Safest Teeth Whiteners
The safest ways to whiten your teeth explained
Veneers are custom-made shells that fit over teeth to improve their appearance, protect them from damage, and create a beautiful smile. The tooth-colored shells bond to your teeth and change their length, size, color, shape, and function.
Veneers are considered a cosmetic dental procedure because they are elective, or not medically necessary. They are otherwise known as a "smile makeover."
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth's in-house dentists, "dental veneers are an excellent way to hide discolored, crooked or damaged teeth. But it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages before getting them."
Most patients opt for veneers to improve their appearance, but they also have restorative functions and protect the tooth’s surface from damage. They are a great option for patients who have tooth gaps, chips, or stains.
The procedure is relatively quick and minimally invasive. Depending on your tooth color and desired outcome, veneers are available in many different shades.
Dental veneers are custom-made solutions for discolored teeth, tooth spacing, and crooked teeth.
There are five common types of materials used to create a dental veneer, including:
Porcelain is the most common material used for veneers. Porcelain veneers are tooth-colored, versatile, completely custom, and can last 10 to 15 years. They are made of ceramic materials and resist stains better than composite veneers.
The primary advantage of porcelain veneers is the procedure's conservative and minimally invasive nature. Minimal preparation is needed for successful shell placement. This is not the case for full restorative procedures like dental crowns.
To prepare a tooth for a porcelain veneer, a dentist will first select the tooth shade that best matches the neighboring teeth. Then they will reshape the tooth and take an impression so the dental laboratory can make the veneer.
A temporary veneer is placed during the first appointment. At the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary veneer and prepare the tooth for the porcelain veneer. They will do this by cleaning and applying an acidic material to roughen the tooth surface. This allows the veneer to stick to the tooth better.
The dentist will apply a special cement that allows the veneer to stay on the tooth. The cement is hardened with a blue-colored light. The final step is to remove any excess cement from the tooth and check the bite. A follow-up visit may be necessary after a few weeks.
Composite veneers are an alternative to porcelain veneers. They are made of the same material used for tooth-colored cavity fillings.
These veneers differ from porcelain veneers in a few ways. For example, composite veneers may cost just $300, whereas porcelain veneers cost upwards of $1,000.
Composite veneers only take one appointment (same-day option). They are sculpted directly onto the teeth rather than in a dental laboratory. Porcelain veneers require more than one appointment.
Like porcelain veneers, composite veneers require tooth recontouring before placement and can be placed directly on uncut enamel. However, composite veneers typically last 5 to 7 years versus up to 15 years for porcelain veneers.
Composite is also more conservative than porcelain. When composite chips, the chipped area can be repaired. When porcelain chips, the entire veneer must be replaced.
Onlays are typically used to restore posterior teeth. However, palatal veneers are a special type of onlay used to restore anterior teeth. Causes of palatal damage to anterior teeth include deep bite, bruxism, and dental erosion.
Erosion can be caused by chronic vomiting and severe acid reflux. Palatal onlays are a great solution to restore only the compromised part, leaving the rest of the teeth untouched.
Lumineers are a brand of veneers that are ultra-thin (0.2 mm) and translucent. They replicate the shape and color of natural tooth enamel, even more so than porcelain veneers.
Lumineers are so thin that they do not require tooth reduction or recontouring. They can last for over 20 years, versus 10 to 15 years for porcelain veneers.
Although convenient, they have a greater chance of chipping than traditional veneers, often resulting in a shorter lifespan.
Removable veneers (custom-made snap-on) are less invasive, non-permanent, and cost less than traditional veneers. They are also removable.
Permanent veneers are irreversible because dentists have to remove part of the tooth’s enamel. Removable veneers do not require tooth reduction.
However, removable veneers can be uncomfortable, do not blend in as well with your natural teeth, and must be replaced often.
Read more about snap-on veneers.
The five types of veneers include porcelain veneers, composite veneers, palatal veneers, Lumineers, and removable veneers. Porcelain is the most expensive and natural-looking option. Removable veneers are the cheapest and least natural-looking option.
Veneers make up about 26 percent of cosmetic procedures performed by dentists. There are a few reasons why dental veneers may be chosen over other procedures. These include:
In cases of root canals, crowns or 3/4 crowns are recommended. Veneers for anterior root canal-treated teeth are not routinely performed. They are also never placed on premolars or molars.
After a root canal, a crown may be placed on the tooth to protect it from fracturing. In some cases, root canal treatment can lead to tooth discoloration over time.
A veneer or other restorative material may be placed to cover the discoloration. Veneers can also be placed on premolars, but they are rarely placed on first molars.
Veneers change the color, length, and shape of teeth. They can also be used to restore chipped, stained, or worn down teeth.
In general, veneer placement consists of the following steps:
The veneer placement process consists of five steps and two different appointments. It can also take a few weeks for your veneers to be made.
Traditional veneers, such as porcelain and composite, are great options for those looking to improve their smile quickly, safely, and effectively.
As with any dental procedure, there are risks. The risks are not life-threatening, and with proper care, they can be avoided. Common conditions and side effects of veneers may include:
Tooth sensitivity is common during the first 3 weeks after veneer placement.
If sensitivity lasts longer than 3 months, there is an underlying issue. For example, a tooth’s nerve may have been irreversibly inflamed during the procedure, causing an infection. Contact your dentist for treatment options.
There is also a risk of dentin damage after veneer placement, but it is less common.
During the enamel removal process, it is possible for the underlying dentin to get damaged. A poorly fitted veneer can also change the alignment of a patient's bite, resulting in tooth sensitivity, bruxism, or jaw pain.
People with untreated dental conditions before veneer placement, such as enamel erosion, are more at risk of veneer failure. Alternative restorations, including crowns or cosmetic bonding, are often recommended to replace a veneer.
Some side effects/risks of veneers include tooth sensitivity, irreversible tooth damage (rare), and veneer failure (also rare).
The cost of veneers depends on the type and how many you get:
Porcelain Veneers — $925-$2,500 (per tooth)
Composite Veneers — $250-$1,500 (per tooth)
Removable Veneers — $470-$600 (for both upper and lower teeth impressions)
Lumineers — $800-$2,000 (per tooth)
Palatal Onlays — $650-$1,200 (per tooth)
How do veneers compare to other dental treatments?
A veneer bonds to the front surface of a tooth. They are less invasive, thinner, and more brittle than crowns, which means they have a higher risk of fracture or dislodgement. They improve a patient’s appearance by changing the shape and color of teeth.
A crown covers the entire tooth. It is thicker than a veneer and requires more tooth structure removal before placement. Unlike veneers, crowns are used for restorative purposes, such as fixing severely decayed or broken teeth.
Veneers are long-lasting restorations, while at-home or professional teeth whitening is just a temporary treatment.
Since everyone has different diets, lifestyles, and habits, such as smoking, there is no way to predict how long whitening will last.
On the other hand, a veneer lasts between 5 and 15 years, depending on the type of veneer and how well you care for your teeth. Porcelain veneers resist staining from coffee, wine, and smoking.
Professional teeth whitening is a cheaper, less invasive option than veneers. Both veneers and whitening are completely safe. Veneers are permanent and cannot be removed after placement.
One reason people opt for teeth whitening is that there are a lot of affordable at-home teeth whitening options.
When patients have large gaps between their teeth or overcrowding, veneers resolve the issues within a few office visits.
Orthodontic treatment — such as braces or clear aligners — can take up to 18 months to fully complete, while aligners take about 20 weeks. You must also visit the office more often for check-ups while receiving orthodontic treatment.
While orthodontic treatment takes longer, it is sometimes the best option for patients, especially children. This is because braces reposition the jaw, fix a patient’s bite, and correct other oral health issues. Veneers are typically used for cosmetic reasons.
Braces are generally less expensive than dental veneers. Most veneers are at least $1,000 per tooth, and people typically get six to eight veneers. Invisalign ranges from $3,500 to $6,000, so treatment is less expensive than a full set of veneers.
Direct-to-consumer clear aligners allow you to straighten your teeth at home. These clear aligners cost less than Invisalign and can provide similar levels of treatment.
Read more about Invisalign alternatives.
Dental crowns are recommended over veneers if you have tooth decay, fractured teeth, or root-canal treated teeth. Veneers are recommended for cosmetic concerns. Teeth whitening treatment may be a better option if you only have minor tooth discoloration. Lastly, braces or clear aligners are recommended over veneers if you have severe spacing issues or jaw misalignment.
Since veneers are cosmetic, they are never covered by insurance. There may be an exception if a veneer is needed because of an injury.
Yes, most types of veneers are permanent, including composite and porcelain veneers.
Before placement, your dentist has to shave down some of your natural tooth structure. Lumineers, however, are not permanent. They do not require tooth reduction or recontouring because they are very thin. Lumineers are more prone to fractures and chips.
As long as you take care of them, veneers are safe and not bad for your teeth. It is also rare for veneers to crack or break.
It is rare for veneers to cause pain and discomfort during and after the procedure is complete.
This is because the procedure is minimally-invasive and only requires removing a small amount of tooth enamel.
Just like natural teeth, some types of veneers can stain over time.
However, most veneers are made out of stain-resistant materials. So if you take care of them, they will stay white for many years.
There are two essential factors that determine how long veneers will last.
After they are placed, you should begin taking care of them like normal teeth. This includes practicing optimal oral health at home (brushing and flossing regularly) and visiting your dentist for teeth cleanings every six months.
No. Once your tooth enamel is removed, it cannot grow back. This is why veneers are considered permanent restorations.