When it comes to correcting imperfections in the teeth, the benefits of veneers make them a popular solution. While not everyone is an eligible candidate for veneers, they are considered beneficial in improving the appearance of marred or misshapen teeth.
Essentially, a veneer is a covering that is bonded to the front surface of a tooth to better conceal imperfections of a tooth and an uneven gum line. Part of what makes this procedure so successful is that veneers tend to be less susceptible to cavities than natural teeth, and they are less likely to become stained. Veneers can last up to ten years or longer, so it is not hard to see why this procedure is sought after by many dental patients.
Who Is a Candidate for Veneers?
Individuals who suffer from an uneven gum line or certain imperfections of the teeth such as the following may be urged to consider veneers:
- Unusual shape
- Small chips
- Gaps in between teeth
While slight discolorations or stains on teeth may be improved with the application of veneers, it is generally not used as an alternate method of whitening the teeth. Veneers are also not typically considered a substitute for fixing gaps between the teeth in cases where braces would be more appropriate.
Patients who do not yet have their permanent teeth or are currently wearing braces would not be candidates for veneers. Some patients with other underlying health conditions such as serious tooth decay, gum disease, or the need for a root canal may also not be eligible. The best way for a patient to determine if veneers are a viable option for them personally is to ask a licensed dentist.
The Benefits of Veneers
If after a consultation with your dentist, they recommend you pursuing veneers, it’s time to start smiling while considering the following benefits of veneers:
- Looks natural. When a veneer is modified to match the same shade and size of a person’s surrounding teeth, it appears so natural that most people will not be able to identify that it is a veneer. Patients themselves may have a tough time telling the difference because veneers are designed to feel just like a person’s natural teeth.
- Changes instantaneously. Some dental procedures such as professional teeth whitening can take a while before the full power of the treatment is noticeable. However, when a person gets dental veneers, it results in an almost immediate improvement.
- Requires only a minimally invasive procedure. Patients who are uncomfortable in the dentist’s chair and flinch at the hum of the drill will be delighted to know that the procedure is so minimally invasive that most patients require little to no anesthesia. The less anesthesia that is used will help minimize grogginess and get a patient back to their regular daily activities as soon as possible.
- Reduces the need to wear away enamel. People whose dentist recommends crowns and bridges may find that the affected teeth will be subjected to some degree of removal of existing tooth enamel. Fortunately, veneers usually require a lesser amount of wearing away of the tooth enamel before they can be bonded on.
- Creates a brighter appearance for teeth. While veneers should not be used as a cosmetic dentistry procedure to substitute for professional teeth whitening, it can still have the advantageous side effect of producing a whiter and brighter smile. Veneers are not generally added to all of a person’s teeth, but rather only to marred teeth. This means that their shade will need to match that of the surrounding teeth. If the surrounding teeth are not pearly white, then the veneers should not be either. This is why veneers should not be used in place of professional teeth whitening. However, for patients with mostly white and bright teeth, a veneer over a discolored tooth may be able to restore their smile to a more uniform brightness.
- Resists staining. There are different types of veneers, with porcelain and resin being the two most common. The porcelain version can be more effective in resisting stains as they are non-porous. Veneers are not impervious to stains but can help better guard against their development.
- Showcases a more confident smile. Studies show that when a person looks better, they often feel better about themselves and can have more confidence in their appearance. An individual who was hesitant to smile due to gaps and stained or chipped teeth, may find that the uniform look of veneers allows them to be more comfortable in sharing a wide smile with others.
- Creates durability. Depending on whether a patient chooses porcelain or resin veneers, many can last up to ten years or more with proper care. For as long as veneers last it can improve the look of the affected teeth while reducing the incidence of cavities and stains.
- Requires minimal maintenance. Once a patient has a veneer bonded onto their existing tooth, the good news is that maintenance is largely that of what is required of the person’s natural teeth. Proper maintenance should mimic good dental hygiene in that teeth should be brushed twice a day, as well as flossed.
How Veneers Work
The first step is to ask your dentist at either your next regular cleaning appointment or a special consultation appointment if you are a candidate for veneers. The dentist will usually base this decision on the existence of underlying dental and health conditions, the age of the patient, and x-ray results. Should the dentist recommend veneers, you will likely be asked to make a second appointment to begin the process in earnest.
The next appointment is generally spent preparing for the application of the veneers. This generally includes identifying the shade of the surrounding teeth, a limited amount of the wearing away of the enamel on affected teeth and taking a mold of the teeth. The mold helps a professional lab with proper sizing of veneers and then they can ensure it is the correct shade indicated by the dentist. Because the mold must be sent to a lab, it generally requires a third appointment for bonding.
The last appointment is for the application of the veneer itself. Before beginning, the dentist will evaluate the condition of the veneers to ensure they are the right shape and shade. Some form of local anesthetic can be provided if a patient wishes to utilize it, however, many find it unnecessary. Before the veneers can be bonded, it is critical that the teeth be professionally cleaned to eliminate bacteria from the teeth and reduce the chances of an infection. Following the cleaning, the teeth that are to receive veneers will have the surface slightly roughened to assist with bonding. The last step is the use of an ultraviolet light to strengthen the bonding and cement the veneers in place.
The benefits of veneers are that a patient’s teeth will look more like their other natural teeth, which may result in smiling so much that their cheeks hurt! With advantages like that, it is important to protect them against breakage. The best way to do so is to avoid grinding or clenching teeth, chewing or tearing with the front teeth, chewing on hard things, and opening packages with your teeth.
If you have questions about the benefits of veneers or if they are right for you, make a consultation appointment with your Houston dentist today.