Improve your smile with veneers
Veneers are thin shells of dental material that are custom-made to fit your teeth. They look like natural teeth, but without imperfections. Veneers can be used to correct a wide range of dental issues, such as:
- Enamel that is worn, dull or chipped
- Stained teeth
- Crooked or misshapen teeth
- Uneven spaces or large gaps between the upper front teeth
Veneers are made from either ceramic or composite resin. Your dentist will help you choose the material that is best for you. Each type of veneer has its own benefits.
A porcelain veneer is placed
A ceramic veneer is a thin shell that is custom-made to fit on the front surface of your tooth.
Ceramic veneers have some benefits. For example, they:
- are strong and long-lasting
- have a natural-looking surface
Steps to placing a ceramic veneer
- To prepare the tooth, your dentist usually removes a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of your tooth. This makes room for the veneers so that your teeth look natural.
- Your dentist takes an impression to make a mold of the prepared tooth. It is also possible to use an intraoral scanner to make a 3D computer model instead of using a mold. Your dentist will also work with you to decide on the veneer shade that will look best for your smile.
- The impression or 3D model is sent to a dental lab that custom-makes the veneer to fit your tooth. This may take several days or your dentist may have a lab that can make and deliver the veneer on the same day. If it will take more than one day to create your veneer, your dentist may give you a temporary veneer to wear until your ceramic veneer is ready.
- When the veneer is ready, your dentist will place it on your tooth to check its fit and shape. After any adjustments, your teeth are cleaned and the veneer is bonded to the tooth.
- Your dentist may need to make minor adjustments to your bite at a later appointment.
Composite resin veneers
A composite resin veneer is made from a tooth-colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth.
Composite resin veneers have some benefits. For example, they:
- may require less tooth enamel to be removed than for a ceramic veneer
- may mean fewer visits to the dentist — sometimes a composite resin veneer can take just one visit
- are easier to fix if they get damaged; composite veneers are generally not as stain-resistant or wear-resistant as ceramic veneers, but they can be repaired easily and quickly
Steps to place a composite resin veneer:
- Your dentist will prepare or reshape your tooth, then carefully bond and sculpt the composite material. Your dentist will work with you to decide on the veneer shade that will look best for your smile.
- A special light is used to harden the composite resin and bond it to your tooth.
- Finally, the veneer is smoothed and polished to look like your natural tooth.
What you should know before you get a veneer
- The process cannot be undone because tooth enamel is removed in order to place the veneer. Your dentist will work to remove as little enamel as possible.
- Your teeth and gums must be healthy. Your dentist can treat any disease or decay before your veneer is placed.
- Veneers are not always a good choice if you clench or grind your teeth or have a deep overbite, because the thin veneers may chip or break.
- A veneer may chip, crack, wear down or come loose over time. It may need to be re-bonded, repaired or replaced.
As with all your dental care, discuss your expectations and treatment options with your dentist. Regular dental visits are important for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
After you get veneers
- Veneers can chip or break under pressure. Avoid biting your fingernails and chewing on hard objects, like pencils or ice.
- It may take a few days to get used to the feel of your veneer. Tell your dentist if your bite does not feel right after the veneer has been placed. They will correct it before you leave the office.
- Keep your teeth and gums clean by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day. You can still get decay and cavities under or around a veneer.
- Wear a mouthguard if you play a sport or do an activity where you could have an injury to your mouth.
- Use oral health care products that have the ADA Seal of Acceptance so that you can be sure they are both safe and effective in keeping your teeth and mouth healthy.