Dental veneers (porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size or length and resulting in an improved appearance.
They can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. The ones from porcelain stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth and the resin ones are thinner and require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement.
Veneers are used to fix: teeth that are worn down, chipped or broken, misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them), gaps between teeth (to close the space between these teeth) and discoloration of the teeth (because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth),
First, the patient must explain to the dentist what kind of the results he/she is trying to achieve. Then, the dentist will examine patient's teeth to make sure dental veneers are appropriate for him/her and discuss what the procedure will involve and some of its limitations.
During the procedure, the dentist will remove about ½ millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface (amount nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer) and make a model or impression of your tooth. In the dental laboratory, the veneer will be made by this model (usually takes 1 to 2 weeks).
After it is finished, a dentist will temporary place them on patient's tooth to examine its fit and color. The tooth will be prepared by cleaning and polishing.
A dentist will then apply special cement to the veneer and place it on the tooth and then with a special light beam which activates chemicals in the cement, harden and secure the veneer.
The advantages of the veneers are a natural tooth appearance, well gum tissue tolerate, resistance, color can be selected so dark teeth can appear whiter and don't require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure like crowns.
Disadvantages of dental veneers are: the process is not reversible, more expensive than composite resin bonding, it cannot be repaired if they chip or crack, the tooth can become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages because enamel has been removed and sometimes does not match the color of other teeth.
Veneers last between 5 and 10 years and after this time, they should be replaced. Also, they do not require special care, only good oral hygiene practices including brushing and flossing as you normally would.
People with veneers should avoid stain-causing food and beverages (coffee, tea or red wine) and should not bite their nail, chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise, put pressure on teeth because veneers can dislodge and fall off.
Veneers usually cost from $500 to $1300 per tooth, but the cost depends on what part of the country the patient lives in and extent of the procedure.