Dental veneers are thin, customized shells placed exactly on the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance. They are also sometimes called porcelain laminates. They are specifically made to correct discoloration, a chipped or cracked tooth, worn tooth enamel, or uneven tooth alignment.
This procedure can close gaps, lengthen teeth that have been shortened by wear, give uniform color and symmetry, and make the teeth appear straight. While it is a cosmetic dentistry treatment, it is also used as a preventative and restorative solution, since it protects the surface of your damaged teeth and helps avoid any further problems.
There are various dental problems that can be easily and completely solved by teeth veneers. As you age, your teeth suffer from natural wear and tear and begin to chip, crack or appear uneven. For some people who were born with tooth gaps, those gaps widen also as they age.
Those who are heavy drinkers of coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated beverages are prone to have worn tooth enamel. Dull and discolored teeth also trouble those who are heavy cigarette or tobacco smokers and those who take iron supplements and other certain medications.
Those who have uneven teeth due to habitual or unconscious grinding, though, are not good candidates for this procedure, because the porcelain or composite resin placed on their teeth will most probably crack or chip easily. This cosmetic method may also not be the best treatment for those with serious dental problems, such as active gum disease; weakened teeth due to decay, fracture or large dental fillings; or, inadequate amount of tooth surface enamel.
The preferred type of veneers for teeth is porcelain. This material is perfect for the job as it is strong and durable compared to composite resins, which is the other type of material used in this procedure. Porcelain is also more stain-resistant and can mimic the light-reflecting properties of your teeth better than composite resin. However, composite resin creates thinner veneers, thus, requiring less surface removal before the placement.
The resin type may be much cheaper than the porcelain one, but since the former is not as durable as the latter, you may end up paying the same or more for the resin type, depending on your maintenance.
Since porcelain or direct composite dental veneers usually require the tedious shaping and preparation of all your teeth that will be treated, most cosmetic dentists would check thoroughly first if your concerns may be addressed solely by whitening treatments. This is true particularly if you only have mildly discolored teeth, since whitening procedures are the least invasive. If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, whitening and other modern treatments like Invisalign may be initially recommended before seriously considering veneers.
If you do have concerns like discolored, crooked or worn teeth, there is definitely a full line of treatments you could choose from. But be sure to consult a dentist to know which would be best for you.