Veneers and a dentist root pick are on a blue surface

Improve Your Smile with Dental Veneers

If you’re not happy with your smile because of stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth, your dentist can help. You may have several treatment options to improve the color, shape, size, strength, or length of your teeth.

  • Dental veneers: thin layers of tooth-colored, composite resin (plastic) or porcelain applied over teeth
  • Crowns: a “cap” placed over a tooth
  • Bonding: a procedure where a tooth-colored resin is applied to teeth and hardened with a special light,
  • Orthodontia: corrects misaligned teeth using devices such as braces
  • Professional whitening: performed in a dental office, this procedure uses stronger bleaching agents and employs measures that protect the gums and teeth from damage

When Are Dental Veneers a Good Option

Because the preparation of the tooth (i.e. grinding) for veneers is irreversible, you and your dentist should discuss whether they’re the best solution to improve your appearance. Some of the reasons dental veneers can make sense are:

  • whitening by a dental professional hasn’t removed heavy yellow, brown or tan stains on your teeth
  • you want to camouflage minor orthodontic problems
  • the tops of your teeth are flat and dull due to constant grinding or clenching and you want more stability for chewing
  • you have enamel abrasion or enamel erosion
  • broken or damaged teeth make it difficult to eat or speak

Considerations Before You Get Veneers

Veneers don’t change color. This can lead to differences in the appearance of your smile when the rest of your teeth naturally change over time. However, regular visits to the dentist can help you stay on top of this issue.

Porcelain is delicate, so veneers are more prone to chipping and cracking than crowns or fillings. If you bite your nails, grind your teeth, or chew on ice, veneers may not be the best solution if you can’t break those habits.

Finally, teeth can still decay while they are under a veneer, which can lead to root canals and crowns down the road. Veneers should not be used if you have a history of weakened enamel, gum disease, or other dental conditions.

Veneers typically last 7-15 years before they need to be replaced. You should check your benefits to see if veneers are covered.