only 25-50% of the tooth while a full crown covers 100%. Because it preserves more tooth structure, patients find dental veneers more appealing.
Dental veneers are recommended for those who have teeth with mild to moderate destruction. Teeth with large fillings and restorations, or those, which are already missing a fair amount of tooth structure due to severe decay, are better off with full crowns. A full coverage crown is needed to hold the remaining tooth structure together and reinforce them. A veneer would not be able to provide such reinforcement.
A common misconception of a lot of patients is that dental veneers do not require tooth preparation like full crowns. Just like crowns, removal of some tooth structure is required because you have to make room for the veneer to fit on the tooth. Although there are dentists who offer veneers that do not necessitate any tooth preparation at all, the best results are still obtained when you do a little preparation on the front surface of the tooth. That way, the veneers blend seamlessly and the thickness of the tooth is maintained. Overall, it gives it a much more pleasing cosmetic effect and much more natural feel to the patient. Non-prep veneers add some thickness to the teeth and most patients find that feel unusual or unnatural.
Dental veneers costs anywhere from $1,300 to $2,000 per veneer. Since only one veneer is usually placed per tooth, it is safe to say that the given price can also be on a per-tooth basis.
Dental veneers require no special care. All patients have to do is care for them just like they would for their natural teeth. Practice good oral hygiene and brush your teeth at least twice a day as well as floss often. Beyond that, they really do not need any special maintenance at all.
Dental veneers usually last long. Cases of veneers falling off or popping out are rare because the cement dentists use to bond them to the teeth are very strong. In the unusual instances where they come off, the most likely explanation would be contamination during cementation. In such case, it is usually a very simple fix.
If patients care for the veneers properly, which again is done by just brushing or flossing their teeth, they can last longer than 15 to 25 years. Very seldom would replacing them be necessary and that only happens when the gums recede and the veneer margins become visible. It is most likely though, that the lip is going to cover and hide it even though it’s already uncovered. So theoretically, if cared for properly, dental veneers can last for an indefinite period of time.
Veneers are much more resistant to staining than natural teeth. The patient can choose whatever shade they want their veneers to be and it will stay that shade forever. Heavy tea or coffee drinking will only affect the natural teeth. The veneers might be stained a little bit, but it’s nothing that can’t be removed by simple brushing and regular professional cleaning. In a whitening procedure, the teeth tend to slowly go back to their natural color. With veneers, you can choose the color you want and maintain that throughout the life of the restoration.
For those who are interested in getting dental veneers, dentists encourage doing some research first. Patients should make sure they go to a dentist who is qualified to do the procedure. For most patients, it’s a very life changing experience in creating the smile they have always wanted.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - AA
Based on an exclusive interview with Dr. Mason Yeary in Plano, TX