One of the modern options for improving the appearance of your smile is veneers. While more costly when compared to tooth whitening, veneers are a good option for teeth that resist whitening or other reasons like altering tooth shape, size, and color.
However, veneers aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are different factors to consider, such as if you’re a good candidate for veneers based on your medical history and if the financial cost fits within your budget. This guide will explain what veneers are, how much you can expect to pay for them, and who are the best candidates for veneers.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin coverings that are placed over the front part of the tooth. There are two different types of veneers that are used in dentist offices today: porcelain veneers and composite-resin veneers.
Porcelain veneers are shells that are attached to the teeth. The shells are wafer-thin and are custom-made to fit over each individual tooth so that they can look completely natural once they are affixed. Some benefits of porcelain veneers include:
- Strong and long-lasting
- Natural-looking surface
- More stain resistant
Composite-resin veneers are different from porcelain veneers because instead of a shell that covers the tooth, the composite-resin is made from a tooth colored filling material that is bonded to the tooth. Like porcelain veneers, composite-resin veneers have several benefits including:
- Less tooth enamel needs to be removed when compared to porcelain veneers to place them on the teeth
- Cost less than porcelain veneers on average
- While not as strong as porcelain veneers, composite-resin veneers can be quickly and easily repaired
There’s a lot to consider when thinking of getting veneers, and your dentist can help you decide which type is best for you.
How are veneers placed?
The process of placing veneers is different for each type of veneer. Porcelain veneers are custom-made for each individual. The process starts by removing enamel from the front and sides of the teeth. Then the dentist will take impressions of the prepared teeth. These impressions are then sent to a dental laboratory, where the veneer is made to fit the tooth.
In some modern cosmetic dentistry offices, CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing are used to develop the veneers in a single visit. It may require multiple visits to the dentist's office to get porcelain veneers placed and properly fitted.
The process is similar for composite-resin veneers. First, the teeth are reshaped and prepared. Then the dentist will bond and sculpt the filling-like material to each tooth. A special light is then used to harden the composite and bond it to the tooth. Finally, the composite-resin veneers are polished and smoothed to look like natural teeth. This is usually done in one visit.1
Who should get dental veneers?
Dental veneers are a good option for those looking to improve their appearance and correct cosmetic problems such as:
- Stained or discolored teeth that can’t be whitened by bleaching
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Worn-down teeth
- Misaligned, irregularly shaped, or uneven teeth
- Gapped teeth
However, dental veneers are not for everyone. First, you’ll need a good amount of healthy tooth enamel, since a layer of that will have to be removed to allow placement of the veneers, and your gums should be healthy. In addition, you’ll need to have good general oral health and be committed to a strict oral hygiene routine. Veneers may not be a good option for people who clench or grind their teeth, as this can cause the thin veneers to chip or break.
Work with your dentist to decide whether dental veneers are the best solution for the cosmetic issue that’s bothering you. If veneers aren’t right for you, other cosmetic dentistry options could help fix the cosmetic issues you’re looking to solve. For example, professional teeth whitening could get rid of unsightly stains, while metal or clear braces could help with crooked and misaligned teeth.2
How much do veneers cost?
Veneers are not typically covered by most dental insurance because they are considered cosmetic. According to Consumer Guide to Dentistry, porcelain veneers cost between $925 to $2,500 per tooth, while composite-resin veneers cost between $250 to $1,500 per tooth. Veneers aren’t permanent, so time is also a factor when weighing the cost of veneers. Porcelain veneers last 10 to 15 years with proper maintenance and care, while composite-resin veneers only last five to seven years.3
Now that you’ve done your research about veneers, it’s time to talk to your dentist. If you are experiencing a cosmetic issue with your teeth, make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your options.