If you hide your smile because of misaligned and discolored teeth or have uneven teeth that affect your bite, your dentist may have recommended veneers.
Veneers are one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures performed each year and help people achieve the smile they desire. However, many people express concerns when it comes to the health of their teeth after the application of dental veneers.
While the application of veneers does require subtle changes to your teeth and veneers must be replaced if they become damaged or fall off, the necessary changes to the tooth do not ruin the health of your teeth. In fact, in many ways, veneers can help improve your overall oral health.
- Veneers improve smiles without ruining teeth; they need replacing if damaged or lost.
- These thin shells address discoloration, chips, gaps, and other cosmetic concerns.
- Veneers look natural, are stain-resistant, and require no special care.
- Tooth enamel is removed for veneer placement, but it doesn’t harm teeth.
- Good oral hygiene is still needed to avoid cavities and make veneers last longer.
What do veneers do?
Veneers are a cosmetic dentistry procedure designed to help transform your smile. When applied by an experienced dental professional, veneers can help address many cosmetic concerns, including:
- Discolored teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Misaligned, uneven, or misshapen teeth
- Close small gaps between teeth
- Restore even tooth surface
- Cover up obvious fillings
What are veneers?
Veneers are thin dental shells made from porcelain or resin composite material that is permanently bonded to the outer surface of your teeth. They can be applied to a single tooth or multiple teeth. The size, shape, and color of veneers are custom to each patient and tooth they are treating.
What are the benefits of veneers?
Veneers offer the ability to improve the appearance of your smile, giving you more confidence and self-esteem. Additional benefits of veneers can include:
- The ability to customize them directly to the needs of each patient, including color, size, and shape.
- Creates a very natural tooth appearance, making it difficult to tell the difference between a tooth with a veneer and a natural tooth.
- Applying veneers to all your teeth can deliver a bright white smile that never fades, as porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- No special care is necessary to maintain your veneers. Just follow normal brushing and flossing guidelines.
How do veneers affect your teeth?
The reason many people question veneers and wonder if they damage the natural tooth has to do with how they are applied. Because veneers are thin shells, a dentist must drill or shave away a thin layer of the natural enamel on your tooth. This allows for the veneer to sit flush with your tooth and not look bulky or out of place. Because enamel does not grow back, your tooth does lose a portion of the enamel. However, the veneer is directly bonded to the remaining enamel surface.
How much enamel is drilled during the process?
Veneers require a layer of enamel to be removed in order to accommodate the thickness of the veneer. However, this is a much smaller amount than you may think. In general, your dentist will remove around ½ millimeters of enamel from the surface of your tooth while still leaving behind a substantial layer.
Unfortunately, because enamel does not grow back, once you commit to veneers, they will need to remain in place. If one becomes loose or falls off, you will need to replace it with a new veneer.
What are the disadvantages of veneers?
Just as with any other procedure, there are some disadvantages that come with veneers that you should consider before committing to the procedure. These can include:
- Veneers do not change color, so keep this in mind when applying a single veneer. While it may match your neighboring teeth now, if they become discolored or you apply a whitening treatment, your veneer is likely to stand out.
- Veneers are not as strong as fillings or other dental work and can be more prone to chipping and cracking.
- If you have a history of nail-biting, bruxism, or chewing on hard objects, veneers are not recommended. In addition, dental veneers are not recommended for those with a history of gum disease.
- Veneers are a lifetime commitment. If your veneer becomes loose or falls off, you will need to replace it with another veneer.
Can you get cavities under veneers?
Veneers are applied to the surface area of the tooth, so the natural tooth is still exposed to plaque and tartar. Just like with your natural teeth, a good oral hygiene routine is necessary in order to reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
How long do veneers last?
The lifespan of your veneers depends on how well you take care of them. In general, porcelain veneers will last between 10 and 12 years, while composite veneers will need to be replaced sooner. With optimal oral hygiene, however, veneers can last much longer.
How to properly take care of veneers
In order to extend the life of your veneers, you will need to follow a good oral hygiene routine. The American Dental Association recommended brushing twice a day for at least two minutes with a soft bristle toothbrush and flossing at least once a day. In order to help veneers last, you want to avoid anything that can cause potential damage, such as grinding your teeth, biting hard objects, and playing contact sports without a mouthguard. In addition, you want to visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and dental exams.
Frequently asked questions
Here we answer some common questions patients ask about veneers.
Do veneers damage your natural teeth?
Veneers do not damage your natural teeth; however, a small layer of your natural enamel must be removed in order to best place the veneers. While this enamel will not grow back, and you will need to replace any damaged veneers, the process does not cause harm to your teeth.
Can you go back to normal teeth after veneers?
No. The application of veneers requires a small amount of enamel to be removed before the veneer is put into place. While the veneer acts as another layer of protection over this area, if the veneer is damaged or removed, there is no longer that layer and your tooth may be at risk. If you lose a veneer, it must be replaced.
Are veneers bad for your teeth?
No, veneers are not bad for your teeth and, when applied by a dental professional, can actually improve the function and appearance of your teeth.
Improving your smile with veneers
If you are unhappy with your smile, veneers provide a great cosmetic dental option that can address everything from misshapen teeth to discoloration. While they do require an alteration to your natural tooth’s enamel, they do not damage the health of the tooth, but rather improve the appearance, giving you back your self-confidence and smile. Properly caring for your veneers is the same as with your natural teeth and, in many cases, veneers can last for more than a decade or more.
Helping you get the smile you want
At New Leaf Rohnert Park, we are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal oral health and a smile that they can be proud to share with others. Unfortunately, discoloration or uneven teeth can often leave people hiding their smiles. The application of veneers helps to restore or create the beautiful smile they dream of, giving them the self-confidence to share their smile with the world.
Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how veneers can give you a smile you really want.