Porcelain veneers can effectively hide all the imperfections and improve the appearance of cracked, discolored and malformed teeth. A veneer is actually a thin shell of porcelain bonded to a tooth to cover the front of the tooth and hide any existing imperfection. Whatever your needs are, there is a shape and color for you.

Dental veneers are thin, custom-made pieces of tooth-colored materials that cover the front surface of teeth. They are also sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length. The veneers can be used both to improve the look of the tooth, as well as to protect the surface from damage. They recreate the natural look of the tooth. Dental veneers are not a recent invention; they were first invented in the 1920’s by a Californian dentist who used them to enhance the appearance of actors’ teeth during film shoots. These veneers lasted for only a short time as there were no proper adhesives. Today this is not the case; some porcelain veneers can last from 10 to 30 years with new bonding agents and adhesives. Veneers are used to cover a wide range of dental problems and improve the look of a person’s smile. They can fix the spaces between the teeth, mask the appearance of crooked and misaligned teeth, as well as broken or chipped teeth. Stained teeth can be covered with veneers too. Bear in mind that these treatments are mostly cosmetic in nature – veneers will not make your overbites, underbites or teeth misalignment go away! For that, you should receive proper orthodontic treatment, such as dental braces or Invisalign.

Dental veneers can be made from dental porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain laminate veneers are much harder to stain than composite resin veneers and have light reflection properties similar to those of natural teeth. They consist of thin ceramic layers that replace the enamel layer. They are very strong and will withstand most of the forces placed upon them if you have a normal diet.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain is a brittle material, but when properly bonded to the tooth it becomes very strong. Avoid hard and brittle food, though, such as opening peanuts with your mouth or crunching on hard candy. Teeth clenching and grinding, especially during sleep, may damage the veneers. It is best to ask a dentist for guidance if you have similar issues. Porcelain veneers require about 0.5 millimeters of enamel to be removed before they can be placed, otherwise, the teeth would look unnaturally bulky. For this reason, the dentist will usually apply some local anesthetic. Because porcelain veneers require some tooth to remove, they are usually considered irreversible. Time needed for fabrication of a porcelain veneer is usually up to a week and they are made in a dental laboratory. Because of that they usually require two visits. Porcelain veneers should not stain at all and coffee, spices and drinks won’t stain them.

Composite Resin Veneers

Composite resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement and can be placed in a single visit and do not need to be fabricated beforehand. They are much cheaper than porcelain veneers but don’t last as long – four to eight years is the norm. The final result of composite resin veneers depends on the skill of the dentist, as she/he is the one sculpting it. An advantage is that these veneers may not require removal of the tooth surface. Composite resin is not as resistant to stains as porcelain and is less-lifelike than porcelain. There is usually some discomfort the first few days after fitting, mainly due to hot and cold sensitivity. It is generally impossible to tell the difference between the teeth with veneers versus those without. Veneers are a significantly less invasive procedure than dental crowns, which are used to treat similar issues. They can be a quick method to hide misalignment issues and crooked teeth, the treatment of which usually takes longer than a year. They still require periodic check-ups and cleaning that are usually done during regular visits to the dentist. When veneers fail, they require replacement. Most will fail after a certain time and will need replacement at least once in a lifetime. Some dental offices provide a few years’ warranties and will replace them for free if they fail during that time frame. Maintenance of veneers is fairly easy and does not require special considerations, aside from usual daily dental hygiene – brushing twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash.