Veneers can be a simple, non-invasive way to change your smile’s shape and look while preserving valuable tooth structure.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to improve the shape of your smile, veneers might be the choice for you. Veneers are thin shells of either porcelain or composite resin placed over the front of your teeth. Veneers only require a small amount of tooth structure to be removed and are perfect for people looking to change the minor appearance of a tooth or a few teeth.
Some dental issues that can be corrected with veneers include:
- Significantly stained teeth that don’t respond to traditional whitening techniques
- Teeth that have been chipped that are otherwise sound
- Patients with a few slightly crooked teeth who don’t want to undergo orthodontic treatment
- Gaps between teeth that are healthy and don’t require full crowns
Types of Veneers
There are two main types of veneers: porcelain and composite resin.
Composite resin veneers are made from the same material as tooth-colored fillings. Direct composite veneers are made and shaped directly on your teeth. Indirect composite veneers are made outside of your mouth by your dentist or a lab technician. Less tooth structure usually needs to be removed with composite veneers, and they often cost a little less than porcelain veneers are repaired more quickly.
The procedure for direct veneers is relatively straightforward. Sometimes preliminary models are mocked up to show you what your new smile will look like. This might be done with a digital scanner or plaster models of your teeth. Once the final shape and shade have been decided, your dentist will shape your existing tooth or teeth and remove enough tooth surface so the new veneers will feel natural. Your dentist will sculpt a composite veneer right on your tooth and harden the resin material with a curing light. After the veneers are finished, your dentist will make any final shape adjustments and polish them to shine like a natural tooth.
If you are having indirect composite veneers made, your dentist will prep your teeth and take impressions to use as a guide to make your veneers. They may be made by hand or with a 3D printer. Once they are ready, your dentist will cement them onto your teeth, make any small adjustments, and give them a final polish.
The process for porcelain veneers is very similar to that of indirect composite veneers. The same impressions are taken after the teeth are prepared, and after they are made, they are cemented into place. Porcelain veneers are generally stronger than composite veneers and tend to repel stain better than composite resin material.
Regardless of your new veneers’ material, there are a few things to keep in mind after they are in place. Veneers can chip or crack. Try to avoid biting your fingernails and biting into things like hard candy and ice. Regular exams are also important to ensure the veneers are tight against the teeth and free from small fractures.
If you feel like veneers might help your smile, give our office a call and schedule a consultation. We’re happy to answer all your questions!
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