What are Dental Veneers and How Can You Benefit from Them?

A Dental Veneer is a thin covering that is placed over the front (visible) part of the teeth to help with the following range of issues:

  • To lighten front teeth which can’t be lightened any further with bleaching;
  • To correct some cases of chipped or worn teeth;
  • To fill in uneven spaces or gaps between front teeth;
  • To improve the general esthetics of the front teeth and overall smile.

Dental Veneers are made of either ceramic or composite resin material. Our dentists will evaluate decide which material is best suited for you, based on the strength, stain resistance, color, appearance and limitations of each material.

Ceramic Veneers

A ceramic veneer is a thin, custom-made shell that fits over the front surface of the tooth.

The benefits of ceramic veneers are:

  • Strong and long-lasting;
  • Smooth and translucent surfaces creates a natural appearance;
  • Maintains color and does not stain.

The steps in placing ceramic veneers include:

  • The dentist will remove a small amount of tooth structure from the front and sides of the tooth/teeth, to make room for the veneer to fit naturally.
  • An impression is made of the teeth and the case is then sent to a lab to fabricate the veneer(s).
  • The patient typically wears a temporary restoration while the veneers are being made.
  • At the next appointment, the dentist will place the veneers, verify the fit and bite and then cement the restorations in place.

Composite Resin Veneer

The composite resin veneer is made from a tooth-colored filling material that is bonded onto the tooth.

The benefits of composite resin veneers are:

  • Aside from light sanding of the tooth surface, there is minimal or no removal of tooth structure;
  • The procedure rarely requires the use of numbing medicine or anesthetic;
  • The procedure is typically completed in one visit;
  • The cost is less expensive than ceramic veneers;
  • They are easy to replace or repair if chipped or damaged in the future.

The steps in placing composite resin veneers include:

  • The teeth are lightly sanded to coarsen the bonding surface.
  • The dentist will bond and sculpt the composite material in a shade that best matches the desired final outcome.
  • A curing light is used to harden the composite material and bond it to the tooth.
  • The veneer is shaped, smoothed and polished to look and feel like a natural tooth.

Other Considerations When Choosing Veneers

  • Before any cosmetic or elective dental procedure is performed, it is important that the teeth and gums be in good health.
  • Sometimes, the underlying reason for the worn teeth, uneven smile or frequently chipped front teeth is an orthodontic problem; which would need to be corrected prior to the placement of the veneers.
  • Due to the slight alteration in the positioning of the teeth and lips, there may be a short period of adjustment following dental veneers.
  • Although ceramic veneers require little removal of tooth structure, the process is not reversible once completed.
  • Patients who clench or grind their teeth are typically not good candidates for veneers, due to the higher incidence of veneer fracture in this population.
  • Veneers are very strong restorations, but can chip or break in rare instances from repeated insults such as nail biting, chewing on hard objects or trauma.
  • Always discuss your expectations, goals and desires with your dentist prior to starting any cosmetic procedures, thereby ensuring a successful outcome with the selected type of restoration.

(Excerpts from the Academy of General Dentistry and American Dental Association Websites)