What Are Veneers?
For many, veneers are the best option to achieve that perfect smile you’ve always wanted. Even if you’ve heard of veneers before (and many have) you may not know what they are exactly—and may not have realized that there are in fact different types of veneers to choose from.
In this chapter we will discuss every veneer type, how they work, and which might be the best choice for you.
What Are Dental Veneers?
Let’s start with a definition from WebMD:“veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length”
To summarize, veneers are shell-like covers customized specifically for your teeth, smile, and bite. This allows each veneer to create an ideal smile, color, and bite, specific to your mouth.
Traditionally, porcelain veneers required removing about 1 mm of the tooth enamel in order to make space for the porcelain material. Now, 1 mm may not seem like much but on a small tooth, 1mm is a large amount of tooth structure.
What Are Natural Dental Veneers?
Natural veneers are known for being done in the most conservative way possible.
This means minimizing (or eliminating) the need to remove any natural tooth structure in order to make room for the veneers. In the past, these types of veneers often looked bulky and unnatural.
But with new techniques, we can now make ultra-thin veneers that remove much less of your natural tooth.
In many cases, we can achieve a very natural look without any removal of the underlying tooth at all!
Actual Patient of Total Care Dental With Natural Veneers
What is the Process for Getting Veneers?
The system we have developed for designing and creating a new smile is exactly the same every time. That’s how we ensure consistent, safe, and satisfying results. There are essentially three steps completed in 3 easy appointments: design, preparation, and cementation.
- Appointment 1, Design – During this first appointment, we will make molds of the teeth, take photographs, take x-rays of the teeth, make measurements, and discuss your vision for your new smile. We then work with our master ceramist to design your eventual perfect smile. To accomplish this, we use wax directly on the models of your teeth.
- Appointment 2, Preparation – The second step involves preparing the teeth and placing the temporary veneers. We remove any old filling material, existing veneers, or tooth decay that may be present. We also make room for the veneers themselves. The temporary veneers, which are based on the wax design, are then placed. The temporary veneers will be worn for about three weeks while the porcelain veneers are being fabricated. This is also a good time to “test drive” the new smile. Any desired changes can be made in the temporary veneers.
- Appointment 3, Cementation – The final step is the cementation of the porcelain veneers. During this third appointment, the temporary veneers are removed, the porcelain is tried in and evaluated, and then the veneers are bonded into place.
As you can see, the final results that can come from well-planned, natural cosmetic veneers are life changing!
Actual patient with natural cosmetic veneers at Total Care Dental
What About Composite Veneers?
Composite veneers are similar to porcelain veneers, but instead of bonding thin layers of porcelain to the teeth, we use tooth-colored filling material to bond directly to the teeth. This helps create the ideal shape and color of the teeth.
Best of all, the process is often done without any needed adjustment of the underlying tooth.
Compostive veneers are a very conservative option, can easily be repaired over time, and end up looking very natural. They do, however, require significant skill on the part of the dentist…
Make sure you ask to see examples of composite veneer cases done by the dentist if you’re considering this option.
Patient at Total Care Dental who had composite veneers
What is Composite Bonding?
There are cases where small amounts of tooth-colored filling material can be bonded onto the teeth to repair chips, replace discolored fillings, idealize contours, close gaps between the teeth, or improve color.
For those looking for a fast veneer solution, composite bonding is usually done in one appointment.
What Are My Alternatives to Veneers?
Veneers can be a great solution in many areas, but there are still other options that may be better suited to your situation, like:
- Orthodontics (braces or Invisalign)
- Composite Bonding
- White Spot Removal
Perhaps you have pretty teeth that are in good condition—they’re just in the wrong position. In this case, moving the teeth into the proper position with braces or clear aligner trays may be a better (and more conservative) option. Braces or clear aligner trays will keep the most natural look throughout and minimize maintenance in the future.
Whitening can also make an otherwise dull smile appear clean, fresh, and beautiful. Seemingly small changes can have a dramatic effect on how you feel about your smile.
HELPFUL HINT: White spots can also be eliminated by utilizing a technique that involves no drilling or filling material at all!
When it comes to achieving that perfect smile, there are so many non-invasive and natural possibilities out there…
Patient at Total Care Dental who had white spot removal and some minor cosmetic bonding procedures
Now that we’ve discussed veneers and other cosmetic dental procedures, you’re probably wondering “How much is this all going to cost me?”
In Chapter 3, we’ll answer that question by giving you a strong idea of how much natural cosmetic dentistry costs depending on your particular situation. Click below to learn more.
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