While laser whitening may help many patients to achieve the smile they have always dreamed of, for our patients with severely stained or damaged teeth, veneers may be the best option. A dental veneer is a very thin shell, made of a hard, tooth colored material that is permanently affixed to the visible face of the tooth to create the appearance of a perfect, natural tooth.
Veneers come in two main varieties. Porcelain veneers, are custom shaped in a laboratory and then applied to the tooth surface in the dentist’s office. Composite veneers are shaped from two or more materials blended together. They are sometimes formed in the laboratory and sometimes applied directly to the patient while shaping takes place.
Who Needs Which Veneers
While veneers are considered a cosmetic dental prosthetic, due to their vast improvement in appearance, they can also repair a lot of minor to moderate damage. For patients with extensive issues, porcelain veneers are the longest lasting option. They are custom formed in the laboratory and provide a permanent fix that allows these patients to bite and chew normally, while also improving their appearance.
For patients with minor wear and tear, or superficial cracks and chips, a resin composite veneer may work best. They are less expensive, can be done more easily and provide excellent results for patients whose issues are not major. They are formed directly on the teeth and provide an excellent value for patients seeking a more beautiful smile.
In addition to providing a brighter, whiter smile, dental veneers can also help to correct some troubling issues. Minor cracks and chips are sealed and covered through veneer installation, repairing damage and preventing worsening of the condition. The shape and size of worn teeth can be restored, giving the patient a more natural appearance.
Through wear and genetic predisposition, some patients are prone to teeth that are unevenly spaced. The application of veneers can completely camouflage this condition, giving the patient an evenly spaced, brilliant smile. Veneers can also mask damage due to smoking, coffee and tea drinking and other behaviors that cause staining to dental enamel.