When a friend that you haven't seen for a few years shows up with a brilliant smile that looks sparkling white, there's a good chance that they've opted for a set of veneers. There's a trend towards having one's teeth treated with this cosmetic option that can transform a smile into movie star quality. If you're thinking about having the procedure done, you probably have questions about what they are, the process involved in getting them and the cost. This useful guide will provide you with information about dental veneers, the types, procedures to place them and how much they can cost on average.
What are dental veneers?
A dental veneer is a very thin sheath that is made in the shape of a person's individual tooth. Some are made of porcelain and others are made of composite materials that resemble real teeth in texture and appearance. They're a covering that is used to correct discoloring, worn enamel, uneven spacing or alignment, or cracks and chips in teeth.
The benefits of veneers
Veneers are useful for two purposes. They can give the person receiving them greater self-confidence because they improve the appearance of the teeth dramatically in most case. They also help to protect the teeth from external damage because of the protective covering. They address issues of discoloration that cannot be corrected through whitening and they cover misalignment or shape issues, presenting the appearance of perfectly shaped and colored teeth.
You must qualify before becoming a candidate
Not everyone who seeks veneers is a candidate. It requires a dental examination to determine if your oral health will support veneers. During the consultation, the dentist discusses why you want veneers and what issues you hope to correct. He or she will let you know if veneers are a good fit for you and if it is possible to use them to achieve your goals through the process. You will go through a smile design process at which time you and the dentist will design your new smile.
What to expect during the process
In some cases, tooth preparation is required to become ready for the veneering process. You may need to have some removal or shaping done of existing teeth. This is done sparingly as dentists are hesitant to remove healthy tooth tissue unnecessarily. What is done depends on the shape, width, and length of the veneers that you desire. It can take several hours to prepare your teeth for the placement of veneers.
Prior to applying the veneers, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic. The tooth is reshaped to achieve the ideal fit. A composite is applied to your teeth in the desired length, shape and form and it's in the color shade that you selected. After application of the composite, a blue light is used to harden the material. This process is repeated with multiple layers until the perfect size and shape is achieved. When fully hardened, the veneer is finished and polished.
If you choose to go with porcelain over composite veneers, the dentist takes an impression of your teeth and sends them out to be fabricated professionally. When they are returned, your dentist will prepare your teeth as in the step for composites, then apply the veneers with cement.
Potential side effects
If a high amount of enamel is removed from the original teeth, there is likely to be some increased sensitivity to cold and heat. This usually happens immediately after the process and may continue for several weeks, but it should lessen with time.
Cost of Veneers
Most dental insurance plans do not cover dental veneers because they are considered to be an aesthetic treatment that is not medically necessary, so the odds are in favor of you paying the cost out of pocket. The costs vary depending on the type of veneer that you opt for. On average, the porcelain types are priced between $925 up to $2,500 for each tooth. The last an average of 10 to 15 years if they are well cared for and if you're careful in avoiding chips and cracks. Composite type dental veneers range between $250 and $1,500 per tooth with a life expectancy of somewhere between five to seven years. Some dentists may offer reduced rates when you purchase multiple veneers at one time, but this isn't always or usually the case. The cost of getting a full set of dental veneers is quite expensive. Some dentists offer payment plans and others offer a third party financing institution which allows candidates who qualify to make monthly payments that fit their budget.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson