Are Veneers worth it?
You’ve probably dreamt about having a perfect, sparkly smile. Maybe to fix crooked, chipped, or discolored teeth?
Find out if veneers are the right choice for your smile transformation. This post will discuss what you should know before making this important decision – the cost, process, pros and cons, types, and more.
What are Veneers?
Veneers are thin shell covering made from durable, long-lasting material covering the front part of your teeth. Your dentist will shave down the shape of your natural teeth to attach the veneers with dental cement.
You are meant to have these veneers for life and will need to be replaced every 10-15 years.
Am I a Candidate for veneers?
You may be a good candidate if you have discoloration, and whitening hasn’t been effective. Some may want to close spaces between their front teeth.
The biggest advantage of veneers is that they can correct almost any aesthetic issue and provide beautiful, natural-looking results.
There are various types of veneers based on materials and the amount of tooth coverage. You and your dentist can discuss all the details based on your needs and preferences.
For example, your dentist may recommend a full-coverage veneer covering the whole tooth for better retention and strength if that would benefit you. Or he or she may recommend a partial restoration that covers only the front portion of your tooth if you need a more minimal design.
Your dentist will do an oral examination and check your bite to make sure veneers are a good option for you.
And don’t believe the myth that veneers have to cover all your natural teeth. If only a couple of teeth concern you, partial veneers are a great option.
Who is a good candidate?
- Severely discolored teeth that whitening can’t fix.
- Damaged teeth from trauma
- A strong desire for a smile makeover in a short period of time (i.e., for a special event or a role)
Who is not a good candidate?
Someone who exhibits:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Untreated tooth decay
- Advanced periodontal (gum) disease
- Functional issues due to crooked teeth (aka malocclusion)
If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), you may not be a good candidate because the damaging forces for grinding will shorten the life of your veneers.
If your natural teeth have decay or your oral health, in general, is poor, you may not be a good candidate.
Remember, veneers do not address issues with oral health. They are strictly cosmetic.
So tooth decay and gum disease will continue to progress even after getting cosmetic restorations.
Your dentist may advise you of other dental treatments, such as crowns or root canals, that better address your needs.
Also, veneers don’t actually straighten your teeth, although they may appear to. Placing cosmetic restorations on crooked teeth with bite problems doesn’t fix the problem but can create more issues.
Types of Veneers
There are various types of veneers with various materials. The most common types are porcelain (or ceramic) and composite veneers.
Porcelain/ Ceramic Veneers
Porcelain veneers are the epitome of the highly-sought-after “smile makeover.” Your dentist will examine your teeth and bite to make sure you’re a good candidate. Then your dentist will go ahead and prep your teeth, make an impression, then send it to a dental lab for the veneers to be fabricated.
Porcelain/ceramic veneers are not only durable and long-lasting. They are also incredibly stain-resistant, keeping your smile whiter.
This material is also the best option for teeth with extensive damage, such as broken or darkly discolored teeth.
Note: If you grind or clench your teeth, then durable porcelain veneers are your best option. Also, a nightguard is imperative for protecting your teeth (and your investments) while you sleep.
Composite veneers, which are made of resin, are not as strong as the porcelain type. But they’re still a great option and are more affordable.
The best part about composite veneers is that it only requires one dental visit for your dentist to form and bond to your teeth on the same day.
If you don’t have many problems with your teeth, you may be a great candidate for composite veneers.
Also known as Lumineers, no-preps are bonded to your teeth like composite resin.
Here are the advantages of no-prep veneers:
- Less tooth removal and prep to the natural teeth before application.
- Typically, no shaving down of the teeth is necessary.
- Usually doesn’t require anesthesia.
- Less expensive.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF NO-PREP
Unfortunately, these veneers don’t provide the same kind of results as traditional veneers, and the bulkier shape may look and feel different.
It’s all about case selection when it comes to no-prep veneers. If it’s not the best fit for any specific case, the chance of failure is high.
Plus, this type of restoration will require extremely diligent oral hygiene care to maintain.
Dental Veneers Procedure
Veneers do not require a specialist to place them.
However, it’s important that your dentist has a lot of experience with veneers and has good patient reviews.
At your first visit, you will discuss with your dentist exactly what you’re looking for.
Do you want to correct something specific or have a complete smile makeover? Bringing photos with you is helpful for your dentist to understand what you’re looking for.
Your dentist will examine your teeth and your overall dental health and discuss whether veneers are the right choice for your esthetic goals.
Then x-rays and impressions will be taken. And your dentist will make sure you have no untreated tooth decay or gum disease present.
You and your dentist will choose the type of material, which will dictate treatment time.
For example, traditional porcelain veneers are made from an impression that is sent to the dental lab. So you’ll need to return for follow-up visits until the process is completed.
A thin layer of enamel is shaved from the tooth surface to prepare the teeth, where the veneer will be bonded.
If impressions are sent out, your dentist may provide temporary veneers (it takes 2-4 weeks to receive from the lab).
Will the process be painful?
Preparing teeth for veneers shouldn’t be painful, and most patients will receive local anesthesia for the process.
At the next visit, your dentist will check your new veneers for color, fit, shade, and shape.
It may require some trimming and adjusting for the best fit.
Then your dentist will clean, polish, and prep the tooth surface. Then a bonding agent will be used to cement the veneer onto the tooth.
A curing light will cause polymerization to activate the cement to harden. The excess cement will be removed, and final adjustments will be made.
This final appointment lasts around 1-2 hours.
Will I have pain afterward?
You might have some mild gum discomfort around the area worked on.
If you’ve had multiple teeth worked on, you may experience mild pain or soreness that should dissipate in a few days.
How to Care for Your Veneers
The more diligent you are about your oral hygiene care, the longer your veneers will last. Any new cavities or gum disease can lead to the loss of your veneers.
Also, never use your teeth as tools to open packages or crack open nuts. And don’t bite down on foods that are too hard. This can damage your veneers as well as your teeth.
Here is what you need to do to protect your veneers and maintain great oral health:
- Use a high-quality electric toothbrush.
- Use the right toothpaste. Check out this post for the best non-toxic toothpaste.
- Floss every day.
- Scrape your tongue.
- Never miss a check-up/cleaning.
- Never use your teeth as tools.
- Wear a nightguard.
How Much do veneers cost?
The price ranges from $900-$2,000 per tooth. This depends on the materials, dental lab time, consults, and X-rays.
A full set of veneers (typically 6-12 front teeth) costs around $20,000 on average.
And insurance usually doesn’t cover cosmetic dental treatment. So the expense will be out of pocket.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers
- Veneers create beautiful esthetic smiles.
- Veneers can dramatically change the appearance of teeth after trauma or chipping.
- They are the best solution for a white smile if your teeth are discolored.
- Veneers are extremely stain-resistant and durable.
- Your veneers won’t last long if you develop gum recession and gum disease as you age.
- They’re expensive and aren’t covered by insurance.
- Veneers need to be replaced every 10-15 years.
- Prepping for veneers involves the removal of enamel. So the effects are permanent.
- You can’t whiten veneers, so if your natural teeth change in shade, you will have to get a new set to match the shade.
Veneers are an excellent cosmetic solution for transforming damaged, discolored, or crooked teeth.
However, veneers are quite expensive and don’t address any underlying issues with dental health.
The process takes about 1-3 visits involves trimming down your teeth for the material to be placed.
Porcelain/ceramic the gold standard of material used because of its durability.
If you’re interested in making this important investment in yourself, come in for a FREE Veneers Consultation today!
Because you are worth it!
by Dr. Christine Coughlin DDS