Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish
Check us out on YouTube as we talk teeth #watchyourmouthSpanish

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Dental Veneers

Do you ever wonder about the secret behind celebrity’s beautiful smiles? The answer might just be veneers. So follow me on this video we’re gonna talk about a complete beginner’s guide to dental veneers. 

Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston, an experienced Prosthodontist and director of the Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialist located in Brookhaven, Georgia and I’m here to help you watch your mouth. 

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers are porcelain or ceramic jackets that are bonded onto the teeth and the smile zone. Traditionally speaking, the smile zone is usually the front six to eight teeth on the top and front, six to eight teeth on the bottom. Every patient is unique and we take smile design very seriously. Each case is meticulously planned for ideal aesthetics and work through from start to finish with our lab technician to make sure we’ve got the ideal smile design for each individual patient.

What Do Veneers Cover?

By design, veneers usually cover the front of the teeth and wrap around the sides so we can present an aesthetic appeal. They usually don’t modify the backside or the roof of the mouth side, so a lot of times we don’t have to change the bite or affect how the teeth come together so the bite feels natural and there are no major changes. 

So veneers are very thin and require minimal tooth production. That’s one of the big advantages is that we can maintain a lot of your natural teeth and don’t have to take away excess tooth structure. 

So who should consider getting veneers? Veneers are a great option for patients that are unhappy with the appearance of their smile and have minimal fillings or crowns in the anterior area. Veneers can completely transform your smile and give you that smile you’ve been looking for your whole life.

Veneers are a great option for patients that have generally healthy teeth and are mostly in the right place, just needing aesthetic improvement, whether that’s from color or slight misshaped size, veneers can mask that and provide a uniform appearance. 

What is the Process of Getting Veneers? 

Basically, there’s two different types of veneers. There are chairside veneers, which are done in one appointment at the chair side, and then there are porcelain or ceramic veneers, which require an impression and a lab technician to make those lab made. Veneers require a second appointment after we receive them back from the lab to bond them onto the teeth. 

Chairside Veneers

Chairside veneers are done in one day and involve the dentist, basically freehanding or sculpting the teeth to give the ideal appearance. The material that we use for those is a tooth-colored resin material. So it’s very similar to the filling material that you get on their back teeth. It’s more aesthetic, it can be polished, nicer, and we design basically and bond the tooth to give you an ideal smile. Chairside veneers are great because they’re a quick solution. The downside is that it is a long appointment. It can be time-consuming and they don’t last as long. The reason for this is the material itself is not as durable as ceramic or porcelain. Chairside veneers, while they’re great, also tend to stain quicker and break down because you’re actually bonding the structure to the tooth, and that creates an area where it might be visible and stain earlier than porcelain. 

Ceramic Veneers

So lab veneers require a second appointment, but the payoff is definitely worth it. The advantage is you send it off to a lab and the lab technician can create everything on a benchtop, make it ideal, looks beautiful, and the results are phenomenal. 

How Does The Whole Veneers Process Work?

Your First Veneers Appointment

The first step in this whole process is for you to come and meet us. We wanna get to know you. We wanna learn what your ideal smile design is, learn your health history, and do a complete dental examination to make sure that your teeth are healthy and they’re a good option for veneers. Everyone has a different idea of what’s beautiful and we wanna make sure we understand what your goal is so we can design the smile together. 

So once we’ve determined that veneers are a good option for your teeth, the next step is to take records and digital impressions. This allows me to get an accurate scan of your mouth so I can sit down with my lab technician and we can plan your case from start to finish. We do this digitally so it’s quicker, it’s more accurate, and I get better feedback from my lab technician. 

The next step is to have you come back and look at the design of the veneers. So essentially my lab will take our design and make a digital wax up and print a model so that I can show you where I plan on going with your teeth and show you the roadmap that I’m gonna use to get us to our final solution. 

The next step is to have the lab make us a digital wax-up. So they take a digital version and create a hard model that I can use to show you where our plan is and also I can use that as my template to make you temporary veneers that you wear while he’s making the permanent version. 

Your Preparation Appointment

At that appointment we’ll have you come in, we’ll get you nice and numb and if you’re anxious or nervous, we have nitrous, we have oral sedation, we have IV sedation. Those are all options, but for the most part, veneers are great because they’re much less invasive. So most patients can be numb, totally happy, and we start the process of removing just the minimal amount of tooth structure necessary to create those veneers. We will make an impression and I’ll make you temporary veneers based on the model that we worked on. So that day you’ll leave with a temporary version of your final product. This allows us to road test and make sure we like the design and shape and contour of those veneers. 

There are typically about three weeks between the preparation appointment and the delivery appointment. That’s about how long it takes my lab to make your custom veneers.

Your Final Veneer Appointment

So the third and final appointment is the big day. That’s the day you get your beautiful veneers. It’s 50-50. Some patients prefer to be numb just so they’re comfortable. Other patients if they didn’t have any sensitivity or any issues are totally fine without being numbed. So we removed the temporaries, cleaned the tooth up, make sure everything looks nice, and we’ll try the veneers in it. We let you look at ’em because I will never submit anything unless you’re totally happy. So once we all look at them, determine we love them, and determine that everything is great, just the way we design, we will chemically bond the veneers onto the tooth with the resin cement. Clean everything up, make sure you love it, and then you’re good to go. 

One of the big advantages of the lab-made veneers is that they are chemically and mechanically bonded to the tooth. This creates a permanent seal that blocks out bacteria and really goes a long way in preventing decay or anything from speaking up underneath the veneers. 

Summarizing the Veneers Process

The whole process is typically three appointments. The first appointment is record-taking, getting to know you, and helping us make sure we’ve got your ideal smile design planned out. Second appointment, that’s when the business happens. We get you nice and numb. We do our preparations, take our impressions, and I make you temporaries. At the third appointment, we deliver your permanent veneers for your beautiful smile. 

One question I get a lot is how often do veneers need to be replaced? The mouth is a very harsh environment and every, every case is different. So it’s hard for me to give a blanket statement on how long they should last. One example I like to give is that dental insurances, which are notoriously stingy will pay to have veneers replaced every five years. So if you look at that as kind of the national average, that’s probably the minimum you would expect. But in our practice, we expect a lot longer than that because if you have a healthy mouth, a patient does a good job of oral hygiene, you have a quality lab and quality materials and proper smile design, you should expect a much longer lifespan. 

What is the Cost of Veneer Treatment? 

Well, every patient is different. And what’s good for one person’s mouth is too much in another person’s mouth. Some people might just need the front two teeth. Some people might need more than that. It really is impossible to give one price for everyone. Veneers cost the same as crowns, so it’s best to look at them as an investment in your mouth. The confidence and self-esteem boost that you’ll get from having a set of veneers is well worth the investment.

How do I maintain these veneers? 

The most important part of maintaining veneers and getting the best lifespan is good oral home care. Taking care of your teeth and not putting the veneers under duress are the two best things you can do. The dental ceramics are extremely strong when bonded to the tooth, but there are certain things you can do that can overwhelm that bond and either cause them to pop off or cause them to break. 

The primary cause of veneer breakage is usually patient habits such as nail biting, chewing on pencils, etc. My number one pet peeve, opening packages with your teeth. Terrible idea. These are all things that you shouldn’t do with veneers. To be honest you shouldn’t do them with your natural teeth either but veneers are gonna be more prone to breaking if you do things like that. So the bottom line is if you brush, floss, and take care of your veneers like your actual teeth, you should expect a long lifespan from it.