What are dental veneers? Everything you need to know.

Who doesn’t want to have a beautiful smile?

If you are struggling with a cosmetic dental issue, then veneers could be an option for you. Let’s break down everything you need to know about them.

What are dental veneers?

According to the American Dental Association, veneers are thin shells placed at the front side of your teeth. Their purpose is mainly cosmetic and are used to repair permanent discoloration or stains, chips, gaps, cracks, and deformations of teeth (such as misaligned or misshapen teeth).

What types of veneers are available? 

Dental veneers differentiate mostly according to the material that they are made of. There are two main types available, porcelain and composite (resin) veneers. Let’s evaluate each variation to create a clearer picture.

Permanent veneers

  • Porcelain veneers – This type is widely known, and as you can assume from their name, they are made out of thin layers of porcelain. They provide a more permanent solution and are custom-made “covers” for each patient. Typically, their preparation will take a while, so your dentist can apply temporary veneers until they are ready.
  • Composite veneers – This type is also a permanent solution but slightly different from traditional porcelain ones. They are made of composite resin and categorized into indirect and direct composite veneers based on their application technique.

These are permanent solutions with a long-lasting period, but some temporary or removable solutions are also available.

Temporary veneers

This type, as mentioned above, is created to cover and protect your teeth during the preparation of your permanent veneers. These temporary solutions are made of liquid composite, and for most dentists, they are very important. This is because they can use them as a test and make adjustments if needed to get a great final result for your permanent veneers. 

Removable veneers

Removable veneers are also called snap-on veneers. There are two types available; instant and custom-made veneers.

  • Instant, are ready sets in different sizes and colors provided by different manufacturers so you can choose the ones that fit your needs. You should be careful if you choose these because they won’t fit your teeth perfectly, which can cause many problems. For example, you might not be able to bite properly, or food could be trapped between your teeth and veneers, causing more dental issues.
  • Custom clip-on veneers are commonly made from resin and are specifically made for you after your teeth impression.

Now that you learned what the different available types are, let’s analyze what do you have to do to get them.

What is the procedure to get your veneers?

The first step – and the most important – is to discuss everything with your dentist and learn the different options available.  During this consulting session, your dentist will conduct an in-depth analysis of your teeth to determine whether or not veneers are the right solution for you. This may include pictures of your oral cavity (mouth) and some x-rays.

After you agree that veneers are a good solution for you, you will have to revisit your dentist. Each type of veneer has a different procedure technique, so we will go over every type to provide all the information.

Porcelain Veneers Procedure

Are you thinking of choosing this traditional permanent method? Once you decide to proceed with porcelain veneers, these are all the steps that will follow.

At your first appointment, a teeth preparation is performed. In order for your veneers to fit properly, your dentist will have to reduce the size of your teeth by removing parts of your enamel (the thin outer layer covering the tooth). They won’t remove much (typically a millimeter), but this is a necessary start to the procedure. This is why getting porcelain veneers is irreversible. Once parts of your enamel are removed, they obviously cannot put them back.

Your dentist will get your teeth impression and test a few shades to determine which will match your natural teeth color. When you complete all these steps, your impression, along with the matching shade, will be sent to a dental technician to work from the model provided and create your veneers. The laboratory will need a few weeks to prepare them, and in the meantime, you can use some temporary veneers until they make your porcelain.

The second appointment is scheduled when your permanent veneers are ready. Getting them attached won’t be painful, although it may be a little uncomfortable. If you have temporary veneers, the first step is to remove them. Then, the dentist will adjust and secure your porcelain veneers to your teeth using special cement, which hardens with ultraviolet light. Once the veneers are bonded to your teeth and any extra cement is removed, you should be pain-free and ready!

You might need to make a follow-up visit after a while just to make sure that the placement is secure or there are no other issues involved.

Composite Veneers Procedure

The types of these resin-based veneers, because they require a different application technique, will be analyzed separately. The only thing that remains the same is the professional teeth cleaning with the teeth preparation (by removing parts of your enamel) as described above for the porcelain veneers. However, some people might not need to remove any enamel.

First, we have direct composite veneers, and although their technique is less invasive and must be completed in one appointment, the actual result depends on the artistry of the professional.

The dentist will bond the material and adjust it directly on your teeth to achieve the desired result. After a few layers and color adjustments, the material must be hardened using specific light.  After that, small adjustments might be needed to get the best final result.

If you choose indirect composite veneers, on the other hand, the steps that you will need to follow are pretty similar to the porcelain veneers. Here the composite resin veneers are prepared in your dentist’s office or a laboratory and not directly on your teeth as the direct ones.

After you get your teeth impression, you’ll have to wait for them to get prepared. In the meantime, you might need to use some temporary ones while you wait. Again, two appointments will be needed, one for preparation and one for the bonding process and final adjustments, and probably a follow-up after a while to make sure that everything is in place.

Removable Veneers Procedure

Removable veneers could be a good solution for anyone who isn’t sure about getting permanent veneers or doesn’t want them at all. However, only your dentist can tell you what is the best option depending on your situation.

The procedure for custom-made snap-on veneers is easy. You need to get an impression of your teeth and then wait for your veneers to be made. After that, you just place them in your teeth and remove them whenever you want.

As we discussed earlier, there are also some ready sets available (instant veneers), that you will be able to place on your own, without even visiting your dentist. Again, please be careful with these, because they might cause more harm than good, and no dentist will recommend them as a good solution.

So now, you’ve learned everything about the placement and what it would take to make your smile irresistible. What about aftercare?

Dental Veneers Aftercare

This is the easier step when considering getting veneers. If you have already chosen them, we only have one piece of advice for you. Oral hygiene is the key to successful aftercare.

You need to preserve all the work you did to keep your smile perfect. You should brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day, and never forget to floss.

We also recommend following a diet that doesn’t include many drinks or food that can cause stains. For example, coffee, wine, or dark juices can color your natural teeth and your veneers. Foods like berries, beetroot, or tomato-based sauces can lead to stains too. You should also avoid consuming hard foods because this might eventually break your veneers, even if the permanent ones are strong, and don’t forget to avoid bad habits like smoking.

Our last recommendation is to visit your dentist or dental hygienist once or twice a year to get a professional cleaning and ensure no dental issues are present (e.g., inflammations or gum disease), and of course to see if everything is in place.

Summary FAQ

Are you still uncertain about veneers, and what type is more suitable for you? Then, we will answer some questions to compare them a little deeper and break down some specific and essential information.

Are veneers permanent?

The removable and temporary veneers, of course, are not permanent solutions. About the removable ones, keep in mind that dentists will never recommend using them for an extended period.

Eventually, after some years, you will have to replace both composite and porcelain veneers.  So, as you can understand, they aren’t entirely permanent after all, bringing us to the following question.

How long do they last?

Temporary veneers are only placed until the permanent ones are prepared. This will take a few weeks, depending on the laboratory that will make your veneers.

If you follow all the good practices to maintain them, porcelain veneers last approximately between 10-15 years.

On the other hand, composite veneers typically last between 5-8 years due to their material.

Do they look natural?

Temporary and permanent veneers will look very natural. During your appointment, your dentist will choose the best shade that is closer to your natural teeth. So don’t worry; no one will notice a difference between your teeth and your veneers.

Removable, on the other hand, both instant and custom-made, won’t have this advantage. They don’t look very natural, and you are in danger of getting dental issues if you use them, especially for a long time.

Between permanent veneers, and although composites are great, porcelain veneers are the ultimate winner. Porcelain, as a material, is more similar to tooth enamel, giving you a great aesthetic result.

Also, another great advantage of porcelain veneers is that they are more stain-resistant, while composites tend to stain almost like your natural teeth.

Are veneers irreversible?

If you choose removable veneers, you won’t have any commitment to them, and you can just get rid of them whenever you want. So this is the only case where removable veneers could be considered as winners compared to all the other types.

Permanent (porcelain & composite) veneers are considered irreversible because of the enamel removal, as we discussed above during the placement procedure. Unfortunately, once tooth enamel is removed, you can’t put it back. Remember that this is mandatory to get your veneers attached and the reason that you should think carefully before continuing with this cosmetic procedure.

Conclusion

Dental veneers are an excellent cosmetic option, but they’re not for everyone. You should visit your dentist, explain what you need and together you can find the perfect solution depending on your needs.

If you think that dental veneers are the right option to perfect your smile and boost your confidence, make an appointment with Swedish Dental. We want to help you and see you smiling again!