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What Are Veneers? Your Questions Answered

what are veneers

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “what are veneers?”

If so, we’re here to help!

Keep reading to learn everything you ever need to know about veneers and how they can help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells that cover the front of your teeth and approve their overall appearance. With veneers, you can adjust the color, shape, size, and length of your teeth to make them appear straighter, whiter, or more even.

Types of Veneers

Veneers are made of a variety of materials, but the two most popular options are porcelain and composite resin.

Porcelain veneers are, of course, made of porcelain. They’re highly durable and are generally considered the best option for people whose teeth are severely discolored or misaligned.

Composite veneers are more affordable than porcelain veneers. But, they typically do not last as long.

How Much Do They Cost?

The exact cost of veneers will vary depending on your location and the specific imperfections you want them to correct.

Generally speaking, though, veneers cost between $1,000 and $2,000 per tooth.

Since they’re a cosmetic procedure, veneers usually are not covered by insurance.

How Long Do They Last?

Composite veneers typically last between 4 and 8 years before they need to be replaced. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, can last up to 15 years if they’re properly cared for.

Who Benefits Most From Them?

Veneers are usually best for people experiencing the following dental issues:

  • Discolored teeth
  • Worn down teeth
  • Damaged teeth
  • Misaligned or uneven teeth
  • Teeth with gaps in between them

In most cases, veneers are not an ideal solution for serious misalignments or irregularities. They’re also not the best option for people with unhealthy teeth or those who grind their teeth or clench their jaw often.

What is the Procedure Like?

In addition to wondering “what are veneers,” many people who are considering the procedure want to know how long it will take and whether or not there is any pain involved.

In general, getting dental veneers usually requires three separate trips to the dentist. The first will be a consultation, and the next two will be for the dentist to make and apply the veneers.

Consultation

During the consultation, you’ll explain to your dentist what kind of results you’re hoping to achieve with veneers.

The dentist will also examine your teeth and let you know if they think veneers are right for your situation. They may also take x-rays and make impressions of your teeth and mouth.

Preparation

While preparing your teeth, the dentist will remove about 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the surface. They may use a local anesthetic if you feel it’s necessary.

After removing the enamel, the dentist will make a model of your tooth and send it to a dental laboratory. This where your veneers will be constructed.

The construction process usually takes between two and four weeks. If you’re extra eager to improve the appearance of your teeth, the dentist can sometimes place temporary veneers over them.

Bonding

Once your dentist receives the veneers from the laboratory, it’ll be time to bond them to your teeth.

First, the dentist will check to make sure they fit over your tooth and are the proper color. Then, they’ll prepare your tooth by cleaning, polishing, and etching it. The etching process roughens the tooth and allows the veneer to bond to it properly.

Once the veneer is positioned on your tooth with a special cement, your dentist will shine a special light beam over it that activates chemicals in the cement to harden it.

Finally, the dentist will remove excess cement, evaluate your bite, and make any necessary adjustments to the veneer. They may ask you to come back for a follow-up appointment to examine the veneer’s placement and make sure your gums are responding well to it.

How do I Care for Veneers?

The great thing about veneers is that they don’t require any special care. You just have to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

Many dentists also recommend avoiding stain-causing foods and beverages to ensure your teeth and veneers continue to match. Some stain-causing foods and drinks you might want to avoid include:

  • Coffee
  • Dark sodas
  • Red wine
  • Tea
  • Dark juices (cranberry, grape, tomato)
  • Beets
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tomato sauces

If you don’t want to cut these out altogether, at least rinse your mouth with water after consuming them. This will help prevent them from staining your teeth.

Pros and Cons of Veneers

If you’ve asked, “what are veneers?” you probably also want to know why they should choose veneers over other cosmetic dental procedures.

Veneers come with a number of advantages, including the following:

  • Natural tooth appearance
  • Work well with the gum tissue
  • Stain resistant (for porcelain veneers)
  • Easily and painlessly whiten teeth
  • Non-invasive and don’t require the extensive shaping before the procedure

Of course, veneers are not the right solution for every patient. Some of the downsides to veneers include:

  • Process cannot be reversed
  • Procedure is expensive
  • Veneers usually cannot be repaired if they chip or crack
  • Teeth may become more sensitive to hot and cold
  • They can be hard to color match

If you want veneers but think any of the above situations might prevent you from getting them, you may want to consider another cosmetic alternative.

Some popular alternatives to veneers include:

  • Professional teeth whitening treatments
  • Microabrasion treatments (scrubbing away stained enamel)
  • Orthodontic treatments like Invisalign or braces
  • Tooth recontouring to reshape the teeth
  • Dental bonding (filling in chips, divots, etc.)

Not all of these treatments are a direct replacement for veneers. However, many people find them to be highly effective in improving their appearance and increasing their confidence.

Are Veneers Right for You?

You now know the answer to the question, “what are veneers?” But, do you think veneers are right for you?

If you’re interested in getting dental veneers, you’ll need to make sure you get them from the very best.

If you live in the St. Louis, Central West End, Clayton, or Des Peres areas, contact us at Forest Park Dental today. We can’t wait to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

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