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Veneers: What are they, and are they right for me?

Posted August 18, 2013 in Home

Everyone loves an attractive smile, but not all are fortunate enough to be born with one. Thankfully, there are options available to achieve that “award-winning smile” with just a simple procedure.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are a custom-made, thin shield of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material that is placed and bonded over the front surface of a tooth to improve the aesthetics or protect against damage to the tooth’s surface. It may be placed on one or more teeth.

Who is a candidate for veneers?

Although veneers are not appropriate for every patient, the vast majority of people will be candidates for dental veneers. Veneers are an option for correcting many aesthetic issues such as stained, chipped, fractured, decayed or crooked teeth. It is important to seek a professional oral health assessment from a dentist to determine if veneers are an option for you.

How is the procedure performed?

A dental technician typically makes veneers in a dental lab, working from a model provided by a dentist. The entire procedure may take place in as little as two appointments. Before the veneers are designed, the front surface of the teeth will need to be reshaped by shaving off a very thin layer using a burr (a dental drill or file). The amount that is removed is minimal and equivalent to the thickness of the veneer. Next, an impression of the teeth is taken and usually sent off to the dental laboratory to cast an accurate model of the teeth, which is used to fabricate the veneers. Although this process may take up to three weeks for the final fitting, patients may be fitted with temporary veneers to protect the prepared teeth. Once the veneers are designed, they will be fitted to the prepared teeth and cemented into place. A curing light is used to activate the dental cement so that it permanently bonds the veneers to the teeth.

How long do Veneers last?

Veneers are usually an irreversible process because it is necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from the teeth to accommodate the shell. They are designed to last between 10 to 15 years, at which time they will need to be replaced. Regular cleanings from a dental hygienist are still recommended, as are regular dental checkups. To lengthen the longevity of veneers, it is recommended to avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor the veneers, such as coffee, tea, or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture and will need to be replaced.

How much do Veneers cost?

The cost of dental veneers will vary for many reasons, including the:

  • Dentist you choose

  • Number of teeth involved (number of veneers to be placed)

  • Material used (porcelain or composite resin)

  • Cost of any procedure(s) that may need to be done beforehand

If your goal is to achieve a beautiful smile and you are considering dental veneers, please call the office of Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form. Together, you and Dr. Sands can decide if dental veneers are right for you.