Dental Veneers – FAQs

Types of Dental Veneers: What are they and why are they used?

Veneers are basically wafer-thin composite or ceramic sheaths made of tooth colored materials and are attached to the front surface of teeth for cosmetic restoration. If done properly, can be quite beautiful and natural looking. Dental veneers can quickly correct worn, chipped, rotated, discolored, or fractured teeth.  Some of the applications of them in dentistry are:

  • Restoring fractured teeth:  They are frequently used to restore the shape and structure of chipped or broken teeth.
  • Hiding permanent teeth stains: They are also an excellent option for masking teeth stains which cannot be removed through professional whitening procedures.
  • Closing excessive gaps in-between teeth: They can also be used for cosmetically removing open spaces between the front teeth.
  • Fixing a rotated tooth: The most common treatment for a rotated tooth is orthodontics. However, if you don’t want to take the time for braces, porcelain ones can allow us to reshape your rotated tooth, making it face the right way without ever moving the tooth root.
  • Smile makeover: If you are not happy with your smile, then you can get veneers to get the smile you’ve always dreamed on having.

What are the different types of dental veneers?

Depending upon the available materials, they are of two types; porcelain and composites.

  • Porcelain: These are very thin shells made from white colored porcelains, which are fabricated inside the laboratory and then fitted to the teeth. These are most aesthetic pleasing and longer lasting than the composite ones.
  • Composite: Resin-based composite ones generally are placed in one appointment. After the tooth is prepared or reshaped, the dentist carefully bonds and sculpts the composite material in a color that matches your other teeth. They can also be sent to a lab for preparation.

What are the benefits of veneers?

They offer the following advantages:

  • The gift of a beautiful, natural-looking smile: Perhaps the biggest advantage is their ability to restore and improve your smile and facial aesthetics. You can now enjoy the smile that you had always dreamed of having!
  • Tooth restoration: Chipped or fractured teeth create significant hindrances during speech and eating. Having an unsightly tooth can also be embarrassing during social situations. They help you restore your chewing and speech capability and allow you to smile and laugh with confidence!
  • A lower cost alternative to orthodontic treatment: The ideal treatment for closing gaps in teeth is orthodontic treatment with metal or clear braces (Invisalign aligners). However, in some cases, restoring smiles can be accomplished successfully with them. They cannot be used to replace missing front or back teeth. They can only be used for restoration of front teeth. Replacement of missing natural front teeth or back molars should be undertaken with implants.

What are alternatives to dental veneers?

At Rolling Hills Dental we also offer various alternative options. They include the following:

  • Teeth Bonding: This cosmetic procedure involves the application of a polymerizable plastic bonding material onto the teeth, which is matched to the same color as your natural teeth. Bonding is quickly performed at the dental chairside and is less expensive. However, bonding is less durable in comparison to a porcelain or composite veneer.
  • Micro-abrasion:  This is a process in which the outer stained and discolored surface of the teeth is polished away by using a coarse polishing compound.
  • Teeth Whitening: Professional in-home teeth whitening can also be considered as an alternative, if the teeth stains are not permanent. For example, all types of teeth stains which are incorporated into the teeth during their development are permanent, and they cannot be removed through whitening.
  • Orthodontic treatment: Orthodontic treatment can be used to close excessive gaps between adjacent teeth, and can also be used as an alternative. Only your dentist can provide you with the treatment that is right for you.

What type of adhesives are used with dental veneers?

They are attached to the teeth with the help of adhesive, which functions like a glue between the tooth and the veneer. These adhesives are special cements, which are applied in thin layers between the prepared tooth structure and the veneer. Sometimes, prepared teeth need to be conditioned/pre-treated before an adhesive can be applied over them to hold it. In recent years, new “prepless” veneers have become available. These require little to now removal of the tooth’s enamel. One of our dentists will advise you on which procedure would be right for you.

Can dental veneers be used where gum recession has occurred?

Gum recession is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root. They can be used to cosmetically restore the beauty of the teeth in which gum infection has caused significant gum recession. Receding gums are first treated with better oral hygiene maintenance and scaling. Only after the healing has taken place, is the veneer are prepared. They cannot be placed if an individual has active underlying gum or periodontal disease. Gum disease can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:

  • Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums

Can dental veneers correct an overbite?

Overbite is a condition in which the upper teeth excessively overlap the lower front teeth. While the best solution for correcting an overbite may be orthodontic treatment, they can also be used to lengthen the teeth, and correct minor to moderate overbite problems.

Can dental veneers be used to correct an underbite?

Underbite is a condition in which the lower front teeth overlap and partially cover the upper front teeth. In many cases, underbite has a skeletal component. For example, it may be caused by mandibular prognathism, or the protrusion of the lower jaw such that the lower teeth do not align with the upper teeth. In other cases, underbite is simply a dental condition, and may be caused by childhood behaviors like thumb-sucking or the persistent thrusting of the tongue against the teeth.

An underbite can affect your ability to chew properly and speak clearly. It can cause jaw and joint pain, headaches, earaches, the excessive wear of tooth enamel, and tooth decay.

They can be used to correct minor to moderate cases of an underbite. However, severe cases need to be treated through an orthognathic surgical procedure.

Can dental veneers be used to fill in gaps in-between teeth?

Yes! They can be used as a cosmetic option to correct excessive gaps between teeth, a condition known as diastema. In these cases, slightly wider veneers are prepared, which hide the gaps and restore the normal anatomy as well as the beauty of a front tooth.

Can dental veneers repair crowded looking teeth?

Another excellent use of veneers is their ability to cosmetically correct moderate cases of the teeth crowding. However, restoration of teeth crowding should be performed by one of the experienced cosmetic dentists at Rolling Hills Dental. Severe cases of teeth crowding should be treated through orthodontic treatment clear or metal braces.

Are dental veneers durable?

The strength and durability is dependent upon the material from which they are fabricated. Today, they are prepared from very high-quality materials, which have improved their strength and service life.

How long do dental veneers last?

They can last up to 20 years if maintained properly. The average lifetime is dependent upon various factors including the type of veneering material used and the oral hygiene maintenance by the patient. Ceramic ones are usually longer lasting than composite ones. Their longevity is drastically decreased in case of poor oral hygiene maintenance and underlying gum and bone loss problems. In addition, parafunctional habits such as excessive teeth grinding.

Are dental veneers for everyone?

They mainly serve a cosmetic function. You are a suitable candidate if you have any of the following cosmetic or restorative dental problems:

  • Permanent teeth stains
  • Excessive gaps between adjacent teeth, or diastema
  • Crooked or chipped teeth
  • Slightly rotated tooth
  • For the cosmetic restoration of misshaped teeth
  • For getting a complete smile makeover
  • For making teeth appear longer or shorter

When do veneers need to be replaced?

They tend to last between 15-20 years if you take good care of your oral hygiene and prevent physical damage. However, when you observe that they have started catching stains, this means that cracks have developed on their surface which have reduced their strength and durability. Also, if there is pain around the veneers you should see us immediately.

What are the limitations of dental veneers?

Like any dental cosmetic restoration, they have some limitations:

  • Possible permanent loss of some tooth structure:  For attaching a veneer, the tooth may need to be prepared by removing a very slight enamel layer of the natural tooth structure from their front surface. In recent years, new “prepless” they have become available, requiring little to no removal of the tooth’s enamel. Only your dentist can determine which procedure is right for you.
  • Secondary cavities:  There are chances that cavities may develop around them, which may weaken the tooth structure as well as the bonding process. If not controlled at this stage, teeth may start to hurt or cause discomfort, and can even start falling out in case of excessive gum disease (caused due to transfer of infection from cavities to the gums) and bone loss.
  • Potential for cracking: Direct impact, or sudden temperature changes can lead to cracks. A cracked one should be repaired immediately if possible, otherwise they should be replaced with new ones.
  • Staining: Veneers, especially composite, can stain. These stains are permanent and are not removable with a professional tooth whitening procedure.
  • Dislodgement and Chipping: They can also fall off in a few cases, especially when there was poor bonding between the tooth and the veneer to start with. Failing to immediately restored the tooth can lead to cavity formation which can cause pain and discomfort.

What are Dental Veneers Made of?

These dental porcelain laminates are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.

They can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain ones resist stains better than resin and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. You will need to discuss the best choice of material for you with your dentist.

If you’d like to learn more about whether veneers would be a right cosmetic choice for you, and You are welcome to visit us at Rolling Hills Dental for consultation. We also welcome residents of Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach & other nearby cities to come see us. See more here.