Your smile is one of the most important parts of a good first impression, so it’s definitely worth investing in. In fact, a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry showed that 48% of American adults consider a smile to be a person’s most memorable feature.
If your pearly whites aren’t as pearly or white as they used to be, you may not be making the impression you want to.
Cosmetic veneers are one of the best ways to repair chipped, cracked, and stained teeth. Even so, it’s best to understand the whole process before you make a commitment.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before getting veneers.
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made ceramic shells that adhere to the fronts of your teeth. They’re applied similarly to nail appliques and can last for decades if properly cared for.
The ceramic (porcelain) material is tinted to the exact shade of whiteness that looks best with your complexion. Recent advancements have allowed veneers to possess the same translucent quality as real teeth, so even brilliant white smiles can appear more natural.
Veneers are a great choice for people who want to keep their natural teeth but need more substantial correction than whitening can offer. Good candidates include people with significant staining, cracks or chips, short or mismatched teeth, or wear and tear from aging.
Getting veneers is a multi-step procedure that occurs over two to three visits and a couple of weeks.
The process begins with an initial checkup and consultation. Your dentist will evaluate your smile, determine whether you’re a good candidate, and discuss the plan for moving ahead. If you need any fillings or dental implants, these will have to be taken care of first.
Next, your dentist will prep your teeth for veneers by shaving a very thin layer of enamel (less than the thickness of your fingernail) off the front of your teeth. They will then take an impression of your new smile and create a set of temporary veneers that will stay on until the permanent ones arrive. This trial period allows you to decide whether you want to make changes to the color or shape—it’s effectively a “test drive” for your new teeth.
Once the final porcelain veneers have been sculpted, you’ll return to the dentist to have them applied. The temporary veneers are removed and a bonding cement is applied to your teeth. Then, the permanent veneers are carefully installed and your new smile is ready to go!
Your mouth and gums will likely be sore and uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure. You may also experience some tooth sensitivity from the bonding cement. This discomfort is completely normal and will pass as your mouth heals, but make sure to have some ibuprofen on hand just in case.
Treat your veneers just like you would your regular teeth—continue to brush them twice daily and floss regularly. Make sure to avoid chewing on anything that can chip your teeth (ice chewers, we’re looking at you). The better you care for your teeth, the longer your veneers will last.
You can expect to keep your veneers for up to 20 years. After that point, you’ll need to get a new set due to the regular wear and tear on your teeth. If one becomes damaged early, however, it can be replaced individually.
Before you commit to getting veneers, be sure that you’ve considered the procedure cost. Many dental insurance programs will only cover a portion of cosmetic procedures if they cover anything at all. Talk with your dentist about repayment plans if you’re concerned about finances.
That being said, one of the great things about porcelain veneers is that you don’t have to get them on all of your teeth. If only one or two of them have noticeable defects, you can get nearly unnoticeable veneers that match the rest of your teeth. Some people opt to get them just across their top front teeth, as those are the most noticeable when smiling.
Veneers are one of the least invasive cosmetic dental procedures available today. Even so, there are some factors that can preclude you from being a good candidate. These include:
If you have any of these conditions, discuss with your dentist whether veneers are right for you. Remember, there are many options to choose from when it comes to improving your smile, so pick the one that’s best for your situation.
Cosmetic dentistry is still serious work, and it’s important to make sure that you’re getting your veneers done by an experienced dentist. Not all dental practices offer cosmetic dentistry, so you may have to shop around to find one that does.
Before you make your decision, ask to see a gallery of before and after images to find out if you like their work. Each dentist has their own particular style, so make sure that it matches your own.
Testimonials are another great way to ensure that you’re seeing a quality dentist. Check out online reviews and ask your friends and family if they have any recommendations.
If you’re unsatisfied with the state of your teeth, porcelain veneers may be the right choice for you. This fairly simple, non-invasive procedure can give you a brand new smile in as little as 2-3 weeks.
Forest Park Dental’s experienced team has been providing high-quality, affordable dental care to Missouri residents since 1986. We provide a wide range of cosmetic, restorative, and preventative dental services so that you can have the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted. If you’re thinking about getting veneers or have other questions about your oral health, contact us today for a consultation.