All About Veneers

by Dr. Edmond Suh // January - February - March 2022

Have you ever wondered why it seems like al-most every celebrity has perfect teeth? From the big screen stars to social media influen-

cers, it’s easy to see straight, white, even smiles everywhere. But in the real world, those smiles rarely ever happen without the help of dental correctors and cosmetic dentistry. Many of us wish our less-than-perfect teeth would look like those of people who have had work done on theirs.

Thanks to scientific magic in the field of dentistry, including braces, whitening treatments, and veneers, you don’t have to wish for beautiful teeth ... the smile of your dreams is easily in reach.

What’s a Veneer, Anyway?

Invented back in 1928, veneers are a shell covering designed to conceal flaws in an individual tooth. They were first created as a way to hide imperfections in those Hollywood smiles, so they only had to last an hour or two. Over the next decades, they evolved to move from “temporary” to “permanent,” staying on the enamel for years, rather than hours.

They may be tiny, but veneers pack a mighty punch. The shells are so versatile, they cover things like:
– Cracks and chips in your teeth;
– Stained teeth that won’t lighten with treatments;
– Spaces and gaps between teeth;
– Damage caused by bruxism (a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth);
– Teeth that are slightly crooked but not suitable for braces.

All About Veneers

Whatever the reason you’re unhappy with your smile, your dentist may recommend veneers – a culmination of years of technological advances. They’ve gone from a basic shell that lasted the length of a movie scene to a part of a person’s teeth that seems like it was always there.

How can something so small and thin do so much, you ask? Well, the trick is in the material used to make a veneer and the way it is bonded to the tooth.

Over the years, we’ve learned that the two best, most natural materials are composite resin and porcelain. You’ll get to pick between these two choices for your shell. Both look and feel like your regular teeth. They can be sculpted, shaped, and colored to match the rest of your smile. When your veneer is placed, the “flaws” you were unhappy with disappear instantly, transforming your mouth.

Choosing between composite resin and porcelain depends on what you’re hoping to get from the dental correctors. Not only will the final result of either type of veneer look almost identical, but the process to get them applied is pretty similar, too. But one particular difference is a standard versus a customized version. Regardless of which you choose, at your appointment, you’ll have a mold impression made of your teeth that the dentist will use to design your veneer. Standard veneers are always composite resin because they’re cheaper and easier to keep on hand in the office. The best part about this option is that your veneer can be placed as soon as the first visit. This is an excellent choice if you’ve accidentally cracked a front tooth or have a problem that needs to be covered up quickly. It’s also perfect for people on a budget. Customized veneers take a little longer before they’re ready. However, the benefit is that your veneer will match the rest of your teeth so well that you’ll forget it’s even there.

What’s the Lifespan?

How long do veneers last? Are they permanent? These and many other questions about this dental treatment are frequently asked. The answer varies, based on the kind you choose to get. For instance, temporary veneers, like the style from decades ago, can last up to a week. “Permanent” veneers, on the other hand, have a much longer lifespan, often lasting over 20 years with proper maintenance and care.

If the most important thing to you is having a veneer you never have to worry about, then porcelain is the best option, as the material is as close to a natural tooth as possible. It’s as hard and as durable – possible even more so – as human enamel. While it can last for over 20 years, composite resin veneers are likely to last five to 10 years. Although porcelain veneers are pricier, many consider them to be worth the money since they last longer, and once they’re applied, you can forget they’re there.

What About Staining?

Porcelain is also similar in color to natural teeth and is resistant to staining. Therefore, a porcelain shell is recommended for those who have high-impact jobs or hobbies. Those who consume a lot of coffee, tea, or dark soda should consider porcelain, too. It’s important to know, though, that the material can in fact stain, but it’s much harder to discolor porcelain than teeth enamel or composite resin veneers.

IS Composite Resin A Good Option?

Although porcelain veneers may last longer, composite resin veneers are certainly a popular and effective aesthetic option. Perhaps you’re on a tight budget or are in a hurry to cover a crack or chip – if so, this is a good way to go. Not having customized porcelain shells is fine since even the standard veneers look natural.

With composite resin veneers, though, you have to be more cautious about what you eat. Sticky and hard foods can crack or loosen the shell. Should this happen, though, repairing veneers is a basic procedure. If you notice yours is coming loose or damaged, call your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier the problem is caught, the easier it is to fix!

If you’re ready to take the teeth correction plunge, no matter if you choose customized porcelain veneers or go the standard composite resin route, both options are an investment that can last for years. As long as you take care of your teeth with good dental hygiene habits, your veneers should last their full lifespan, allowing you to proudly show off your pearly whites.

Dr. Edmond Suh

Owner of Supremia Dentistry, located at 1711 S. Main St. in Wake Forest.