What Are Dental Veneers? (And Their Pros & Cons)

Excerpt: Getting the “perfect” smile may be important to some people, veneers...
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Getting the “perfect” smile may be important to some people, but veneers offer a custom solution for those that are unhappy with the look of their original teeth. The patient may have had a great smile once but tooth decay, trauma, or genetics could have affected their teeth negatively, veneers are a great fairly non-intrusive way to completely change your smile.

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers (or tooth veneers as they are sometimes referred to) are thin shells that are made up of different materials that replicate the look of the teeth they are replacing. Unlike crowns, which are meant to be more functional, dental veneers are primarily used for cosmetic purposes.
 
Dental veneers may have a functional component to them as well as a cosmetic. If the patient has overly crooked teeth, gaps, or teeth that are not sized properly, veneers can be used to correct these issues. 

If the tooth is missing or badly fractured, veneers may not be effective, in which case, the dentist may recommend a dental crown or bridge as a restorative measure.

Inlays & Onlays

Dental veneers are commonly used to replace the front portion of the tooth, however, the very top of the tooth may need a cosmetic/restorative adjustment as well. If the tooth is not badly damaged or decayed enough to warrant a dental crown, an inlay or onlay may be inserted onto the top of the tooth instead. Inlays and onlays are generally used for molars as they have the most cusps (points on the top of the teeth) and therefore have the widest surface area.
 
Inlays and onlays come in a variety of materials depending on what is needed:
 

  • Porcelain
  • Resin
  • Gold
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Different Types Of Veneers

Dental veneers have quite a few different options of materials depending on the tooth and the budget.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain is one of the best materials to use for veneers as it matches the look and feels of your teeth very closely, it’s the least harmful, strongest, and longest-lasting material to use. Porcelain is an extremely “biocompatible” material. This means that you are extremely unlikely to be allergic to it, or have it affect your oral health significantly at all.

Pros

  • Blend in with your natural tooth color.
  • Stain-resistant.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Lower chance of fracture, chipping, or breakage.
  • Smooth, tooth-like texture.
  • Do not harm your gums or surrounding teeth.
  • Little plaque build-up with proper dental care.
  • Durable, typically 8 to 15 years.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lengthy procedure

Porcelain veneers are the best-looking, but they are the most expensive solution. It is advisable to discuss your coverage with your insurance provider before looking into this.

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are named as such because they are made up of a number of different materials. Composite veneers are composed of inorganic and organic materials. The natural (organic) materials include the initiator, resin, and coupling agent. The inorganic element of composite veneers usually is the filler. A tooth-colored material is used to bond the composite veneers into place. These veneers are strong and durable, but they are not as strong as porcelain. They also may be prone to staining if not properly cared for. Having a veneer does not mean you can forget about a good oral care routine.

Pros

  • Relatively strong and durable
  • Less invasive procedure (less enamel removal)
  • They look natural but can stain over time
  • Low chance of harming your gum tissue
  • Easily repaired if chipped or broken
  • Only requires a single visit and no temporary restorations
  • Last between 5 to 7 years

Cons

  • Weaker and more prone to stains over time than porcelain veneers
  • Do not last as long as porcelain veneers

Lumineers

Lumineers are a specific brand of dental veneer. They are made up of porcelain and require minimal preparation before they are inserted into the tooth. Lumineers do an excellent job at treating discolored or irregularly shaped teeth.

Pros

  • They are reversible
  • Require less tooth preparation before placement 

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan than traditional veneers
  • Less natural-looking than veneers
  • More prone to fracture and damage

Removable (Temporary) Veneers

These veneers are not meant to be a permanent, full-time solution. They are an inexpensive way to change the appearance of your teeth for a short time. You can get instant veneers or snap-on veneers.

Instant Veneers

These veneers will require you to warm them up in hot water in order to be placed onto your teeth.

Snap-On Veneers

Snap-on veneers are convenient but do not replicate the look of your natural teeth very well.

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

The cost will vary for a number of reasons:

 

  • The material used
  • The location of the placement
  • How many you are getting
 

The cost of veneers can vary between a few hundred, and a few thousand dollars per tooth.

Who Can Benefit From Veneers?

Anyone with irregularities in their smile can benefit from veneers. If you have gaps, crooked teeth, misshapen teeth, staining, or discoloration, you can take advantage of veneers.
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