Veneers are small pieces of lining placed on top of natural, shaved-down teeth. Upon hearing this, you may ask yourself “Do veneers ruin your teeth?”. The answer is: yes and no.
The tooth underneath remains alive and healthy. But a significant part of it does have to be filed down. And for the two most common types of veneers, composite and porcelain, the process is irreversible.
How do veneers work?
Veneers are generally a cosmetic procedure. They are recommended for teeth that are:
- irregularly shaped,
- affected by decay or disease,
- or injured in an accident.
There is no healing, as the procedure is non-surgical. You may get away with only visiting the dentist twice throughout the process. What’s more, you won’t have to go into the office more often than you did before getting them.
You are a good candidate if you don’t have missing teeth (in the place you want veneers), severe periodontal disease, or significant decay. There is a condition, though: your enamel needs to be healthy enough to support them.
What can you expect during the veneers process?
The process can turn out lengthier than you’d expect. It can take up to four weeks for the dentist to get veneers back from the lab alone. If you strategically plan out your visits with your dentist, the whole process can take about two months.
First dental visit
During this visit, the dentist will check the overall condition of your mouth. He or she will judge whether you are a good candidate for veneers.
You might need a dental cleaning before getting veneers. Remember, they are stuck to your natural teeth, so you cannot have any plaque or food debris in your mouth.
Once you establish a plan of action with your dentist you will have your X-rays. A diagnostic wax-up might be made. It is a model of how your mouth will work after the procedure is complete.
About half a millimeter of your tooth will be shaved down. An impression will be taken and sent off to the lab. You will have to wear temporaries before the next visit.
Once the veneers return from the lab your teeth will be cleaned and roughened, to make attachment easier. A special cement will be placed on your teeth. Ultraviolet light will help it harden quickly for a permanent attachment.
You might have another visit with your dentist a couple of weeks later. He or she will check if the veneers are fixed to your teeth properly and whether there are no other problems.
This overview may give you a general idea. Your dentist might decide that some extra steps need to be taken, or that some stages have to be stretched out over several appointments.
What types of veneers are there?
Generally, they can be composite (made of resin) or porcelain. There is another option, a less invasive one, called Lumineers.
Some materials are more durable than others. For some, it is the appearance that is most important. There are different options, depending on what you are looking for. So, what’s the difference?
Composite veneers can be built directly on your tooth or (indirectly) in a lab. The latter take longer to install in your mouth.
In comparison with porcelain veneers, resin looks less natural and is less durable. This material stains similarly to your natural teeth and can’t be whitened).
On the plus side, composite veneers can be made very thin. This means removing less of your natural tooth’s enamel. They are also easy to fix if they were to crack or chip.
Porcelain is the way to go if what you’re looking for is appearance. Such veneers provide a look very close to natural teeth. What’s more, porcelain is stain-resistant, which means never having to worry about whitening.
These are also more durable than resin, however, if they crack or chip it is very expensive to repair them. They might even need to be replaced.
Lumineers are the only type that is reversible. They are the thinnest (about 0.2mm), which allows for shaving down a very small amount of the tooth. Their durability is comparable to that of porcelain.
The translucent quality works great to mimic enamel. The application process is pain-free and there is no need to wear temporaries. As with other types of veneers, they can be an alternative to whitening and light orthodontic treatment.
How long do veneers last?
Veneers, unlike implants, for example, are not designed to be a life-long fix free of maintenance. You can expect porcelain veneers to last around twenty years, while composite ones last around seven.
This is true, of course, provided that you take proper care of them. Generally, you should
- keep up good overall oral hygiene,
- address teeth-grinding, if that is an issue,
- not use teeth as tools, for example, to open letters,
- steer clear of coffee, wine, or tea,
- not smoke tobacco,
- and wear oral protection during sports and similar activities.
Veneers are prone to damage, as are the living teeth underneath. It is important to visit the dentist regularly after having them installed.
Pros and cons of veneers
Like with anything, there are pros and cons to veneers. They are great if you want to address cosmetic issues, however, this is only an option if your teeth are generally healthy. The cost of veneers is also something to consider.
- Allow you to keep your natural tooth
- Improve the appearance of your smile
- Procedure is non-surgical
- Low-maintenance, like natural teeth
- Easy and pain-free to install
- You must have healthy enamel
- Teeth must be shaved down
- Relatively expensive
- Prone to damage
- Won’t replace missing teeth
- Won’t fix bone loss or receding gums
- Most options are irreversible
If done well, veneers can look really great. They are not an option, however, if your teeth are damaged or missing.
Should I get veneers?
Veneers are a great solution for those with discolored or crooked teeth. But are they the best choice? There are problems that they cannot solve, such as missing teeth or bone loss.
What’s more, this solution is not life-long. They have to be replaced every few years, despite being relatively expensive.
Veneers can work if you want to fix up a single tooth. If you want to get a whole arch replaced, or if you are missing teeth, it is worth checking out the G4 by Golpa. You could have a full set of teeth in twenty-four hours!
It is a permanent solution for a beautiful smile. More often than not the G4 turns out more affordable in the long run. Schedule a consultation today.