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What are "dental veneers"?

Cosmetic Dentistry: Porcelain Veneers

Ronald Rosenblatt, DDS (General and Cosmetic Dentistry) gives expert video advice on: Is the preparation for a dental veneer painful?; What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers?; How do I care for my dental veneers? and more...

What are "dental veneers"?

Dental veneers are a covering of the outside of the tooth, much like a veneer on wood. The dental veneer will be between half a millimeter or more in thickness and will allow the dentist to change the shape, the color and the size of the teeth, and make a wonderful smile.

What is the difference between "porcelain" and "resin" veneers?

The major difference between porcelain and resin veneers has to do with the properties of the two types. Porcelain veneers are laboratory processed and are glazed, and relatively non-porous so that they will not stain. Resin veneers, by their very nature, have large pores, and will stain over time and change their color. Plus these veneers are more susceptible to abrasion from a toothbrush.

Why would I want dental veneers?

Dental veneers are an excellent solution if you want to change the color of your teeth, or the shape of your teeth, or the size of your teeth. They are also useful if you want to close spaces between your teeth, or if you want to change your teeth from crooked to straight. Dental veneers can take care of all of this, in as little as two and a half weeks, which is a lot less time than orthodontia which could last two to 3 years and never change the color of your teeth.

What is the procedure for getting dental veneers?

You've decided you are not happy with your smile and you think that dental veneers are the solution for you. So you go to the dentist and you consult with him as to what can be accomplished with these dental veneers. You may want to change the size, the shape, or the color of your teeth. You may want to rid yourself of spaces between your teeth. You and the dentist will go over the shape that you feel and he feels would look best in your mouth. He will then create a mock up in wax of what you want them to look like. Once this is produced the dentist will prepare your teeth by trimming off some of the enamel. Then, he'll take an impression of that. And then when he is finished with that he will make temporaries for you in the shape of the mock up that the two of you have decided is best for you. Very often what you feel is a very nice look on the model does not look the way you intended in your mouth. So you'll come back two days later and make some modifications so that the smile you want is the one you are going to get.

Is the preparation for a dental veneer painful?

The preparation for a dental veneer should not be painful. Having dental veneers should be the same as having a filling placed in your tooth. And in the same way as when you have your filling placed and the dentist numbs your tooth, he will numb your tooth before placing the dental veneer. You will stay numb for a while afterwards. The dentist, after he takes the impression, will place temporaries on your teeth, and the temporaries will protect your tooth during the time that the porcelain veneer is fabricated by the laboratory.

How long will it take to attach dental veneers?

So here you are in your temporaries and you are ready to have your final veneers placed. The dentist will numb you up, take off the temporaries, and bond the permanent dental veneers into your mouth, so that you have a wonderful smile. If you have somewhere between 6 and 8 dental veneers it should take about an hour and a half to two hours, for the entire bonding procedure.

What is the recovery time for dental veneers?

Dental veneers are much like a filling, in that after the filling is placed, and after the dental veneers are placed, you may have a period of a week or so when you have some sensitivity to cold. This is very normal and will pass. There is some getting used to of the shape of the dental veneers, because you started with teeth that were not the way you wanted them to be. if your teeth were very crooked, the way your teeth touched your lip when they were crooked will be very different from the way they touch your lip when they're nice and straight. Also, your speech pattern may be a little different if the teeth have been lengthened with the dental veneers. So, veneers will take some getting used to, but most people accommodate to this very rapidly.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental veneers?

The main advantage of a dental veneer is that you can change the shape, color, and size of your teeth within a two and a half week period. If you had to go through orthodontia to move these teeth around, it could take from two to three years, plus the fact that you'd have to wear some type of braces during that time, and many adults are not comfortable with that type of process. The veneers will then be placed on your teeth and are relatively stain-resistant compared to your natural teeth. The disadvantage is that you have had a surgical procedure, and any time you have a surgical procedure, things are not quite the way they were before. However, that's why you did this to begin with, so I think, on the whole, there are very few reasons not to have veneers.

How long do dental veneers last?

Your new dental veneers should last between 1 and 2 years. And it will vary depending upon how you treat them. If you chew on gravel, they are not going to last as long as if you chew on food. Also, the more you do in the way of maintenance, the longer they are going to last. If you visit your dentist regularly so that he can attend to minor things that crop up, from a bite standpoint, and from a hygiene standpoint, your dental veneers would last much longer than if you did not have the care for them.