Veneers are custom-made, thin, tooth-colored shells that are attached to the front surface of the teeth to protect and improve their appearance. Often made from porcelain or resin composite materials, these are permanently bonded to the teeth. Veneers are used to treat problems including discolored, chipped, decayed, stained, broken, or smaller-than-usual teeth.
We have prepared this article to help you get acquainted with what veneers are, different types that are available, cost comparison, benefits of such procedures, and other related information regarding dental veneers.
Types Of Veneer
The dentist may offer you a choice of three types of veneers – direct composite, indirect composite, and porcelain veneers. Below, we have listed summarized details of each type.
- Direct composite veneers – These types of veneers are made from resin composite material and are directly applied to the teeth. Preparation for such veneer doesn’t take much time and are considered minimally invasive.
- Indirect composite veneers – The main difference between direct and indirect composite veneers is the process of making them. Instead of applying directly in the dentist’s office, the veneer is made in a separate dental laboratory. Until it is prepared, the dentist will give you temporary veneers. The indirect version tends to be more expensive; however, it is stronger and resists fracture better.
- Porcelain veneers – Porcelain veneers are very thin and are custom-made for the patient’s teeth. These types of veneers are currently a more popular option among patients, as it resists stains better than resin composite and mimics the natural look of the actual teeth. Although applying such veneer requires removal of a small portion of the teeth’ enamel, some variants are thin enough that they can be applied without removal of enamel.
How Long Do Veneers last?
Veneers generally last between 5 to 15 years or more, depending on the type and materials chosen. Taking proper oral hygiene precautions can help make sure you are getting a longer lifespan than what was originally intended for your particular type of veneer.
Cost Comparison of Veneers in Different Countries
Veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure, so they may not be covered by dental insurance. Also, depending on which country you are in, the cost of veneers will vary dramatically. For instance, in the US, composite veneers can cost around $600 to $1500 per tooth, and porcelain veneers will cost $925 to $2500.
In contrast, by traveling to Mexico, the cost of composite veneers will be around $150 to $250, and porcelain veneers will cost around $280 to $550. Asian dental tourism countries may charge even lower; however, Mexico will be the ideal location for American and Canadian citizens due to proximity and ease of access.
In case you want to travel to Asia, then Thailand offers very affordable and best-in-class dental treatment. Here, composite veneers will cost around $250 to $300, and porcelain veneers will be around $350 to $450.
Getting veneers typically takes three trips to the dentist’s office. Note that the visits will not necessarily be three consecutive days. Depending on what type and material you have chosen, making just the veneers can take two weeks. The whole process from consultation to final placement can take around 3 to 4 weeks. Once the whole process is complete, the dentist might ask you to come back for a follow-up check.
1st visit: Consultation – During the first visit, the dentist will examine your problematic teeth and will let you know whether you are the right candidate for getting veneers. If the teeth are crooked or uneven, you may need to have braces before placing veneers. Also, if the teeth have signs of decay, gum disease, or need a root canal, then you are most likely not a candidate for this procedure. In contrast, if everything is okay, then the dentist will discuss the possible veneer options suitable for your condition, its limitations, and its benefits. Once everything is sorted out, he will then take x-rays to evaluate the teeth’ health.
2nd visit: Preparation – During this visit, the dentist will reshape the teeth’ surface for the placement of the veneer. The amount of enamel to be removed will depend on the type of veneer you have chosen. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area beforehand. Once the trimming of the enamel is done, the dentist will use a mold to take the shape of the teeth and send it off to a lab. A temporary veneer will be used until the permanent ones arrive, which may cost additional expenses.
3rd visit: Bonding – This is the final stage where the dentist will permanently bond the veneer to your teeth. The dentist will first clean the teeth thoroughly. This is important for preventing bacteria from persisting in the teeth and causing decays. Then, the dentist will roughen the surface of the teeth using a grinding tool. This process helps veneers stick to the teeth more strongly. Dental cement is used as adhesive, which bonds the veneer to the tooth. Afterward, ultraviolet light will be used to harden the cement quickly.
Aftercare and Restrictions
Unlike other dental procedures, veneers don’t take much time for recovery. In fact, once the dental cement is off and the anesthesia wears off, you can eat and chew as normal. You may also notice hard spots surrounding the teeth. These will wear down after several days. If it still persists, the dentist will smooth them out.
Although veneers allow to eat and drink like normal, to ensure they last longer, some precautions need to be considered. Things such as chewing on hard objects, opening packaging, and water bottles should be avoided, as these can damage the veneer. During sports, use a mouth guard to protect it from accidental hits. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, get a splint or retainer to protect them from damages.
Benefits of Veneers
Veneers come with several benefits. Some of them are listed below:
- Veneers provide a natural-looking appearance
- Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant
- Veneers can fix teeth alignment problems
- Patients can choose the shade of color they want for their teeth
- Veneers can fix teeth gaps and fix smaller than usual teeth
Risk of Getting Veneers
Although veneers solve a wide range of issues and are a quite cost-effective approach than many other dental procedures, there are some notable problems that you might want to consider.
- Veneers will permanently alter the tooth shape
- Veneers cannot be repaired. If damaged, it needs to be replaced
- As layers of enamel are removed, the teeth might be sensitive to hot and cold beverages
- Veneers cannot prevent tooth decay. So dental crown may still be needed if you have tooth decay.