(sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates)
are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials
designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your
appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth
changing their color, shape, size or length.
can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials.
Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and
better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.
Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the
tooth surface before placement. You will need to discuss the
best choice of veneer material for you with your dentist.
Types of Problems Do Dental Veneers Fix?
routinely used to fix:
• Teeth that are discolored – either because of root canal treatment;
stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride
or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that
have discolored the tooth
• Teeth that are worn down
• Teeth that are chipped or broken
• Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for
example, have craters or bulges in them)
• Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these
the Procedure for Getting a Dental Veneer?
usually requires three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation
and two to make and apply the veneers. One tooth or many teeth
can simultaneously undergo the veneering process described below.
and treatment planning. This first step involves active
participation between you and your dentist. Explain to your
dentist the result that you are trying to achieve. During this
appointment your dentist will examine your teeth to make sure
dental veneers are appropriate for you and discuss what the
procedure will involve and some of its limitations. He or she
also may take X-rays and possibly make impressions of your mouth
To prepare a tooth for a veneer, your dentist will remove about
½ 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. Before trimming off the enamel, you and your
dentist will decide the need for a local anesthetic to numb
the area. Next, your dentist will make a model or impression
of your tooth. This model is sent out to a dental laboratory,
which in turn constructs your veneer. It usually takes 1 to
2 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the
laboratory. For very unsightly teeth, temporary dental veneers
can be placed for an additional cost.
. Before the dental veneer is permanently cemented
to your tooth, your dentist will temporarily place it on your
tooth to examine its fit and color. He or she will repeatedly
remove and trim the veneer as needed to achieve the proper fit;
the veneer color can be adjusted with the shade of cement to
Next, to prepare
your tooth to receive the veneer, your tooth will be cleaned,
polished and etched – which roughens the tooth to allow for
a strong bonding process. A special cement is applied to the
veneer and the veneer is then placed on your tooth. Once properly
position on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light
beam to the dental veneer, which activates chemicals in the
cement causing it to harden or cure very quickly.
The final steps
involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and
making any final adjustments in the veneer as necessary. Your
dentist may ask you to return for a follow-up visit in a couple
of weeks to check how your gums are responding to the presence
of your veneer and to once again examine the veneer's placement.
What Are the Advantages of Dental
the following advantages:
• They provide
a natural tooth appearance.
• Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
• Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
• The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that
it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
• Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth's
color and shape-veneers generally don't require the extensive
shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger,
more aesthetic alternative to bonding.
What Are the Disadvantages of Dental Veneers?
to dental veneers include:
• The process
is not reversible.
• Veneers are more costly than composite resin bonding.
• Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
• Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more
sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
• Veneers may not exactly match the color of your other teeth.
Also, the veneer's color cannot be altered once in place. If
you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting
• Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize
the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on
pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put pressure
on your teeth.
• Teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating
full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
• Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy
teeth (for example, those with decay or active periodontal disease),
weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental
fillings) or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing
enamel on the tooth surface.
• Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates
for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers
to crack or chip.
Long Do Dental Veneers Last?
last between 5 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would
need to be replaced.
Veneers Require Special Care?
to follow good oral hygiene practices including brushing and
flossing as you normally would.
Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may
recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages (for
example, coffee, tea or red wine).
There Alternatives to Dental Veneers?
and crowns. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers
may be best suited for individuals who want to change the shape
of their teeth more than just a little bit-as is done with bonding-but
not enough to require a crown.