The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the aesthetic appearance of a person's smile. That can mean removing stains, straightening the teeth, or making other adjustments and changes to improve the smile's look. One of the most popular and visually transformative treatments in cosmetic dentistry is dental veneers.
What Are Veneers?
Veneers are a permanent cosmetic dental treatment. They consist of thin shells that are custom-designed and manufactured to fit over the front (visible portion) of a patient's natural tooth to enhance their appearance and create a new look.
What Kinds of Concerns Can Dental Veneers Address?
Dental veneers have a variety of cosmetic applications, making them one of the most popularly chosen cosmetic dental treatments. Dental veneers can:
- Cover up gaps between teeth
- Create the appearance of straight, properly aligned teeth without treatment with braces
- Hide stubborn stains or permanent discoloration
- Correct the appearance of an irregularly sized or shaped tooth
- Cover up a chipped tooth
- Cover and seal a cracked or fractured tooth (in these cases, dental crowns are sometimes the recommended treatment option)
- Improve smile symmetry
Dental veneers are recommended for patients with strong teeth and healthy gums. If a patient has signs of tooth decay, cavities, or gum disease, then restorative treatments might be needed before dental veneers can be placed.
What to Expect When Getting Veneers
The process of getting dental veneers can vary slightly, depending on the individual and the selected type of veneers.
Treatment begins with a consultation appointment. At this time, our dentist evaluates your teeth and gums to first ensure that you are a candidate for receiving dental veneers.
We then administer a local anesthetic to ensure you experience no pain or discomfort and prepare the teeth for the veneers. Preparation is performed by removing a thin layer of enamel from the teeth. This creates room to accommodate the dental veneers.
We then take digital impressions of your teeth that the dental lab will use in the design and creation of your new set of dental veneers to ensure a perfect fit and the look you desire. Before leaving this appointment, we might fit you with a set of temporary veneers to protect your teeth and prevent any sensitivity while we await the production of your permanent veneers.
When your veneers are ready for placement, we'll have you visit our office for a second appointment. During this appointment, we'll check that the veneers are the proper design (shape, color, and size). We once again administer a local anesthetic to prevent any sensitivity during the appointment. When the treatment area is numbed, we affix the veneers to your teeth using dental cement. Once placed, our dentist will make final adjustments and ensure that your bite feels comfortable.
You will be able to resume normal activities immediately after your appointment. You can continue eating and drinking normally as soon as the local anesthetic wears off.
If you would like to adjust any aspect of your dental veneers, we welcome you to bring up your concerns with our dentist, as we will be happy to work with you and our dental lab to ensure you're happy with the results of your treatment.
Types of Dental Veneers
There are several different types of dental veneers available. The one that's right for you depends on your personal preferences, needs, and treatment goals.
Porcelain veneers are custom-made in a dental lab using durable porcelain. Porcelain is considered to be the most natural-looking material used in dentistry because it has a similar texture and translucent appearance as natural tooth enamel. Porcelain veneers are a permanent cosmetic treatment because they require the removal of a layer of tooth enamel to accommodate their placement.
Composite veneers are made from a thin layer of composite resin, the same material that is used to fill dental cavities and in dental bonding treatments. While these veneers aren't quite as durable as porcelain veneers, they are not usually permanent, which means you won't be committed to maintaining them for the rest of your life if they become damaged or if you decide you want to return to your natural look.
In terms of invasiveness, no-prep veneers fall in between porcelain veneers and composite veneers because they require some tooth enamel removal but not as much as porcelain veneers. Like porcelain veneers, no-prep veneers are also custom-made in a dental lab.
Also called snap-on or pop-on veneers, removable veneers are the least permanent option available. As the name suggests, they are designed to snap onto your teeth, masking imperfections. These veneers give your smile a completely new look, but, for many patients, they are too cumbersome for daily wear because they can make it difficult to speak and eat normally.
How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?
The lifespan of dental veneers varies depending on the type of veneers you have. On average, the lifespan can vary from about five to 10 years.
Caring for Your Dental Veneers
You can prolong the lifespan of your veneers by taking proper care of them. Continue practicing your usual oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist at least every six months. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Additionally, you should avoid using any whitening products, as they will not whiten your veneers and can actually harm them with their whitening agents and abrasive ingredients.
We recommend avoiding highly pigmented foods and drinks that can stain your veneers. Additionally, you should refrain from tobacco use of any kind.
If you participate in athletic activities, you should wear a protective mouthguard. If you suffer from sleep bruxism, you should sleep with a nightguard to prevent excessive wear and tear.
Avoid chewing on hard objects or foods.
When to Repair or Replace Your Veneer Teeth
If your veneers become stained, chipped, or otherwise damaged, they can be replaced. Simply schedule a veneer restoration appointment to start the process.
Are Dental Veneers Right for You? Alternative Treatment Options
While dental veneers offer powerful cosmetic benefits, they aren't always the right or best treatment option for everyone. Depending on the person's oral health, needs, and treatment goals, some patients might benefit more from choosing an alternative option such as professional whitening, dental crowns, dental bonding, or orthodontics.
Brighten Your Smile With Dental Veneers in Charlotte
At Skyview Dentistry, we're proud to provide our patients with a wide array of options in cosmetic dentistry. Whether you're wanting to correct minor imperfections or revitalize your smile with a complete makeover, our cosmetic dentist in Charlotte can talk with you about your goals and work with you to determine a treatment plan that can best meet your needs. To learn more about dental veneers and smile makeovers or to request a cosmetic dentistry consultation, we welcome you to contact Skyview Dentistry today.