A veneer is a thin cover that is bonded to the outside portion of the tooth. A veneer may be recommended to treat damaged, chipped, discoloured or misaligned teeth. Patients often choose a veneer to improve the appearance of their teeth.
Types of veneers
Veneers are constructed using porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain veneers are stronger, highly stain resistant and last longer than resin.
Porcelain veneers are generally placed over two appointments. They usually require some slight to moderate tooth preparation including the removal of a thin layer of enamel. At the first appointment your dentist will prepare the tooth (teeth) and take an impression to create the veneer (which is custom-made at an offsite laboratory). A temporary veneer is placed between appointments—roughly 10 days. The veneer is bonded (glued) to the tooth during second appointment. Porcelain veneers have a high success rate and are very durable once bonded in place.
Composite resin veneers
Composite resin veneers are placed in one appointment. They also require the removal of a small amount of tooth to prepare for placement and minimize bulk once the composite is placed. Once prepped, a bonding agent is applied and the composite resin is added in layers to the tooth, each layer is set using light, then shaped and polished.
Composite veneers are known to chip more than porcelain however, they are easier to repair.
A veneer may not be appropriate for all patients. If a patient has insufficient enamel the veneer may not successfully bond to the tooth; a patient who tends to clench or grind their teeth may damage the veneer; while extensive decay or damaged teeth or gum disease may need to be treated first and may require alternate treatment options, such as a crown.
Work with your dentist to discuss all available treatment options to determine the right treatment options for you.
How long do veneers last?
Porcelain veneers can last roughly 10 – 15 years while resin veneers generally last about half as long before requiring repair or replacement. Veneers can chip and/or come off so how you care for your veneers is very important. Good daily hygiene along with regular appointments for cleaning and examinations can help to maintain veneers and quickly address any problems that may develop. Avoid biting hard objects that can damage your teeth such as ice or hard candies.
What else should I know about veneers?
- As with natural teeth, veneers need appropriate care – daily brushing, flossing and regular dental examinations.
- As your dentist must remove a thin layer of enamel to place the veneer the tooth structure is altered and cannot go back to its original form. If you remove a veneer you will need to replace it.