Health Information

Dental Veneers

(Ceramic Veneers; Porcelain Veneers; Resin-Based Composite Veneers; Acrylic Veneers)

Definition

A dental veneer is a thin covering that is placed over the front of the teeth. Veneers are made from ceramic, porcelain, resin-based composite, or acrylic. Custom-made shells are created by dental lab technicians and permanently bonded to the teeth.

Reasons for Procedure

In most cases, dental veneers are an elective dental procedure. This means they are not medically necessary. You might choose to have veneers if you have teeth that are:
  • Chipped or worn
  • Discolored
  • Slightly crooked or uneven

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your dentist will review potential problems, like:
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold—This usually goes away after a few days.
  • Veneer may chip or crack—Veneers are strong, but they are also brittle. You should not put excessive strain on them, such as biting your fingernails or chewing ice.
Talk to your dentist about these risks before the procedure. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist may recommend a nighttime bite guard to protect your veneers.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

If you are interested in getting dental veneers, you can meet with your dentist to discuss:
  • What you do not like about your teeth, such as discoloration or slight crookedness
  • What you want your teeth to look like
  • Whether you are a candidate for veneers
  • Which kind of veneers are right for you
Your dentist will explain the procedure and anything you should do to prepare.

Anesthesia

You will have a local anesthetic for some parts of the procedure. This means that the dentist will numb only the part of your mouth that is being worked on.

Description of the Procedure

Depending on the kind of veneer you choose, you may need to make several visits to the dentist before your veneers are complete.
To make room for the veneers, your dentist will remove the top layer of enamel from your teeth. You may be given local anesthetic for this step. It may be given as a gel that is rubbed on your gums or as an injection. The dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it to a dental lab. The lab will make veneers to fit your teeth. This may take several days.
At your next visit, the dentist will put a mild chemical on your teeth. This will create a rough surface for the veneer to bond to. The dentist will carefully attach the veneers to your teeth using special cement. In some cases, your dentist will use a light-sensitive resin to attach the veneer. A special light will be used to cure and harden the resin.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure will take several hours. You may have to wait a few days between visits for your veneers to be created in a dental lab.

Will It Hurt?

You may have some minor pain. You will be given a local anesthetic for some steps of the procedure. Talk to your dentist if your mouth is sore after the procedure. An over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever may be advised.

Post-procedure Care

You will be able to leave right after the procedure.
At Home
When you return home, take these steps:
  • Follow your dentist's instructions to care for your veneers. This may include:
    • Do not put too much strain on your teeth, such as by biting your fingernails or chewing ice.
    • Avoid substances that may stain your veneers, like coffee, tea, or red wine.
  • You can return to your regular oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice each day and floss between your teeth at least once a day.
  • Your dentist will schedule regular visits to inspect your veneers and polish them if needed.
Flossing
Flossing
Floss between your teeth at least once a day.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Call Your Dentist

Call your dentist if a veneer chips or cracks.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry http://www.aacd.com

American Dental Association http://www.mouthhealthy.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry http://www.caed.ca

Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca

References

Bonding and veneers. Canadian Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral%5Fhealth/procedures/bonding%5Fveneers/ . Accessed April 11, 2013.

For the dental patient. Improving your smile with dental veneers. J Am Dent Assoc.  2003;134(8):1147.

Veneers. American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/v/veneers.aspx . Accessed April 11, 2013.

Revision Information