Veneers are thin, custom-made caps that sit on the surface of your teeth to hide imperfections. Like with any cosmetic dental procedure, there are benefits and drawbacks to dental veneers. Understanding these pros and cons can help you determine whether veneers are a good fit for you.
The Benefits of Veneers
Veneers have many benefits for anyone wanting to restore their smile. These benefits include:
Improve the Look of Your Smile
One of the greatest and most obvious benefits of veneers is that it improves the look of your smile. They cover imperfections, such as stains, but they can also make your teeth look straighter.
Veneers cover the entire surface of the tooth, so they do an excellent job of restoring a bright, healthy smile.
Some dental restoration procedures require several office visits and may even take weeks or months to complete.
For example, professional whitening often requires several office visits. In some cases, it may take up to 10 visits to achieve your whitening goals.
Veneers are a quick and easy way to improve the look of your smile, and the results are instant once they are placed on your teeth. Typically, veneers take three to four visits from start to finish. The process looks a little something like this:
- Initial consultation
- Temporary veneer placement
- Custom veneers are fabricated in the lab
- Placing your custom veneers
The process may take a little longer if you are unhappy with the results and want changes. Otherwise, most patients will have a brand-new smile in just a few weeks.
When veneers are made of porcelain, the results can be very natural-looking. While veneers can be made from a variety of materials, porcelain is the most popular because it mimics your natural teeth.
Porcelain reflects light the same way your natural teeth reflect light. It can also allow some of the natural layer of yellow dentin to show through to make the veneers look even more natural.
If you’re looking for a natural way to improve your smile without whitening or other more complicated procedures, veneers are a great option.
Additionally, veneers are designed to match the natural shape of your teeth. When done properly, it’s hard to distinguish between natural teeth and those that have veneers.
Porcelain veneers are naturally resistant to stains that affect natural teeth. Discoloration from food and drinks won’t be as much of a concern.
Of course, porcelain isn’t completely immune to stains, but with proper oral care, it will likely help you maintain a brighter, whiter smile for longer. Compare the veneers to the right and the natural teeth that accumulate stain to the left.
Veneers are highly versatile. They can be used to fix or improve many cosmetic dental issues, including:
- Misshapen teeth
- Crooked teeth
If you suffer from more than one of these issues, veneers may resolve them all with one single solution.
Compared to other cosmetic dentistry procedures, veneers are very long-lasting. For example, porcelain veneers can last over a decade (7-15 years for many patients).
To keep your smile looking its best, we may recommend replacing your veneers every 15 years.
Some dental restoration procedures can be expensive. However, veneers are surprisingly affordable. They're especially cost-effective when you consider how long they last.
Teeth whitening and other cosmetic dental procedures don’t last quite as long. In fact, teeth whitening may only last a few years – less if you regularly consume foods and drinks that discolor your teeth.
Easy to Care For
One great thing about dental veneers is that they don’t require any special care. You don’t need to add any additional steps to your oral hygiene routine.
Simply continue brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. Of course, it’s also important to continue with your usual cleanings and exams twice per year.
Some veneers are strong enough to provide structural support for teeth that are slightly damaged. In some cases, they can serve as a practical alternative to a crown.
Compared to other dental procedures, veneers are minimally invasive. A small portion of your enamel may be removed, but otherwise, the process simply involves bonding the veneers to the teeth. The lengthiest part of the process is having your custom veneers made in a lab.
In most cases, patients don’t even need a local anesthetic for the procedure. If you have sensitive teeth, we can use a local anesthetic to make you more comfortable.
The Drawbacks of Veneers
Veneers offer many benefits, but like any other procedure in cosmetic dentistry, there are some drawbacks that need to be considered.
These drawbacks include:
To make space for your veneers, we may need to remove a very thin layer of your enamel before bonding the veneers to your teeth.
Removing some of your enamel can make your teeth a little more sensitive to heat and cold. It’s important to remember that veneers are very thin. They are not thick enough to act as an effective barrier against foods that are hot or cold.
Still Vulnerable to Damage
Although veneers are strong and durable, they are still vulnerable to some damage.
- Porcelain veneers can crack or chip.
- Composite veneers can crack, chip or stain.
We will talk to you about caring for your veneers and the best ways to prevent damage. But keep in mind that even with careful care, there is still a possibility that they may become damaged.
It is important to avoid:
- Chewing on hard objects or biting your fingernails
- Grinding or clenching your teeth at night
- Using your teeth to open packaging
- Playing sports without wearing a mouth guard
- Chewing on your front teeth
When eating harder foods, use only your back teeth and consider cutting these foods into small pieces to make it easier to chew.
Long-lasting – But Not as Long as Other Procedures
Although veneers can last 10-15 years, the results are still not as long-lasting as others. Crowns and bridges, for example, may sometimes last longer than veneers.
The lifespan of your veneers may be even shorter if you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth. One way to overcome this issue is to wear a night guard at night when you sleep.
Not a Solution for Badly Damaged Teeth
Veneers are highly versatile, and they can solve a number of issues. But they are still not strong enough to restore teeth that are badly damaged by decay, illness or injury.
In cases of more severe damage, crowns and other restoration procedures will be needed.
Affordable But Still More Expensive Than Whitening
While veneers are more affordable than some restoration procedures, they are still more costly than professional whitening.
Durable, strong veneers are more costly, but they will give you many years of use. Cheaper veneers won’t last as long, so you will ultimately spend more money on frequent replacements.
Appearance Does Not Change Over Time
Veneers are made to match the natural color of your teeth today. But as you know, the color of your teeth changes over time. If you have a habit of smoking or consuming food and drink that can discolor your teeth, your veneers may eventually stand out and become more noticeable over time.
Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine and visiting us regularly for your cleanings and exams can help prevent this from happening.
How Do Veneers Work?
If you decide that veneers are the right choice for you, you may find it beneficial to know what to expect during the procedure.
Remember that veneers can take 3-4 visits from start to finish. One of the first steps is to create impressions of your teeth.
These impressions will be sent to the lab to create your custom veneers. It may be 1-2 weeks before your permanent veneers are ready for placement.
Once your veneers have arrived, you can schedule your appointment for permanent placement.
- First, we will evaluate the shape, color and fit of the veneers to ensure they are a good fit for you.
- Next, we will thoroughly clean your teeth. This is a crucial step because it prevents bacteria from being trapped underneath your veneer and causing decay.
- Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, we will remove just a small bit of your enamel to roughen up the surface. A rougher surface will make it easier for the veneers to bond to your natural teeth.
- Next, we will use cement to bond the veneers to your teeth.
- Finally, we will use ultraviolet light to cure and harden the cement.
The appointment for placing your veneers may take two hours. However, the time can vary depending on how many veneers you need to place and whether a local anesthetic is required.
Dental veneers are a cost-effective and practical restoration procedure. They can resolve a number of cosmetic issues with this one solution. However, they are not necessarily the right choice for every restoration need. Understanding the pros and cons of veneers can help you determine whether this will be the right choice for your dental restoration.