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Dental Veneers 101

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If you have discolored teeth from years of coffee drinking or cigarette smoking and would prefer pearly whites rather than teeth the color of nicotine, you will likely need more than a simple tooth whitening session from the hygienist. While professional tooth whitening systems have come a long way and are great for surface stains, the deep stains that are caused by decades of coffee, smoking, and age are best addressed with veneers. Here is what you need to know.

What Are Veneers?

A veneer is a very thin piece of porcelain that is shaped to cover your tooth. In addition to giving the tooth a brighter look, the porcelain veneer will also cover any surface imperfections as well as give added strength to the tooth. Teeth can become very brittle as one grows older, so veneers are a big advantage.

What Are The Various Uses Of Veneers?

In addition to whitening the smile and strengthening the teeth, veneers are also used to close a gap, such as that which is common between the two front teeth. Additionally, small cracks and chips can also be repaired with veneers.

Does Insurance Cover The Cost Of Veneers?

Typically veneers are used for cosmetic purposes, therefore the cost of veneers aren't usually covered. In some cases, insurance will cover or pay a portion of a veneer if it is being used to repair a damaged or decayed tooth. Many dental clinics offer financing to help make the process more streamlined.

How Are Veneers Applied?

Many times, getting veneers is a two-step process. First, the dentist will remove a thin layer of the tooth or teeth to be covered. This is to allow room for the new tooth front. The new shade will be chosen from an assortment of shade samples. Then an impression will be taken of each tooth and forwarded to the dental laboratory. Some larger clinics may have an onsite lab for fashioning veneers and dentures, but many send them off-site. After the impression(s) are made, temporary veneers will be applied until your custom-made ones are ready to be cemented in place. All of this is done with no anesthesia as it's not a painful procedure, although gentle sedation may be used for patients with dental anxiety issues.

How Are Veneers Taken Care Of?

They are taken care of much like your original teeth, with proper flossing and brushing, however you may want to cut back on your coffee habit as they are still susceptible to staining.