Dental veneers: what they are, different types, and how they work

04 May · 4 minutes

Dental veneers: what they are, different types, and how they work

For individuals looking to enhance their smile, dental veneers are a frequently sought-after cosmetic procedure. These veneers offer the ability to alter the size, shape, and color of teeth that require improvement. If you are unfamiliar with veneers or have queries regarding them, this article will provide you with all the necessary information on this cosmetic dental treatment.

What are veneers for teeth?

If you‚Äôre wondering what are veneers for teeth, you‚Äôve come to the right place. Customized to fit each tooth, veneers for teeth are thin coverings composed of various materials that are affixed to the front of teeth to enhance the patient's smile. By improving the shape, color, or brightness of teeth, veneers aim to create a natural and uniform appearance, masking any dental issues and enhancing overall aesthetics. 

How do teeth veneers work? 

Teeth veneers work to alter the color, shape, brightness, or size of teeth in cases of minor misalignment, chipping, gaps, staining, or erosion. While severe cases may require orthodontic intervention, veneers can be used to address mild issues. It is important to note that veneers are purely cosmetic and should only be considered when oral health or dental function are not at risk. Veneers cannot, for instance, resolve bite problems. The following is additional information on the mechanics of dental veneers and typical scenarios in which they are used.

Veneers for worn-down teeth

In smile cases where teeth are worn down by age, erosion (due to bruxism) or abrasion, veneers can disguise the damage, making the impacted teeth stronger and restoring their original appearance.

Veneers for crowded teeth

In cases of minor teeth crowding, dental veneers can be a swift and effective solution. Through cosmetic contouring, which entails slight alteration of the tooth enamel without impacting the dentin, veneers can be applied to address the affected teeth's alignment.

Veneers for diastema or spaced teeth

Veneers can provide a viable solution to spaces or diastemas between teeth. By filling in the spaces, veneers can adjust the size of teeth, resulting in a more uniform smile.

Veneers for crooked teeth

If you're curious about the possibility of getting veneers for crooked teeth, it's worth noting that while veneers can be an effective means of concealing mild crookedness, they are not suitable for more severe cases. Veneers cannot address the functional concerns that may arise from tooth misalignment.

Different types of veneers

Several different types of veneers exist, differing based on their material and shape. In the following section, we will examine the most prevalent types of teeth veneers.

Different shapes of veneers

The different shapes of dental veneers play a critical role in determining the final outcome of a smile. There are various types of veneer shapes available, with the most common being:

  1. Natural: This shape of veneer features slightly rounded incisors and lower lateral incisors compared to the central incisors. Canines are pointed and a bit longer than the incisors. Opt for this shape if you desire a natural-looking smile.
  2. Oval: With a more rounded shape for incisors and canines, this veneer shape offers a softened look to the smile.
  3. Hollywood: Square central incisors and slightly squared lateral incisors, which are shorter than the central teeth, characterize this shape, resulting in a smile that resembles the classic Hollywood aesthetic.
Patient in a clinic being examined by a dentist.

What are veneers made of? Types of veneers by material

In addition to their shape, veneers can be crafted using various types of materials. The type of material affects the price, durability, and final appearance of the veneers. In the following section, we will examine what veneers are made of‚ÄĒthe most common materials and their unique features.

Composite veneers

Composite veneers are made from an acrylic resin molded from carbon, glass, and boron fibers. They can correct minor dental imperfections and are applied in a single session. Composite veneers are reversible, meaning they don't require teeth contouring and can be removed easily when desired.

Although they are less durable than ceramic veneers and more susceptible to staining, composite veneers are less expensive than porcelain veneers. They have a shorter lifespan and may need to be replaced more frequently. We will delve deeper into porcelain veneers in the following section.

Porcelain or ceramic veneers

Porcelain or ceramic veneers, as their name implies, are composed of ceramic materials, and they are the most popular type of veneers due to their high durability, resistance, and natural appearance. Porcelain veneers are highly customizable and can be fully tailored to the patient's teeth, making them virtually undetectable. They are also highly resistant to staining, which is another advantage.

Due to their greater durability, resistance, and ability to conform to the tooth, porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite veneers. Currently, there are three types of porcelain or ceramic veneers available: lithium disilicate, zirconium, and ultra-thin.

Lithium disilicate veneers

Veneers made of lithium disilicate are composed of a material that combines glass and ceramic, which is also commonly used in other medical applications such as dentures and dental crowns. Lithium disilicate veneers are known for their high strength and ease of handling. Additionally, they allow for better cementation, which enhances their adhesion to dental tissue, making them one of the most durable types of veneers.

Ultra-thin veneers

Ultra-thin veneers are composed of injected porcelain, which gives them a high level of durability and an ultra-thin structure. Due to their thinness, they are often placed without any need to reshape or alter the original shape of the tooth.

Zirconium veneers

Zirconium veneers are known for their high resistance, flexibility, and excellent aesthetic outcomes. Compared to ultra-thin veneers, they are slightly thicker and are only utilized in specific cases, as the results may appear less natural, and the teeth may need more treatment before placement.

Different dental veneer samples in front of a patient’s smile.

The step-by-step process of veneers

The process of applying teeth veneers usually involves two or more visits to the clinic. Here is how the teeth veneer process generally goes:

  1. The initial appointment involves a diagnosis of the problem and an evaluation of the patient's oral health. At this point in the veneer process measurements are taken of the teeth so that the veneers can be custom-made.
  2. After the dental team has planned the treatment, the patient returns for a teeth preparation appointment. At this visit, the teeth are cleaned, polished, and etched to ensure better adhesion. 
  3. When the teeth are ready, a dental specialist will place the veneers on top of the prepared teeth. The number of clinic visits required may vary depending on the complexity of the case and the type of veneer. In some cases, multiple appointments may be necessary to achieve the desired results. 

The pros and cons of teeth veneers

Although there are specific pros and cons of teeth veneers that vary depending on the case being treated, there are also general advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss below.

The benefits of dental veneers

Here are the main benefits of dental veneers:

  1. Dental veneers provide a rapid and efficient solution to conceal dental imperfections.
  2. They are a minimally invasive treatment, which is quick, simple and painless to perform, and does not affect the gums. 
  3. Additionally, they are durable, with their longevity varying depending on the type of veneer used, but generally lasting for several years with proper oral hygiene and maintenance. 
  4. After placement, veneers provide a natural-looking smile as the shape, color, and size of the veneers can be customized to match the original teeth, rendering them virtually indistinguishable in most cases.

The disadvantages of teeth veneers

Although there are many advantages to teeth veneers, there are some disadvantages as well:

  1. The cost of veneers can be considerably higher than clear orthodontic treatments, such as aligners or braces, in cases of dental misalignment.
  2.  Veneers require proper maintenance to prevent staining or deterioration.
  3. While veneers can conceal mild cases of malposition, severe cases may necessitate orthodontic treatment.
  4. Moreover, the removal of tooth enamel during the veneer application process can cause tooth sensitivity.
Patient looks in a mirror at the dental veneer sample that the doctor is placing on their tooth.

How long do teeth veneers last?

How long teeth veneers last is a common inquiry among patients, but there is no definitive answer. The longevity of dental veneers varies depending on several factors, such as the type of veneer used, the maintenance of the veneers, and the patient's oral hygiene. Generally speaking, teeth veneers are not permanent, but they can last for a considerable amount of time, typically between 5 to 15 years, depending on the aforementioned factors.

Achieve your smile goals with Impress

Impress provides a broad range of treatments to enhance both the appearance and the oral health of our patients. If you are considering orthodontic treatments please contact us, and we will inform you about the services that are available at the Impress clinic near you.

At Impress, we are committed to assisting you in improving your smile. We entrust your smile to our team of specialists, who possess a wealth of expertise and cutting-edge technology at our clinics.

Find a clinic near you and book your complimentary consultation now. Give us a call at +1 628.265.8188 or email us at careteam@smile2impress.com, and we can assist you with scheduling.

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Dental veneer FAQ

At what age can you get veneers?

Patients can get dental veneers at any age, but porcelain veneers are recommended only after the age of 18, once growth is complete. Composite veneers are a better option for younger patients because they are reversible and can be removed in the future if necessary.

Is it possible to get veneers during pregnancy?

There is no problem with getting veneers during a pregnancy. The process of placing veneers on teeth uses hardly any chemicals. However, we recommend consulting with your doctor before proceeding with the procedure.

Dental caps vs veneers: what’s the difference?

Dental veneers and dental caps are both cosmetic dental treatments, but there are some differences between them. While veneers are placed only on the front of teeth, caps cover the entire tooth. Additionally, veneers are primarily used for aesthetic purposes, while caps can be used to correct functional problems or reinforce a damaged tooth, making them a more invasive treatment.

Teeth whitening vs veneers: which treatment is the best option?

If you are considering teeth whitening vs veneers the first place to start is considering the degree of staining on your teeth. Teeth whitening is the most common treatment if you want to lighten the color of your teeth and you do not have major staining issues. Alternatively, if the staining is more severe or the reason is not related to the color of your teeth, veneers could be an appropriate treatment option.

Do veneers last forever?

No, dental veneers do not last forever. Although they are long-lasting treatments, they must be changed every few years depending on the materials used to make them.

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