If your teeth are in mostly great shape, you may be wondering if veneers are an option for you. Veneers are thin shells molded to the shape of your teeth and bonded to their surface to mask discoloration, slight positioning issues or minor cosmetic imperfections. While it’s not the only option, it is a valid one for many patients. If you’re considering dental veneers, it’s worth knowing these five facts.
While it’s completely possible to add veneers to all of your teeth — for example, if you’re not fond of their color — but you do not have to put veneers on all of your teeth. If you only have one or two teeth to correct due to chipping or some other issue, veneers are a good option.
They’re also customizable in the sense that they aren’t a one-size-fits-all treatment: your smile is unique to you and unlike anyone else’s. Your veneers will be, too. They’re made using your teeth as a blueprint.
Your first visit to get veneers is an exam, consultation and planning session. This is the visit where you and your dentist or prosthodontist can decide whether veneers are an appropriate treatment for your teeth and discuss the pros and cons as they pertain to your life and oral health. Veneers may not be appropriate for everyone. For example, those undergoing treatment for or recovering from gum or periodontal disease cannot get veneers. Other issues, such as cavities, may need to be addressed before revisiting the possibility of veneers. If there are no areas of concern, your dentist will form a plan and maybe take some X-rays to begin the process.
Your second visit involves preparing your teeth to place the veneers and taking measurements to have them made. Your dentist will shave about a half a millimeter of enamel from the teeth that are to get veneers — a little less than the thickness of an average fingernail. Measurements and a model or mold are taken to send to the lab to create your veneers. This can take two to four weeks, and your dentist may opt to place temporary veneers during this time.
Your final visit will include fitting you with your veneers and making any adjustments necessary before prepping your teeth to bond them. The surface of the tooth is roughed up and the veneers are cemented in place. You may need an additional follow-up visit to assess how well they’re wearing and to correct any issues with how they look, feel or function.
Veneers don’t get you off the hook for twice-a-year dental cleanings. Even if you have a full set, you’ll still need to sit in your dentist’s chair to make sure your teeth are healthy and clean. Likewise, you’ll need to continue brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly to protect your investment. Twice-yearly cleanings can give your dentist time to notice any minor problems before they become major ones — for example, if there’s a veneer that hasn’t bonded correctly or if you’re developing gum recession that could compromise your veneers (and your oral health as a whole!).
Veneers are a permanent alteration to your teeth. They aren’t reversible — you can’t remove them if you suddenly decide you don’t like them for whatever reason. If you’re not sure if veneers are something you’ll want for the long term, talk to your dentist about other options or consider a trial run with temporary veneers first.
That said, they don’t last forever. Most veneers last 7 to 15 years before they need to be replaced. The process of replacing them is similar to the initial fitting and application.
If you want a great smile with the aid of veneers, go easy on your teeth! If you grind your teeth, clench your jaws or are generally rough on your teeth — including chewing hard non-food objects or ice regularly — you’ll have a harder time healing from the process of putting on veneers. Your veneers will also wear out and need to be replaced more quickly. Go easy on your teeth and take care of them to ensure you get the longest life possible out of your dental veneers.
Are Veneers the Right Option for You?
If you’re considering veneers to fix placement issues with your teeth or to correct discoloration or minor damage, speak to your doctor to help figure out if they’re the best option for you. If you have problems with your overall oral health, you may not be a suitable candidate for veneers. Your dentist may recommend other treatments, such as orthodontic treatment, teeth whitening, bonding or crowns.
Veneers are a long-term investment in your smile. If you’re curious about whether veneers would work for you, give our office a call at (281) 497-5558. Since not everyone loves the phone, you can also reach out to us by email — click here to email the Maple Leaf Dental office and book an appointment to see if veneers are a good fit for your teeth.