Not everyone has a perfectly straight, shiny smile for varying reasons, such as the way your teeth came in, damage resulting from an accident or poor oral health. However, your dentist has multiple tools to help you obtain that desired smile. Veneers are one of these options that correct tooth deficiencies. But how do veneers work? First, it's important to know exactly what they are.
What Are Veneers?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), veneers are custom-designed shells that cover the fronts of teeth. They're thin and colored to blend in. Veneers cover up imperfections such as chips, tooth decay, stains or crooked teeth. In most cases, they are irreversible because a small portion of existing tooth enamel is removed in order to place them.
Veneers are primarily made from composite resin or porcelain. Porcelain often takes longer to place than composite resin, according to the ADA. After removing a bit of enamel, your dentist takes a mold (or impression) of the problematic teeth. That impression is sent out to a lab that designs the veneers. This can take several days and usually requires the patient to schedule a return visit. Alternatively, composite resin veneers can be sculpted in the office once a dentist reshapes and prepares the damaged teeth. All veneers are then bonded to teeth with resin cement.
Both composite resin and porcelain veneers have a handful of benefits. On one hand, composite resin veneers require less tooth enamel removal than porcelain, cost less than their alternatives, can be applied in one office visit and are easily fixable if damaged. On the other, porcelain veneers are strong and resilient once placed, do not easily stain, look natural and require less enamel removal than crowns or caps.
Cleaning and Maintaining Veneers
Caring for veneers is the same as cleaning natural teeth. Brushing and flossing form the foundation for good oral health. Use a toothpaste like Colgate Total® Advanced Deep Clean that helps maintain a dentist-clean feeling with advanced-cleaning silica similar to what dentists use. Remember that your dentist is your ally when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. Schedule regular cleanings and also ask about other products specifically designed to protect your veneers. Dentists are there to answer your questions, such as, "How do veneers work?" Your dentist can help determine if veneers are right for you.
Learn more about porcelain veneers in the Colgate Oral Care resources.