For many, the term “veneers” conjures up images of glamorous celebrities with flawless teeth. While veneers were, in fact, invented to give film stars perfect on-screen smiles, they’re not just for the rich and famous anymore. They’ve come a long way since their origin and are available and useful to anyone with a need for cosmetic dentistry.
What Exactly Are Veneers?Veneers are a thin, custom, porcelain shell that’s bonded to your natural teeth. They’re used to correct cosmetic dental issues or protect a tooth’s surface. Because the process involves removing a very thin layer of enamel from your teeth, it is irreversible.
Why Should You Consider Them?While veneers address cosmetic concerns, they are not just for those looking for a “Hollywood” smile. They can be used to cover crooked or chipped teeth, hide gaps not severe enough to warrant full orthodontic treatment, and even fix the color in teeth that have been injured or damaged.
Do Veneers Damage Your Teeth?Good news: the procedure and the veneers themselves don’t put your teeth at risk. This is because the veneers protect the places where enamel is removed from the teeth. The resin used to bond them to your teeth is also harmless. Most importantly, the veneers are strong and may actually protect your teeth underneath.
Are You a Good Candidate?If you’re wondering if you might benefit from veneers, consider the following questions.
- Are your teeth and gums in good shape? Your mouth must be in good shape and all disease and decay must be treated before veneers can be applied.
- Do you maintain good dental hygiene practices? Even though veneers don’t increase the risk of cavities, it’s important to keep up good dental hygiene practices. The teeth underneath can still accumulate plaque which, left unchecked, can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
- Do you have one or more minor cosmetic imperfections? Veneers are perfect for covering up chips, cracks, misshapen, and mildly crooked teeth. Veneers are a multipurpose solution, able to correct all of the above with natural-looking porcelain shells.
- Do you have severely discolored teeth? Whitening procedures are effective for most mild to moderate staining, but severe, dark staining or discoloration due to injury won’t always respond to treatments. Veneers cover up the discoloration and can be made to match the rest of your teeth.
- Do you have reasonably straight teeth? Veneers can only correct mildly crooked teeth. Severe misalignment may put undue pressure on your teeth and cause veneers to crack.
- Do you have enough dental enamel for veneers to bond to? While your dentist will have to remove some enamel to apply the veneers, a thin layer remains. If you don’t have enough enamel, there won’t be anything for the veneer to bond to.