Chances are you’ve seen celebrities that had great results with veneers and so you’re thinking, is that right for me? Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston. I’m an experienced prosthodontist and the director of Dental Implant Aesthetic Specialists in Brookhaven, Georgia.
In this article I am going to share with you the important positives and negatives and reasons why you may or may not want to choose dental veneers for your treatment.
What are Dental Veneers?
So let’s briefly recap what dental veneers are. Dental veneers are essentially thin jackets of porcelain that go over the front of teeth to give the appearance of aesthetic natural teeth. Some of the advantages of these are minimal reduction. So we just take away a little bit of tooth structure that allows us to have the adequate thickness of ceramic to give the appearance of a beautiful smile.I like to explain to my patients that veneers are very similar to press-on nails and that they’re a thin jacket you bond with the tooth structure that gives the appearance of a nice healthy tooth. They’re more durable, they’re much more aesthetic. But it’s the same premise that we reduce some structure and we adhere the porcelain to the tooth. Veneers are a great treatment option for teeth that are pretty much in the right location, are definitely healthy, maybe have a little bit of discoloration, don’t need to be reduced down for crowns, but need more than just some tooth-colored bonding.
Con #1: There’s Little Room for Error
This is true. Once a veneer has broken or chipped, it’s very difficult to repair in-mouth because porcelain needs to be made outside the mouth in a certified dental laboratory and bonded in place. The most important aspect to prevent this from happening is proper planning.
Proper tooth reduction, smile design, making sure that the edges of where the veneer meets the tooth aren’t under a lot of force. These are all factors that we take into consideration to prevent this from happening.
Con #2: Popping Off
The dental veneer actually becomes dislodged from the tooth. One of the downsides of veneers is that they are just adhesively bonded to the tooth. Unlike a crown which goes around the tooth, it has natural retention, a veneer relies solely on an adhesive bond to keep it in place. So to avoid this from happening, you need to make sure that the veneer is bonded and not in a direction opposite to where the forces are coming in the mouth. Many of these factors that cause that veneer to dislodge or pop off can be avoided by proper planning.
You don’t wanna put veneers on teeth that are heavily restored because you can’t bond. There’s not a lot of tooth structure to bond to, you don’t want to put it on a tooth and someone who is a grinder or bruxism because they generate so many forces that you’re gonna overwhelm the bonding strength of that cement.
You also don’t want to put veneers on short teeth, because these veneers require a surface to bond to. Shorter teeth are much more difficult to get that adequate retention and in those cases that we do see, veneers tend to pop off more than we’d like.
Con #3: Color Mismatch
One of the most difficult things to do in dentistry is to do a single veneer on a front tooth. The reason for this is because to match that one veneer to the natural tooth is very difficult, especially if you’ve got different color shading, different shapes, and sizes.
So for that reason, a lot of times we will do a complete smile analysis, take a look, and determine that it might be best to do both the two front teeth. So you’ve got symmetry. Sometimes you do the front four teeth, and actually, the most common veneer case is from canine to canine.
Basically all those teeth in your smile zone – If we can control them and design them all at once, we can give a uniform aesthetic appeal. Sometimes it’s necessary in certain cases, your Julia Roberts, the people that go all the way back and show teeth, we can expand back to the premolars. But every case is different and that’s why we like to do a full smile analysis and make sure we provide the right veneer treatment for you.
Con #4: Sensitivity
Your teeth might be sensitive to hot or cold afterward. Unfortunately, this is very common. Anytime we do any kind of procedure where we’re removing tooth structure, you always take away a little bit off of that protective layer of the tooth over the nerve. The big advantage of veneers is not only are we very minimally reducing the teeth, the goal is to keep that bonded layer and that outer enamel surface layer. So sensitivity does happen. The biggest time that we have that sensitivity is usually a couple weeks after we prepare the teeth. The reason for this is that we’ve reduced some tooth structures and you have temporary veneers that don’t create as good a seal as the final veneer. Once we’ve had the permanent veneers on, everything is sealed off, everything is closed. There are no areas for that underlying tooth structure to be exposed to cold or hot in your mouth.
Sometimes it takes a while for the tooth to calm down. In order to bond the veneers onto the tooth we have to use chemicals, and sometimes the teeth don’t like those chemicals and it takes a while for them to kind of settle back in and recover from the trauma.
Of course, with all this said, we’ve covered the cons. Let’s talk about the benefits. Veneers are a wonderful treatment option and we love doing veneers. The results are amazing and people are always happy.
Pro #1: Solution for Minor Cracks
Veneers are a great solution for minor cracks. Minor cosmetic defects, and minor discoloration. These are all things that can be covered up and camouflaged to give the appearance of a beautiful smile. Also, if your teeth are discolored and whitening is not an option, Veneers are a great solution for totally covering up and masking the underlying tooth structure.
Pro #2: They Look and Feel Natural
They’re made to look like your natural teeth. We don’t want you to look like you’ve got a big fake set of teeth. So the thin, thin layer of porcelain allows us to give you a very lifelike look.
Pro #3: Your Bite Stays the Same
One of the other advantages is with a veneer we only cover the sides in front of the tooth, so your natural tooth on the backside remains untouched. This allows your bite to maintain how it is so when you leave, you bite just the same as you were when you came in. So everything feels a lot more natural. You don’t have to have an adjustment period where the bite doesn’t feel right or something’s hitting heavy. It’s just your natural bite but looks a lot nicer.
Pro #4: They Are Low Maintenance
As we discussed before, because veneers are just on the front side of the teeth there’s no change in the bite to get used to. Unlike implant crowns or bridges or more complicated procedures, we aren’t creating any areas that are harder to clean. In fact, a lot of times with veneers by design, we’re filling the spaces and those food traps to eliminate that. So it actually makes your home care a little easier. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t have to brush and treat your teeth like you did before, but it does mean there’s not a lot of extra work involved to maintain that smile pro.
Pro #5: Increased Confidence in Your Smile
It is absolutely amazing what a set of veneers can do to transform somebody’s smile, with minimal reduction procedures two or three appointments, we can take someone who’s ashamed, not happy, embarrassed with their smile to someone who is just beaming with pride and honestly can change your whole self-esteem and confidence.
Can Veneers Replace Old Crowns?
So a question we get a lot is, can veneers replace old crowns or cover up severely defective or broken down teeth? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The veneers are a great solution if you’ve got healthy teeth and you’ve got minimal spaces. If you have an old crown, unfortunately, it just has to be replaced with a new crown. The nice thing is now we have ceramics that we use the same material to make the crowns and the veneers out of. So it’s not uncommon at all for us to have a set of teeth where some are crowns, and some are veneers. And the most important thing is our lab technician makes them all at the same time with the same materials. So from the outside and the appearance, they all look symmetrical, they look the exact same, and no one knows what’s a crown and what’s a veneer.
So if you’re thinking about getting dental veneers, please reach out to us at drbrentlangston.com and call us for an appointment.