Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) 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.
Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Resin veneers are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement.
What Types of Problems Do Dental Veneers Fix?
Veneers are routinely used to fix:
1. Teeth that are discolored – either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth.
2. Teeth that are worn down.
3. Teeth that are chipped or broken.
4. Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them).
5. Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth).
What Are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
1. They provide a natural tooth appearance.
2. Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
3. Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
4. The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
5. Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape – veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative to bonding.
Do Dental Veneers Require Special Care?
No. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices including brushing and flossing as you normally would. Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages (for example, coffee, tea or red wine).
Are There Alternatives to Dental Veneers?
Yes, bonding and Crown. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers may be best suited for individuals who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just a little bit-as is done with bonding-but not enough to require a crown.