What Are Veneers and Do You Need Them?

Veneers are a permanent way of changing the appearance of your teeth in cosmetic dentistry. A dentist uses a thin, tooth colored shell to cover the front of your natural tooth. If you have cracked, chipped, uneven or stained teeth, you might consider getting veneers. Another reason to get them would be to close a large gap between teeth. Although they look great when done correctly, making the decision to get veneers should be carefully considered because it does permanently change your teeth.

There are two main kinds of veneers. These are porcelain and composite resin veneers. Porcelain veneers are generally the preferred choice because they will outlast the composite resin variety. You can get one or more veneers as needed, but if you get them at separate times, you may have a little trouble with matching the exact color.

Porcelain veneers are usually the best choice because they are stain resistant, and typically last longer. They also do a better job of matching the natural look of your other teeth. It does take longer to get them, however, because they are created at a separate lab outside of your dentist office, so you may need to have a temporary veneer while waiting for your permanent porcelain one to be ready. If your porcelain veneer is cracked or chipped, it cannot be repaired and will have to be replaced.

Resin veneers are less stain resistant, and usually aren’t preferred, but may be a better option for some cases. They usually are created within the dentist office, so they can be applied sooner, and they are less expensive. One downside to getting composite resin veneers is they don’t last nearly as long. Expect them to last around five to seven years.

Which veneer is better?

Although a porcelain veneer is more likely to last longer and is more stain resistant, there are times when a resin veneer is more appropriate. Composite resin is preferred in some cases because it is possible to adjust and repair them if they don’t look quite right or become damaged.

How are they applied?

The dentist will take impressions of your teeth to use as a guide for designing your veneers. Before they can be attached to your teeth, the dentist will have to file away some of your natural enamel. This step is not reversible. Then they will cement the veneer to your natural tooth using a dental resin. Some patients have increased tooth sensitivity because of the removal of the natural enamel.