Ever wanted “movie star” teeth? Chances are, the picture perfect smiles you see in Hollywood and on the big (and little) screen aren’t natural – but the crafty work of skilled cosmetic dentists. That’s right, nobody’s genes are that good. Chances are you’re looking at veneers.
But if you’ve ever considered getting that “perfect” look for yourself – you might wonder if the investment is worth it, and what sort of benefits and downsides there are to living with veneers.
First, let’s start with the why and what behind veneers. What can they treat? In most cases, the goal of a dental veneer is to change the color, shape, size, and (sometimes) to mask other, more tricky cosmetic problems including:
- Discolored teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Gapped teeth
- Broken teeth
- Teeth that are irregularly shaped
How long do veneers last?
A typical “set” of veneers will last between 6 and 15 years before needing to be replaced. Unfortunately, this is generally considered an “elective” procedure and isn’t covered by insurance.
What kind of veneers are available?
Veneers are available in a few different compositions. This includes:
- Porcelain veneers: The most expensive and the most natural looking, porcelain veneers are made to look exactly like your natural teeth (minus the imperfections).
- Instant veneers: Instant veneers are a fast option that can often be applied during the same dentist appointment as your initial consultation. In many cases they are used to cover up a broken tooth and are generally less expensive than porcelain because they aren’t as closely matched to your original teeth.
- Removable veneers: Removable veneers are a newer type of veneer that fall somewhere between instant and porcelain veneers. Unlike instant veneers, they are custom made to match your teeth and can be removed – but they are not as suitable a long-term solution.
- Composite veneers: While instant veneers and removable veneers are better suited to specific scenarios, unique to the patient. Composite veneers are most like porcelain veneers in that they can address the widest range of general cosmetic problems faced by the average dental patient. Composite veneers are less expensive than porcelain but are usually a little less durable. Fortunately, as dental technology gets better and better – the aesthetics of composite veneers have as well. Meaning composite veneers can often be as good looking as porcelain.
Are there any disadvantages?
While veneers are a great way to correct imperfections and boost your self-confidence, there can be some downsides. One of those – is the fact that veneers don’t change color like your natural teeth will. This can lead to some slight variation between natural teeth and veneers. Fortunately, this can be corrected at your dentist’s office. But it is something you should be prepared for.
Porcelain is also delicate, so veneers sometimes seem more prone to damage than your natural teeth might. so – if you’re a nailbiter, a night-grinder, or ice-chewer, change your habits or the repairs could get costly.
And under it all – your teeth can still become decayed when they’re under a veneer. This can sometimes lead to the need for root canal procedures or even a dental crown further down the road. This is a concern for patients who have a history of gum disease, weak or compromised enamel, and other underlying dental problems. Healthy teeth are the best candidates for veneers.