Dental veneers are custom-designed shells of tooth-like ceramic material that, when applied over the surface of a tooth, can cover worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing and chips or cracks. Veneers fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry because they create a bright, white smile with beautifully aligned, shapely teeth. Even better, the translucent ceramic quality of today’s veneers provides a more natural look than what’s been available in the past.
Regardless of what causes unattractive teeth, dental veneers may solve most or even all of your cosmetic dental issues, including: worn enamel, wear and tear, genetics or uneven teeth.
When are Veneers Appropriate?
Bonding often serves as an inexpensive and effective restoration for small chips and cracks in the teeth. Such minor problems may be functionally and cosmetically repaired with a composite “white filling.” A composite resin material is bonded to the tooth in order to fill in the chip or crack and better protect the surrounding tooth structure. For more severe cases of dullness, wear, discoloration, mild chipping, cracking, spacing, or uneven teeth, dental veneers may be recommended as a more appropriate solution.
If you have a severe case of dull or discolored teeth, you may opt for dental veneers. Veneers do have the added benefits of longevity and a proven ability to enhance the appearance of the mouth, smile, and possibly other areas of an aged face that would be better supported by properly shaped teeth.
In addition to being esthetically pleasing, dental veneers can also serve a functional purpose by protecting the surface of a damaged tooth. In some cases, veneers may replace the need for a dental crown, eliminating the need for more invasive tooth preparation.
Because dental veneers are so thin, they might require little-to-no tooth reshaping when bonded onto the tooth. Once veneers are bonded into place, they are relatively strong and durable; however, care must be taken so as not to abuse veneers because the thin porcelain shells can damage or break. We may recommend you wear a protective appliance while your sleep, especially if you are a bruxer.
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Porcelain Veneers and Composite Resin Veneers
The two most common materials used in the manufacturing of dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain veneers. Both porcelain veneers and composite veneers can be fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory; composite veneers can also be directly fabricated inside your mouth at the dental office.
Dental veneers that are indirectly fabricated – fabricated in a dental laboratory – are bonded to the teeth with various types of resin cement. Of the two options, porcelain veneers are longer lasting and more expensive.