Dental Veneers Explained

Dental veneers are an excellent option for changing the shape of a tooth and improving its appearance. They are a good in-between solution between bonding and a crown.


Traditional dental veneers require extensive prep work, including reshaping the teeth and “roughing” them to help the cement adhere better. However, technological advances now allow for the use of veneers that require little or no reduction of natural tooth structure.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a modern cosmetic treatment that use ultra-thin ceramic porcelain to replace the front of a tooth’s enamel. They can improve the appearance of a smile by masking dental flaws such as large gaps, uneven teeth, and stubborn discoloration that doesn’t respond to teeth whitening.

To determine whether veneers are the best option for you, your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral health evaluation and review all available treatment options. In most cases, this will involve a discussion of the potential benefits and drawbacks of your treatment. During this time, your dentist may also explain how veneers are bonded and what the process entails.

Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend that you begin with an orthodontic consultation to ensure that there is enough room to adequately place the veneers. If you have teeth with large gaps, for instance, you’ll need an orthodontist to move the teeth and open up space before you can get veneers placed.

The next step involves preparing the tooth for the veneer by minimally reshaping it with a handheld rotational cutting device called a bur. This is done to ensure the veneers fit properly and do not create any discomfort. Once your veneers are prepared, your dentist will cement them to the tooth and shine a special light on it to activate chemicals that strengthen and harden the bonding.

Resin Composite Veneers

Resin composite veneers are an alternative to porcelain and offer a similar transformative effect. However, they can be applied to teeth in one appointment instead of needing to wait for the lab to complete them. They are also less expensive than porcelain and offer a similar durability.

During your treatment, our cosmetic dentist will apply resin directly to the teeth and build a veneer that fits your aesthetic goals. Then, a high-intensity light hardens the composite to provide a smooth, polished appearance. This process typically takes just one visit, and you can walk out with a new smile by the end of the day.

As an alternative to a dental crown, a tooth bridge or dental fillings, composite veneers can restore chipped, broken, misshapen, discolored and gapped teeth. They are especially useful in fixing crooked or misaligned teeth.

Like natural teeth, composite veneers are susceptible to staining and discoloration, so you’ll need to follow a consistent oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. You’ll also need to avoid drinking dark liquids and eating foods that are known to stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, tobacco and smoking. Regular visits to our Huntersville office for routine dental cleanings and mouth guards to protect the teeth that support your veneers can help you extend their longevity.

Whitening Veneers

Whitening veneers are a treatment option for those who want to whiten their teeth without actually bleaching their natural tooth enamel. Years of drinking coffee, smoking and eating coloured foods can cause your natural teeth to discolor, but the good news is that veneers are mostly stain-resistant.

If you do decide to go with whitening veneers, then it is likely that you will need at least three visits to your dentist – one for the consultation, two for preparation and construction of the veneers and finally, application of the veneers to your existing teeth. You can have veneers applied to just a single tooth, or several at the same time and they can be used to correct many cosmetic issues including chips, cracks, uneven teeth and even gaps.

While your dental veneers will be mostly stain-resistant, it is important to maintain a consistent brushing and flossing routine to prevent the build-up of plaque which can eventually damage the tooth. Your dentist will be able to recommend a daily brushing routine and an oral health schedule that will best fit your lifestyle and help you keep your teeth looking their best.

It is also a good idea to use an alcohol-free mouthwash which can help destroy plaque, avoid gum disease and promote the longevity of your dental veneers. Veneers aren’t permanent and may need to be replaced at some point, so it is a good idea to plan regular professional polish and cleans and to consider getting dental veneer replacements as needed.

Bonding Veneers

When a person chooses veneers to mask a discolored or injured tooth, the dentist will use a mild chemical on the front surface of that tooth. This roughens it and helps the composite resin stick to it. Composite resin that matches the color of a natural tooth is put on in layers, and a bright light hardens each layer. A dentist then shapes and polishes the composite to form the tooth. They may also choose to add a crown to protect the tooth if it is weak.

The dentist will check the fit and color of the veneers in a follow-up appointment. They will trim the veneers and make sure they are a good fit before permanently cementing them in place. The dentist will also check if a person experiences any rough patches on the veneers, which usually wear away after several days of normal eating and teeth brushing.

When a person is getting veneers, they will need to avoid certain foods and beverages to help them last. They should not chew on pens or ice, and they should also try to use their back teeth to open things instead of their front ones. A person should also see their dentist for regular dental exams and cleanings to keep their mouth healthy. With the right care, a person’s veneers can last for more than a decade before they need to be replaced.