Professional models, actors, and politicians do it. They're changing their smiles—and they have influenced a growing number of people to take the same step by asking dentists to give them veneers.
Simply put, a veneer is a covering, something like the thin layer on a piece of furniture that gives it the look of natural wood. When it comes to your teeth, a veneer refers to a thin covering made of porcelain or composite resin material. It can mask discolorations, brighten teeth, and generally improve your smile.
Over time, teeth become darker internally and wear down externally, making them appear even darker.
Many things may cause discoloration:
Veneers are used to change a tooth’s color, size, or shape. They are ideal for masking teeth that are stained or chipped, or filling in gaps between front teeth.
According to a consumer study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a new smile can make you appear more attractive, more successful, and even more intelligent. The AACD survey found that the first things people notice about someone’s smile include:
Whiteness and color of teeth
Sincerity of smile
If any teeth are missing
Sparkle of smile
Veneers can be applied to a single tooth or a series of teeth. The entire process may take up to three appointments: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparing the teeth, and bonding.
Before the veneer is applied, your dentist will lightly buff and reshape the tooth to allow for the added thickness of the covering. This may require anesthetic. After the tooth is prepared, a molded image is taken of the reshaped tooth and sent to a dental laboratory where the porcelain veneer is custom-made to fit your mouth. The veneer is applied by your dentist with adhesive material that bonds it to the original tooth structure. A special light beam is used to harden the adhesive.If the veneer is made of composite resin, the dentist may be able to apply it directly at the preparation visit.
Veneers are intended to last for many years. Your dentist can advise when you should consider having your veneers replaced. Brush and floss regularly to ensure your veneers stay strong. Avoiding foods and beverages that may discolor your veneers, such as coffee, tea, or red wine, will help keep your smile white and sparkling.
“What Are Veneers?” Know your Teeth, Academy of General Dentistry. January 2012 http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=V&iid=339&aid=1363 Accessed 2013.
“Veneers.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/v/veneers.aspxAccessed 2013.
“Smile Makeovers In Action: Health Forum's Coverage of Cosmetic Dentistry in Action” American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. www.aacd.com/index.php?module=cms&page=6 Accessed 2013.
“Porcelain Veneers.” American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. http://www.aacd.com/index.php?module=cms&page=574 Accessed 2013.