Veneers are a versatile cosmetic dentistry treatment. They significantly transform the appearance of teeth that are chipped, cracked or stained. Veneers can also be used instead of braces in less severe cases of crooked teeth.

The multiple benefits of veneers include:

  • Natural-looking, stain-resistant teeth.
  • Comfortable, non-invasive procedure.
  • A customized, perfect fit.
  • Fast, affordable treatment.
  • Protection for the underlying teeth.

What Are Veneers?

Veneers are tooth-colored, extremely thin coverings that are attached to the front of teeth to mask dental imperfections. They’re customized to enhance tooth alignment, shape, size, length and color.

Veneers are held in place with dental glue after a small area of tooth enamel is trimmed from the tooth surface. This minimal preparation helps your teeth retain their natural defense against decay from bacteria and plaque.

Veneers resist staining better than real teeth and need no special oral hygiene measures. While veneers are a cosmetic treatment, they also provide oral health benefits by protecting teeth from further damage.

Types of Veneers

There are two main types of dental veneers: porcelain and composite.

Porcelain veneers are favored by dentists and patients because they resist staining better and look more natural. They also last longer – 15 to 20 years, compared with the three- to five-year lifespan of composite veneers.

Porcelain veneers are made from medical-grade ceramic. They look like real teeth because they’re semi-transparent and react to light in the same way as dental enamel. Advances in technology have made veneers even thinner, which means minimal trimming of tooth structure. Dr. Larsen says that porcelain veneers also can enhance your smile by closing gaps or covering stained teeth.

Composite veneers are made with the same type of tooth-colored resin used with tooth bonding, and are less expensive than porcelain veneers.

The Veneers Procedure

Designing, making and placing custom porcelain veneers combines dental science with aesthetic artistry – specialized technical skills in conjunction with an eye for visual appeal.

In the hands of a skilled cosmetic dentist, veneer treatment requires little if any anesthetic and can usually be completed in two appointments.

The procedure entails:

  • Consultation to discuss your goals.
  • Taking an impression of your teeth.
  • Trimming a small amount of dental enamel.
  • Attaching temporary veneers to protect the teeth.
  • Fabrication of permanent veneers in a dental lab.
  • Placing of the permanent veneers.
  • Modifications if necessary to ensure a precise fit.

What Problems Can Veneers Fix?

Veneers can address many aesthetic dental problems, including

  • Stained or yellowed teeth.
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Worn-down teeth.
  • Irregularly shaped teeth.

If you have an uneven gum line, veneers can create a tidier appearance more in proportion with the teeth. Veneers can also resolve problems in some cases when teeth are misaligned.

Veneers to Fix Crooked Teeth

In many instances, teeth that are slightly misaligned are a source of embarrassment but pose no risk of damage to oral health. In these cases, veneers could be the solution for a straight, attractive smile with none of the hassle of having to wear braces.

Veneer treatment may be able to solve minor orthodontic issues in cases such as:

  • Protruding teeth.
  • Gapped teeth.
  • Overlapping teeth.
  • One or more teeth set back from the others.
  • A single tooth out of alignment with the rest.
  • Prominent canine teeth – the sharp front teeth next to incisors.

In these cases, veneers can give you a straighter smile within a couple weeks, bypassing the need to wear braces for 18 months or longer.

Veneers After Orthodontic Treatment

If your teeth are severely misaligned, you’ll need to have them repositioned with orthodontic treatment in the form of fixed braces or removable plastic aligners like Invisalign.

Braces can sometimes have a negative cosmetic impact on teeth, leaving uneven coloring or white spots, particularly after more lengthy orthodontic treatment.

These problems might not respond to teeth whitening. Veneers, however, can add an awesome finishing touch to your newly straightened smile.

Looking After Your Veneers

Veneers need no special routine of oral hygiene.

It’s important, though, to continue brushing and flossing properly and regularly. A soft-bristled brush and a non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste are recommended to avoid damage to veneers.

You should also visit your dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings with a veneer-friendly polish.

Bear in mind that, like teeth, veneers can be damaged by habits such as chewing on hard objects such as pens, pencils or ice, or biting your fingernails.

How Veneers Have Evolved

The first dental veneers were created for a Hollywood film shoot in 1928. They were primitive by today’s standards, consisting of an acrylic cap that stayed in place for only a few hours.

Veneers have evolved constantly since then, and the veneer treatment of today is one of the leading state-of-the-art procedures resulting from advanced technology in aesthetic dentistry. The tech behind modern veneers has made them less costly, more effective than ever, and a popular mainstream cosmetic dentistry option.

Porcelain veneers now have better bonding agents and are much thinner, allowing your dentist to preserve more tooth structure, and digital imaging helps to make veneers as near a perfect match as possible to real teeth.

This is why many of today’s film stars have chosen veneers to enhance their smile, including Demi Moore, Emily Blunt, Tom Cruise, and Jennifer Garner.

Are Veneers Right for Me?

If your teeth are basically healthy but showing signs of everyday wear and tear, veneers could be the solution to transform your smile and boost your self-esteem. Porcelain veneers in particular will be a good option if you’re looking for long-lasting results – a cost-effective solution that will last many years.

Veneers can also work alongside other cosmetic dental procedures – such as professional teeth whitening ¬– to give you a comprehensive smile makeover.

However, veneers are not always the best option for everyone – if you’ve needed a substantial filling for a badly decayed tooth, for instance, or you tend to clench or grind your teeth (although a nightguard may be able to protect your veneers and your teeth).

Contact Jeff Kindseth DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) at Dana Point Dental Care to discover whether veneers are the right treatment to give you a fast Hollywood A-lister smile. Dr. Kindseth has been providing cosmetic dental services such as veneer treatments for 30 years, supported by a team dedicated to ensuring a pleasant, relaxed experience for every patient.