Veneers Can Make Your Smile Sparkle
Professional models do it. Actors and actresses do it. Even politicians do it. They’re changing their smiles—and they have influenced a growing number of people to take the same step by asking dentists to give them veneers. These thin, long-lasting overlays can cover up a wide range of dental problems.1
What Are Veneers?
Simply put, a veneer is a covering, something like the thin layer on a piece of furniture that gives it the look of natural wood. When it comes to your teeth, a veneer refers to a thin covering made of tooth-colored material. In most cases, veneers are placed on the front of the teeth.1
Properly done veneers help people look better, which can create greater self-confidence.2 Cosmetic dentists use veneers to fix a variety of problems. Teeth may be too short, too far apart, misshapen, or damaged. But the most common reason for veneers is discoloration.3
Many things cause tooth discoloration. Chief offenders include:
Veneers are made from one of several tooth-colored materials, such as porcelain or composite resin.1 The choice of material used is determined by several factors, including the cost, appearance, strength, and durability of the finished veneers.5 Veneers are intended to be long-lasting and resistant to staining.3 Still, your dentist may recommend that you avoid foods and drinks that could stain your veneers.1
Like other dental procedures, the cost of veneers can vary according to the region of the country and the dentist’s experience. Your general dentist might have experience with veneers, or he or she might refer you to a cosmetic dentist. Talk with your dentist to find out whether veneers are a good option for you.3
How to Care for Your Veneers
If you decide to invest in your smile with veneers, you will need to care for them just as you would care for your natural teeth. Veneers won’t be damaged by regular brushing and flossing.3
Consider the following tips to protect all your teeth, with or without veneers:
Use a mouth guard when playing sports during which you might be struck in the mouth by a ball, someone’s elbow, or another object.
Never use your teeth as a tool. For example, avoid opening pistachios or other nuts with your teeth, and don’t break off a piece of thread by biting it.
Don’t chomp on hard candy or chew ice cubes.6
In addition, remember to continue practicing good oral hygiene habits. Follow these recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA):
Gently brush your teeth, with special attention to the gum line, at least twice a day with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.
Clean between your teeth at least once a day using dental floss.
Get regular checkups and professional cleanings at your dentist’s office.7
1 “Oral Health T opics: Veneer.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2899.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.
2 “Oral Health Topics: Cosmetic Dentistry.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2627.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2010.
3 “Dental Procedures—Veneers.”American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. www.aacd.com/procedures/veneers.asp Accessed 2010.
4 “Tooth Discoloration and Staining: A Review of the Literature.” A. Watts and M. Addy. British Dental Journal. 2001, vol. 190, no. 6, pp. 309–16.
5 “Restoring Your Smile: Dental Filling Options.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2524.aspx?currentTab=2#choices Accessed 2010.
6“Dental Emergencies.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/370.aspx Accessed 2010.
7 “Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums (Oral Hygiene).” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2624.aspxAccessed 2010.