Veneers are very thin, tooth-colored shells that are custom-fit and bonded to the front of the teeth to give you a bright, white, even and attractive smile. Commonly made of composite (plastic) or porcelain, veneers make it possible to correct a variety of color and shape problems. Veneers can:
- Reduce or eliminate spaces between the teeth (diastemas)
- Repair broken or chipped teeth
- Whiten dark teeth, yellow teeth, permanently stained teeth or otherwise discolored teeth
- Correct misshapen or crooked teeth
- Close small holes or pits in teeth
- Improve the appearance of teeth that are too small, too big, or uneven
What are the different kinds of veneers?
There are two kinds of veneers:
- Composite or direct veneers, where a special plastic is molded and bonded directly to the tooth in one appointment; and
- Porcelain or indirect veneers, where thin shells are custom-made in a lab and applied to the teeth. These require two appointments: one for taking an impression, and a second for preparing the natural teeth and placing the veneers once they have been created. Lumineers are a new kind of porcelain veneer that are so thin they don’t require any tooth-buffing before placement (see below).
What are the steps of porcelain veneer placement?
At your first appointment, Dr. Radcliffe takes an impression of your teeth so he can create veneers that are appropriate for your individual smile.
During your second appointment, the natural teeth that will be receiving veneers are “buffed” or “shaved” a very small amount to compensate for the added thickness of the veneers, so afterwards your teeth are the same size as they were before. Dr. Radcliffe holds the veneers to your teeth to confirm that they are the correct shape, size and color, and then bonds the veneers in place with the help of an etching solution and a special light. The veneers will last for about 10-15 years. Oftentimes, it is possible to “try on” your veneers first with a temporary cement to see how they will look. Ask Dr. Radcliffe about this option.
Why choose veneers over crowns?
Veneers offer several advantages over crowns; veneers are more durable, often do not require much (if any) removal of the natural tooth material, and will not stain or change color—and they tend to cost less.