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Dental Veneers: Benefits, Procedure, Costs, and Results

August 13, 2021

What are tooth veneers?

Veneers are thin, shell-like coverings which are generally placed over one or more of your front teeth to establish a better-looking smile. Many times, teeth can become discolored over a number of years, or they can be damaged by chipping or cracking. Veneers will provide your smile with a more aesthetically pleasing look while covering up any imperfections there.
Girl chooses color of dental veneers at the dentist office

Things you should know before getting veneers

The first thing to know about dental veneers is that they're kind of an irreversible process. When veneers are installed, it is necessary to remove some of the enamel from the exterior of your teeth. This facilitates the placement and bonding of the veneer, but it does leave the tooth somewhat exposed due to the enamel loss. Once that enamel has been removed, it becomes necessary to keep the veneer in place so as to protect the tooth. It's also important to choose the right type of veneer for your circumstances. The less expensive resin veneer will not last as long as porcelain, and it may stain after a while. Porcelain is sturdier and more stain-resistant, but it also costs much more than other types.

How do veneers work?

Veneers attach directly over your existing teeth, and after some amount of enamel has been removed, they are cemented in place. That provides the wearer with realistic-looking teeth that match others in your mouth, and are usually whiter and more appealing. Anyone who wants to fill in a front tooth gap might be a good candidate for veneers. Many patients also have veneers installed to cover up stained teeth, or teeth which have gotten cracked or chipped and present a jagged appearance.

Veneers procedures

The actual dental veneers procedure used will depend to some extent on the type of veneer being put in place. In all cases though, some amount of enamel will have to be removed, and then the dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This impression will be sent to a laboratory so the veneers can be fabricated. Once the veneers have been prepared, another appointment will be necessary. At this session, the veneers will be fitted to the patient's teeth, and any necessary modifications will be performed. With resin-based veneers, it will be necessary to try and match the color of the patient's existing teeth.

Benefits of dental veneers

One of the biggest dental veneers benefits is that they completely hide any discoloration, tooth imperfections, or gaps between the front teeth. Many veneer patients are shy about smiling because they know they have some flaw with their smile. Once veneers have been installed, the patient can have a great deal more self-confidence. Knowing that you have a beautiful, white smile can give your self-confidence a tremendous boost, and that can change your whole outlook on life.

Pros and cons of veneers

The advantages of having dental veneers installed start with hiding any imperfections in your smile. Any cosmetic issues can be completely hidden and unnoticeable to observers. Your smile can be instantly whitened up considerably, and that can literally improve your smile overnight. If you've worn down your enamel through years of brushing, veneers can be used to protect the remaining enamel. On the con side of the issue, installing veneers is an irreversible procedure because it removes enamel from your teeth. Some patients have experienced tooth sensitivity after having veneers put in place. And there's no question that veneers can get to be expensive, and they must generally be installed in pairs.

How much do veneers cost?

Unfortunately, veneers are considered an elective dental procedure, and that means insurance companies won't generally cover the dental veneers cost. This means you'll be obliged to pay for the veneers out-of-pocket, although many dentists have financing plans that make them affordable. If you are obliged to pay the entire cost yourself, you'll generally find that veneers cost in the neighborhood of $800 to $2,500 for each tooth. Keep in mind that your actual cost will depend on the type of veneer you have installed. The top of the line veneer is the porcelain veneer, and this will be the most pricey veneer, but it's also the sturdiest and the most stain-resistant.

Post regular check-up procedure for veneers

It's possible that a patient might have some degree of numbness in the lips or tongue following veneer emplacement. This will subside gradually, and will disappear altogether within a few hours. There may also be some accompanying soreness, but this too will fade away quickly. For several days after installation, it will be advisable for the patient to avoid eating sticky or crunchy foods. These could loosen the veneer before the cement has fully dried and hardened. It's also a good idea to avoid grinding your teeth, because this can also serve to loosen the newly installed veneers. After this point, normal brushing and flossing should be carried out each day, and the veneers should be treated just like regular teeth.

Veneers before and after

Before you have your veneers installed, your dentist may provide you with a set of temporary veneers. Once the permanent ones are available for installation, it will be a matter of fitting them perfectly over your existing teeth. At this session, your dentist will do whatever is necessary to ensure that your veneers are properly situated, and that your bite is normal. It may be that some re-shaping of the veneers is necessary, or some additional enamel removal may be required. Once the proper fit has been achieved, it will take some time getting used to the new veneers. It may feel awkward when eating, or you may notice some slight issues when speaking. However, all these issues can be quickly resolved over the course of a few days or weeks. Then you'll just have your dazzling new smile to present to the world.

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