If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, you’ve probably learned that dental veneers are one of the more powerful techniques used in smile makeovers. But can these restorations help you?
Most likely: veneers can help a lot of people get the beautiful smile they’re looking for. To get veneers, you should have a cosmetic concern that veneers will help, and you should be a good candidate for them. Here’s what that means.
Can Veneers Help My Smile?
One of the great things about dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers) is that they can help with a wide range of cosmetic concerns. We can use veneers to:
- Brighten discolored teeth
- Build up small teeth
- Reshape unattractive teeth
- Repair chipped teeth
- Close gaps in your smile
- Straighten crooked teeth
Basically, any cosmetic concern short of a missing tooth can be addressed with veneers. But are veneers the best choice for your smile? First, consider the alternatives.
Veneers vs. Whitening
If you have discolored teeth, teeth whitening is a very quick and effective way to brighten your smile. However, there are some situations where veneers are a better choice. Of course, veneers are better if you are looking to address many issues at once, veneers are definitely a better choice. Also choose veneers if your stains won’t be affected by teeth whitening. Veneers are more expensive, but they usually last a decade or more with proper care.
Veneers vs. Bonding
Dental bonding is a procedure that can do many of the things that veneers can. However, bonding is not as durable: it tends to lose its polish, can get discolored, and can even wear down or break within a year or two. The benefit of bonding is that it’s less expensive and can be done more quickly than veneers.
Sometimes, people like to use bonding as a way to try on their smile before they commit to veneers. This is an affordable way to get to see how your new smile looks, functions, and feels.
Veneers vs. Orthodontics
Orthodontics can also accomplish some of the things that veneers can do. Orthodontics might be best depending on the position of your teeth. A cosmetic dentist like Dr. James B. Polley in Las Vegas can tell you if you can get the results you want from veneers, orthodontics, or either one.
If veneers can achieve the results you are looking for, they are often a better choice because:
- They are faster
- They can brighten and reshape your teeth
When making this decision, take a careful look at the shape of your teeth and make sure you will be happy with the results if you retain the shape and color of your teeth.
Am I a Candidate for Veneers?
Now that you know veneers are the procedure that can best achieve the goals you’re looking for, you have to ask whether veneers are right for you. In order to get veneers, you should:
- Be in good oral health
- Have a balanced bite
- Not clench or grind your teeth
- Be prepared to take care of your veneers
If you meet these criteria, then veneers are right for you.
Oral Health and Veneers
Veneers are a cosmetic procedure. They’re not designed to improve your oral health, and they can be vulnerable to health problems you already have.
Veneers attach to your natural teeth, so they depend on you having strong, healthy teeth. Your teeth should be largely free of cavities, and hopefully not be too eroded. In some cases, we might recommend one or more dental crowns to achieve the work of veneers while addressing concerns about the health of your teeth.
Gum disease also threatens veneers. Not only can gum disease cause the loss of veneered teeth, but it can expose the roots that aren’t covered by veneers. This will undermine the results of your veneers.
Bruxism and Your Bite
These days, veneers are made of much stronger materials than were used in the past. However, they are still thin facades, which can make them vulnerable to chipping and cracking under intense bite forces.
Therefore, if you have an imbalanced bite, or if you have bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding), veneers might not be the best choice for your smile. Often, we will recommend a bite guard to protect your veneers from bruxism. However, in other cases, we might recommend against veneers, which might not last long because of the bite and other factors.
Caring for Veneers
You also have to be prepared to take good care of your veneers. Fortunately, this isn’t any harder than properly caring for your natural teeth.
You will want to brush and floss daily. Veneers can’t develop cavities, and they’re resistant to attack by acidic foods, but your teeth can still be damaged, and if they are, you can lose the veneer. Flossing is especially important when caring for veneers. One of the biggest weaknesses of veneers is that they don’t completely cover the tooth, so there’s a place where the veneer meets your natural tooth, and the junction is often exposed where you can’t reach with your toothbrush. Flossing helps keep this area clean and prevents cavities that can undermine your veneers.
Choose a nonabrasive toothpaste. Of course, you should already be doing this: a toothpaste that is abrasive enough to damage veneers is abrasive enough to damage your teeth.
You should also make regular dental visits. We’ll let you know if you need to come in more often with your veneers, or if you can keep on your regular schedule.
Are Veneers Right for You?
Of course, in the end, the best way to find out if you’re a candidate for a particular cosmetic dentistry procedure is by talking to a dentist in person. Dr. James B. Polley in Las Vegas can give you a primary exam or offer you a second opinion if you are unsure about the treatment plan offered by another dentist. Please call our office today at (702) 873-0324 if you want learn how to be proud of your smile again!