What are Veneers?
If you’re looking for a way to fix a problem with your smile but standard straightening techniques aren’t quite what you’re looking for, you should consider veneers.
Veneers are very thin pieces of a tooth-like material that are placed on the surface of the front of the teeth. They change your smile’s shape, size, color, and appearance. They’re usually made of porcelain or a resin compound and are designed to mimic the surface of a tooth, so they will blend in and look natural.
What Can Veneers Fix?
Here’s a list of some of the things this treatment can correct:
- Discoloration from certain medicines, treatments, or large fillings
- Worn down teeth
- Bulges, uneven surfaces, or misaligned teeth
- Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
How Does the Process Work?
You’ll typically need about three appointments with your dentist to conclude this type of treatment. First, you’ll have a consultation with the dentist to talk about the final look you’re trying to achieve with your smile. The dentist may need to take x-rays and impressions of your mouth to generate a treatment plan. You’ll discuss your treatment plan and make sure you know what to expect while the work is being performed.
Next, the surface of your tooth needs to be prepped for the veneer. You’ll get a local anesthetic for this step as it can be uncomfortable. After the top layers of the tooth are removed, your dentist will make a set of molds for your teeth. These molds will then be sent out to a lab where your veneers will be custom-made to the exact specifications of your teeth.
It usually takes about 2 – 4 weeks for the material to come back from the lab. If this part of the process has left your smile looking particularly unsightly, temporary ones are often placed. Once your veneers arrive, your dentist will first make sure they fit onto the front of your teeth by repeatedly placing the veneer onto your teeth and then trimming it, so it fits just right.
If you’re satisfied with the fit, your tooth will be prepped by being cleaned, polished, and then etched to give the tooth a rough surface, so the veneer holds securely in place. Then, the veneers are permanently cemented in place and held under a special light to set. Any excess cement will be cleaned up, and you’re ready to go with your new smile!
Pros & Cons of Having Veneers
There are plenty of pros to getting this treatment. Your teeth will look natural, and veneers can be used to change the color of any discolored teeth to look more natural and match the others. The porcelain material doesn’t stain and is a more conservative treatment than a dental crown.
They don’t require any special care, just brush and floss as normal! This treatment will last anywhere from 7 to 15 years until the material needs to be replaced.
There are some downsides you should know before you decide to go forward with this treatment. They can be quite expensive and are permanent. If they crack or chip, they cannot be repaired; you will need to get a full replacement. You might also notice some tooth sensitivity since part of the enamel will have been removed.
For anyone who has a history of teeth grinding or jaw clenching or who has unhealthy teeth in general, this treatment is not recommended. Grinding or clenching could cause them to crack and damage the underlying tooth even further.
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