Some folks would hesitate in getting dental veneers simply because they are not familiar with what they are, what they’re for and when they should be used. Similar to other cosmetic procedures, these laminates also possess a couple of advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, in this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about them. This includes how much you will be spending if in case, you’ve decided on them.
What are Dental Veneers?
They are small shells or laminates that are placed on the affected area – usually on the front surface of the teeth. They are wafer thin and can either be made from porcelain or resin composites. Other names for them are ‘Ceramic Sheaths’ and ‘Porcelain Sheaths’.
These shells have a thickness of about half a millimeter. To apply them, the dentist would need to remove a layer of enamel (from the affected tooth) that is as thick as the sheaths to be used.
Porcelain laminates emit a similar color like our natural enamel, allowing it to reflect the original tooth color. Unfortunately, porcelain sheaths are brittle. They are prone to cracking, especially he or she fails to watch what they eat. Its entire strength and durability depends on the remaining enamel.
Other than the removal of a thin layer of enamel, the whole process of applying them is relatively safe and painless. However, due to the removal of enamel, one may feel slight tooth sensitivity that can be felt for about a couple of weeks.
Overall, as a cosmetic solution, they are pretty ideal to use for solving common cosmetic problems that are usually affecting the front area. This means they won’t be beneficial if they’re placed somewhere that’s not usually visible, like the back molars. Moreover, this procedure is not suitable for replacing lost back ones where dental implants should be more likely considered.
Procedure and Application
Unlike direct bonding, applying the sheaths can be a little complicated. The entire procedure involves a 3-step process: (1) Consultation and planning phase; (2) Preparation of the mouth and creation of impressions; (3) actual installation.
Usually, it takes about two to three visits to finish the whole process. However, this depends on whether there was a separate consultation visit made or not.
Let’s look at the 3-step process even further:
- Consultation and Planning Phase – this happens when the patient first meets one of our esteemed experts. During this phase, the dentist will explain everything about their case – the dental issue, the solution and the various options available to them as well as the estimated costs that they may have to spend. Our dentist will examine the mouth and determine whether they would be the perfect solution for their problem. However, if there is a bite issue, this should be addressed first before proceeding with the application.
- Preparation and Impression Making Phase – this next visit will focus on two important steps:
- Preparing for placement – In this step, a thin layer of enamel that is equal to the thickness of the proposed veneers will be removed from the front area of the affected teeth. If you’re using composites, then a little more (enamel layer) has to be taken, while it’s lesser if the sheaths are made from porcelain. If there are crooked or crowded ones, then more enamel must be trimmed off. Not just on the front, but also on the sides. Keep in mind that this process may bruise the gums resulting to a slight discomfort that would last for a few days or until your gums have fully recovered. But you don’t have to worry because they’ll surely start healing as soon as possible. Then, they’ll be back to normal in just a couple of days. For partially broken ones, the dentist will have to fix that first.
- Making Dental Impressions – once the specialist has finished all the preparations, he or she will now assemble the materials and take the exact measurements needed to make the impressions. This includes the type of material used, the color and size. All these will be sent to the lab for manufacturing. Then, the lab will create the impression according to the dentist’s exact instructions. This process would normally take around 10 days to finish and that will overlap with the healing of the gums. Therefore, once the impressions are done, the gums had already recovered, which then makes the impressions easier to fit.
- Installation – this is the final step. Once the impressions are done, they’ll be sent back to the clinic. Then our experts will have to clean the mouth again by polishing and chemically etching it to roughen its surfaces. They do this so the laminates would bond properly to the teeth. Afterwards, they will be attached using transparent cement. If you’re using porcelain skins which will be installed on discolored ones, opaque cement will be used to glue them on. The opaque cement will match the color of the adjacent ones. Once the installation is a success, the patient will be asked to close their mouth to see if the upper set would match perfectly with the bottom set.
What are Dental Veneers used for?
They are primarily used for solving common cosmetic problems. In order to know whether you’re qualified to get them, you need to first consult and he or she will decide whether they would suit your case or not. They’ll first do some tests and thorough examinations. Afterwards, they’ll discuss with you what will happen once you decided to have this as well as the possible expenses that may occur during the entire process.
Nevertheless, they are proven to be useful in the following situations:
- Discoloration – For those with discoloration caused by the following: poor hygiene, gastric reflux, root canal treatment, excessive smoking and drinking, large resin fillings, they can greatly help in bringing back those pearly-whites. Also, did you know that too much fluoride may cause tooth discoloration?
- Deterioration – Just like our body, our teeth would also gradually deteriorate over time. Aging is the primary cause, but poor oral hygiene can speed up the process. Acquiring specific diseases like diabetes, fluoride deficiency or even genetics may also contribute to the quick deterioration of them.
- Chipped or Cracked – it’s so easy to repair chipped or cracked ones with them.
- Gaps – They can also provide a great solution to gaps regardless of how small or large the gaps may be.
- Irregularly Shaped or Aligned – Unfortunately, there are those who are born with a bad set of teeth. This includes crooked or misaligned ones, as well as ones that have unequal width or height. Furthermore, there are also some with depressions or bulges on their front ones. Good thing, sheaths can easily solve these cases.
- Open spaces – with proper trimming, followed by the installation of laminates, gaps, no matter how big or small, can easily be fixed.
- Helps to restore natural tooth appearance.
- Porcelain sheaths are easily accepted by the gum tissues. Moreover, it can resist stains quite well, therefore preventing any discoloration.
Stained or discolored tooth can be restored using them.
- Porcelain skins offer an array of colors to choose from, so even those with darker shaded ones can still attain sparkling whiteness.
- They don’t require much reshaping like dental crowns do.
- This procedure does not require having significant bone loss.
- They don’t use any metal.
Though they may seem to be the perfect cosmetic solution to some of the most common cosmetic dental problems, this too has its set of limitations like the following:
- The removed enamel can no longer be restored. However, don’t worry because only a small layer of natural tooth enamel will be trimmed off.
- It’s more expensive to get them as compared to simple resin bonding.
It has limited reparability.
- There may be some slight tooth sensitivity felt after a layer of enamel has been removed. This would last for about a few days.
- Once installed, their color can no longer be changed. Therefore, any whitening procedure must be done before the application.
- Though usually rare, they may dislodge or even falloff. That’s why it is advised to avoid eating hard foods during the first few days after the installation, to keep them from falling off.
- In cases where there is tooth decay, the laminates would need to be replaced by a full crown.
When Are They Not Advisable?
Veneers are not advised for those with teeth that are weakened by decay, active gum disease, fracture/s and large fillings. It’s also not suitable for cases where there’s not much tooth enamel left. In addition, people who have the habit of grinding or clenching their jaw (especially during sleep), are not suitable to have them simply because they are prone to cracking or chipping them.
How Long Do They Last?
They can be expected to last somewhere between 7 and 20 years, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. They can last even longer with good oral hygiene- their longevity is completely dependent on how well you treat them.
How to Make Dental Veneers Last
You can make the most out of them by making sure you treat them well. After all, these are a significant investment in your dental health, so make sure it lasts long to make your money’s worth.
- Follow proper oral hygiene practices. Clean your mouth to avoid stains and keep your natural teeth healthy too.
- Address teeth grinding. If you are teeth grinding when you sleep, you should talk to your dental professional about it. Letting it go unchecked may result in cracked veneers.
- Wear a mouthguard. If you play contact sports, make sure to wear a mouthguard to protect the face as an impact to the face can easily crack or chip the veneers.
Though the actual installation is not painful, a local anesthesia may still be used during the initial preparation of the mouth. Nevertheless, if there is a great deal of pain after the procedure, it’s advisable to go back in so you could get a prescription of over-the-counter medication. Remember, you may have some slight sensitivity that would last for a couple of days. This is because of the trimmed enamel layer. Sometimes, there may be some discomfort while eating hot or cold foods.
But once they are fully installed, aftercare is no longer required. Just remember to properly brush at least 3x a day, floss and rinse, and use mouthwash every now and then. Also, do avoid eating hard foods during the first week after the application since they may get cracked or chipped. Keep in mind that broken or chipped veneers are unrepairable.
Cost and Pricing
If you compare them to braces, the former is much cheaper. However, if you compare it to simple cosmetic solutions like resin bonding, then Veneers are more expensive. Overall, veneers offer an excellent solution to some of the most typical cosmetic problems.
If you’re thinking of getting them our experts will explain all of the options available to you and give you an estimate of how much you will be spending before making your final decision.
Caring for our Frisco, TX community
We would be delighted to help our patients have those lovely, pearly-white teeth that they can be proud of. We’ll provide you with excellent customer service and experience. Our clinic is located in Frisco, TX, just minutes from The Colony and Prosper. Don’t hesitate to give us a call, send us an email or visit our clinic for any questions or concerns that you may have.
Dr. George’s Dental Affiliations
Dr. George is highly educated and experienced in providing dental care. She provides the dental care you and your family need to reach healthy smiles. Read more about our Team.