There are two types of veneer treatments that make achieving that perfect smile obtainable for nearly everyone. This article describes the process of adhering ceramic veneers and the process of resin-based composite veneers.
If your oral health is good, but you are looking for cosmetic improvement, you may be considering veneers. In short, a veneer is a fairly non-invasive method for giving you the pearly white look that goes well with every smile. Candidates for veneers include;
• Teeth that have been discolored by flourosis or medication
• Teeth with permanent staining from tobacco, coffee, or teas that have not responded well to bleaching or other whitening techniques
• Teeth with minor chips and rough surfaces
• Slightly misaligned or misshapen teeth
• Teeth affected by age and thinning enamel
• Teeth with old fillings or stains from past bondings that you would like to conceal
Ceramic Veneers: a cover for your tooth
The most recent method of providing whiter, more attractive teeth involves placing a porcelain cover on the front of the tooth. It is typically a two-step process. In your first visit, the dentist will prepare your teeth for the veneer and take a mold of your mouth. Veneers are usually hand-crafted in a dental laboratory to match your specifications. The second visit will involve securing the veneer to the tooth with dental cement. The entire process usually takes little more than one to two weeks and is painless, though in some cases the dentist might use local anesthetic while preparing the teeth for veneers.
This cover, having the lustrous quality of glass, will mimic the tooth’s enamel, thus providing a very natural look. The porcelain cover is extremely thin, but proves to be a secure, strong surface once bonded with the tooth. It is expected that most veneers will last up to ten years. You can extend the life of your veneer by avoiding activities that might damage the tooth surface such as chewing ice or other hard objects like pencil tips and fingernails. A veneer wearer should also avoid grinding your teeth. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, talk with your dentist about a plastic mouth guard that will help protect your teeth while you sleep.
Resin-Based Composite Veneers: a moldable alternative
Bonding techniques have been used in dentistry for many years and are still a viable method for making cosmetic improvements. With composite veneers, the tooth is prepared in a similar manner, using an acidic etching solution to roughen the surface of the tooth so that the resin-based composite will affix strongly. The dentist will then apply and sculpt the composite material.
According to Dr. Maria Lopez Howell of the ADA’s Dental Minute, “Special composite resin materials are blended in colors carefully chosen to match your own teeth. These materials are applied to your teeth and shaped into just the right contours. Finally, they’re hardened with a curing light and bonded in place. Teeth that have been bonded look very natural and bonding can be an affordable and effective way to have the smile you’ve always wanted.”
Which method is right for you?
Both ceramic and composite veneers are successful for covering discolored or slightly misaligned and misshapen teeth. Both can be expected to last upward of ten years, especially if proper care of the teeth is taken and you continue to visit your dentist regularly for checkups. The ceramic veneer provides a slightly more natural look as it more closely mimics enamel. For example, light can shine through the glass-like surface of a ceramic veneer, reflecting off the surface of the tooth beneath it. Depending on the extent of your cosmetic anomalies, however, composite veneers might prove to be more affordable and equally as suitable. Your dentist will be able to help you evaluate which option is best for you.
Will my dental insurance pay for this?
Unfortunately, dental insurance will not typically pay for treatments that are considered purely cosmetic. The good news, however, is that your general dentist should be able to provide this service to you at a very reasonable cost. Beware of cosmetic specialists who may charge upward of $2500 per tooth. Though rates vary greatly depending on your location, you might expect to pay $500-$1300 per veneer placement. Most dentists have payment plans that make this service very affordable.
Overwhelmingly, people report that veneers are a worthwhile investment. The confidence of having a stunning smile seems to spill into all aspects of life. Wearers report everything from increased job satisfaction and recognition to improved relationships. If your teeth don’t make you want to smile, they should. There is no reason in this day and age to suffer with a less than perfect smile.