Dental Veneers: A Commitment You Won't Regret
New dental veneers are for life, and yet those beautifully pristine new veneers on your teeth won't be yours forever. What does this mean? It means that dental veneers are a lifelong commitment, but it's not a commitment you'll regret.
Dental veneers can fix a myriad of esthetic issues with a tooth—although to achieve a uniform smile, it's more likely that several veneers will be applied. Because they're a cosmetic treatment, they're only applied to your anterior teeth (the front teeth that are seen when you smile or speak). Veneers can conceal a tooth that's misshapen, permanently discolored, or unsatisfactory for any other reason.
Behind the Shell
The actual veneer looks like a small, tooth-shaped shell—in the optimal, best-looking shape for the tooth. It will be color-matched to the rest of your teeth, unless you're simultaneously whitening your teeth, in which case the veneer will be a lighter shade, with your natural teeth then whitened to match. So does a dentist just cement veneers onto your teeth?
Installation of Veneers
A dental veneer install requires more technical precision than just sticking the veneer onto the underlying tooth. Even though a veneer is incredibly thin, simply cementing it to a tooth would noticeably increase the thickness of the tooth. This would create extra friction and pressure on your teeth, making them quite uncomfortable. Your bite might even be slowly moved out of alignment. For this reason, teeth must have a fractional amount of their surface enamel buffed away before a veneer can be attached. This is quick and doesn't hurt.
Protection for Your Teeth
Teeth need enamel to protect them from destructive bacteria and the corrosive elements of your diet. Your teeth won't be vulnerable now that their enamel has been removed—or at least, they won't be once your veneers are attached. Veneers are primarily cosmetic, but they form an outer shield for your teeth, so the required removal of enamel won't disadvantage your oral health.
Dental enamel can't be regrown, so when the decision is made to have veneers, you'll always need them (or some form of dental restoration). Wear and tear will eventually affect the appearance of your veneers, so they'll need to be replaced at some point. As mentioned, your original veneers won't be with you forever. Porcelain veneers can last for around a decade (and even longer, with good care)—meaning replacement won't be a regular concern.
For more information about dental veneer installation, contact a local professional.