The Pros & Cons of Dental Veneers

Christie Auyeung Dental Leave a Comment

Chipped or broken teeth. Damage from a root canal. Tough stains. Undesirable gaps or misalignment.

There are a number of reasons why your dentist may recommend dental veneers. Veneers are a simple and effective way to improve the appearance of your smile or protect your teeth against damage. But, like all dental procedures, there are both benefits and associated risks. So what are some things to think about when considering dental veneers? First, let’s break down the basics.

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells that cover the front surface of the tooth to improve appearance or provide protection from damage. They can be made from either porcelain or resin composite. Porcelain resists stains better than resin and reflects light very similarly to natural teeth. Resin composite is thinner than porcelain and requires less removal of the tooth’s surface before placement. Veneers require little or no anesthesia and can last many years with good care.

Why dental veneers?

Dental veneers are a simple, quick, and effective way to change a tooth’s color, size, or shape.

They can cover up undesirable dental blemishes such as:

  • Teeth stains
  • Chipped or broken teeth from an injury
  • Worn down or misshapen teeth
  • Damage from a root canal procedure
  • Discolored fillings in front teeth
  • Gaps or spaces between teeth
  • Misaligned teeth 

What can you expect during the procedure?

To prepare for veneers, your dentist will lightly buff your tooth to remove about half a millimeter of enamel. This creates space for the slight added thickness of the veneer on top of the surface of the tooth.

If you choose to use resin composite material, the dentist bonds and sculpts the material onto the tooth, which can be done in just one appointment!

If you choose porcelain veneers, your dentist will first take a mold of your teeth and send it to the lab to make the custom veneer. At your next appointment, your dentist will place the veneer on your teeth to verify fit and make sure the colors match well.

Pay close attention to the color; at this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted depending on the shade of the cement that is used, but it cannot be changed once the veneers are cemented in place. Then, the tooth is cleaned and a special cement is used to bond the veneer to the tooth. A light beam will be used to harden the cement.

Pros of Dental Veneers

Natural-looking

Because porcelain is white, translucent, and reflects light in the same way tooth enamel does, veneers look very natural. And since they are individually designed, you can choose a color that matches the color of your natural teeth very closely.

Stain-resisting

If maintained well, veneers are pretty stain-resistant, meaning you can keep your smile white even if you consume stain-producing foods and beverages like coffee or wine.

Strong and durable

Porcelain veneers are strong and can last up to 10-20 years if cared for well.

Easy to maintain

Veneers don’t require much extra care in addition to brushing and flossing, just like natural teeth.

Instant results

This is one procedure where instant gratification is a possibility—once they’re in, they’re in! You don’t have to wait weeks or go through appointment after appointment to see the results of your new beautiful smile. 

Cons of Dental Veneers

Eligibility

If you have weak tooth enamel, suffer from periodontal disease or teeth grinding, or have decayed or weakened teeth, you may not be a good candidate for dental veneers.

Possibility of damage

Your veneer might accidentally break, chip, or fall off. If it comes off, it is possible to reattach it, but if it breaks, you’ll have to re-do the process all over again—yikes! Grinding your teeth, eating hard food, or applying a lot of force on your teeth all could break your veneer.

Permanence

Part of your tooth is actually removed in order to place the veneer. That means the look of your teeth is permanently changed, so if you decide later on that you want to remove the veneers, your teeth underneath will not look the same as they did pre-veneers.

Cost

Veneers can cost a considerable amount of money in many cases, especially if you need multiple veneers.

Increased Sensitivity

Side effects including increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages due to the removal of the top layer of tooth enamel are possible. However, don’t freak out yet— this increased sensitivity may not occur in everyone and is often temporary.

In most cases, the pros of veneers will outweigh the cons. Veneers are often a simple and effective solution to a number of dental issues.

Weighing the pros and cons and talking with your dentist can be useful in determining whether veneers are right for you.

Interested in moving forward with veneers? Start chatting with one of our world-class dentists today here.

Christie is a UChicago grad currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she enjoys tap dancing, learning to windsurf, and trying new foods.