Whitening and veneers are two popular smile makeover treatment options. Weigh their pros and cons with your needs.
Dental Veneers FAQ
Q. What are veneers?
A. A form of cosmetic dentistry in which a shell or layer of tooth-colored porcelain or composite is placed over the facial surfaces of your teeth.
Q. What problems can they correct?
A. Veneers can be used by dentists to correct the appearance of worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing, tooth discoloration, and chips or cracks.
Q. How are they made?
A. Porcelain and composite veneers are made by dental technicians in a dental laboratory, but composite veneers also can be made directly inside your mouth by your dentist.
Q. What veneers are right for you?
A. Selection involves choosing the appropriate length, shape, width and color for your restorations. Your dentist will use a color chart to help you select the best shade. If your veneers are to be made in a dental laboratory, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and create a model of your mouth for use by the laboratory when customizing your restorations to the correct size and shape.
Q. What is involved in the procedure?
A. In order to place veneers, your dentist then will shape and prepare your teeth, which involves permanently changing them by removing a small amount of natural tooth structure (usually only enamel) in order to fit the custom-made porcelain or composite restoration. You then will need to wear temporary veneers until your permanent restorations are ready to be placed. Composite veneers (direct bonding) created in your mouth by your dentist do not require you to wear temporaries. Veneers created by a dental laboratory are bonded to your teeth using different types of resin cements.
Q. What are the benefits?
A. Veneers are esthetically pleasing, protect the surface of damaged teeth and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments, such as crowns. Other benefits include durability, an improved appearance to your smile and the need for little-to-no removal of tooth structure, compared to crowns.
Q. How much do they cost?
A. Porcelain veneers made in a dental laboratory or in the dental office using CAD/CAM typically are more expensive than composite, but can last 10 to 15 years. Traditional porcelain veneers cost from $925 to $2,500 per tooth. Comparatively, composite veneers cost approximately $250 to $1500 per tooth and are expected to last five to seven years.
Q. Are veneers my only option if I want a smile makeover?
A. No. Your cosmetic dentist will determine the cosmetic dentistry procedures that would be the best for you. Suggestions will be based on your desires and a thorough examination to determine the condition of your teeth and what problems, if any, may require dental treatment. Therefore, your smile makeover could involve teeth whitening, crowns, composite bonding, gingival sculpting, inlays and onlays or any other combination of cosmetic dental procedures that your dentist determines is right for your cosmetic treatment plan.
(Read more about smile makeovers)
Q. Does dental insurance pay for dental veneer procedures?
A. As with most cosmetic dentistry treatments, dental insurance typically does not cover cosmetic dental veneers because the procedure is considered elective, similar to teeth whitening. However, other alternate treatment options, such as orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth, may be covered by some dental plans or additional cost orthodontic dental insurance plans.
(Read more about dental insurance)
Q. What's the difference between traditional and minimal or "no-prep" veneers?
A. Traditional veneers typically require the removal of tooth structure, sometimes beyond the enamel. Some porcelain veneers available today are placed completely in enamel in a minimally invasive and possibly "no preparation" way.
(Read more about minimal prep veneers)