What are Teeth Veneers?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Burger
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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Veneers are thin layers or shells that are permanently fixed to the front sides of teeth with cement. People get them in order to improve the appearance of their smiles. Teeth veneers can mask a wide variety of cosmetic problems that may be caused by accidents, lifestyle, or genetics. They are used to cover up gaps and crooked, stained, or yellowed teeth. They can also change the appearance of the shapes of teeth. For example, they may be used to make unusually short teeth look longer. Veneers have become popular because they can cover up virtually any cosmetic flaw.

Two types of material, porcelain and resin composite, can be used to make teeth veneers. There are advantages and disadvantages of using each. Composite dental veneers are thinner, but porcelain ones look more natural and are more resistant to staining. A dentist may recommend one option over the other due to a patient's individual circumstances.

Every veneer is custom-made for the tooth that it will fit onto. Most of the time, a dentist will create a mold of the teeth and send it to a lab, where the veneers are made. It's also possible to make composite veneers by forming them directly onto the surface of the tooth.


The decision to get teeth veneers should be considered carefully, because the process is irreversible. In order to create a rough surface for attaching the thin shell, about half a millimeter of enamel must be removed from the front of the tooth. This also means that a veneer must always be replaced if it cracks or breaks. They are rather expensive, at anywhere from $700 to $1300 per tooth, and they have an expected lifespan of about ten years. The good news is that veneers are generally only put on teeth that can be seen when a person is smiling. In many cases, this is just the top six teeth.

It is very important to take care of teeth that have veneers on them. Dental veneers are resistant to becoming discolored, but teeth themselves are somewhat translucent. They can appear darker from the front if the back sides become stained. For this reason, certain substances like tea and coffee should be avoided to protect the investment in a white smile. Decay surrounding teeth veneers can also cause problems that make it necessary to cover them with crowns.

Lumineers are a newer option in cosmetic dentistry. They work in a very similar way to teeth veneers, but they don't require the removal of enamel. This is another method to consider for people who want something less drastic.



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