Cosmetic Dentistry 101: Veneers

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Dental procedures can add zest to your smile

By Dr. Salina Suy


Cosmetic dentistry is by far one of my favorite cases to do in dentistry — it combines the art and science of the smile!

The smile is such a beautiful creation and there are many methods to create the smile you have always dreamed of.

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is generally referred to dental work that creates positive changes in your overall smile appearance and includes alterations in shade, shape, size and positioning of the teeth.

Common procedures done are whitening, veneers and alignment of the teeth, while many of these procedures may be combined.

In this part of cosmetic dentistry 101, we will talk about one of the most desired procedures in dentistry: the veneer.

Veneers Before

Veneers After

Composite veneers


Before (top): The patient disliked the rotation of her teeth and the discrepancy in size and shape. Dentist evaluation: #7 rotated outward to the right, #8 rotated toward middle, #9 rotated toward middle, #10 rotated outward to the left. After (bottom): Composite veneers placed on four front teeth make them look straight, aesthetic and more evenly shaped.

You may have heard about the veneer before — its reputation is associated with the perfect smiles — from celebrities to your next-door neighbor, veneers are a hot topic in dentistry.

So what is a veneer?

Veneers in dentistry are a layer of material placed over a tooth. Veneers improve the aesthetics of a smile and can protect the tooth’s surface from damage. There are two different ways to fabricate a veneer: composite (direct) and dental porcelain (indirect).

A composite veneer is a veneer that the dentists place themselves with white filling material directly on the tooth. Composite veneers are dependent on the dentist’s aesthetics skills and are very noninvasive — sometimes very little or no tooth structure needs to be removed.

Composite veneers will need to be redone throughout the lifetime of the tooth since the material is not as strong. Composite veneers, if taken care of properly, can last up to five years.

Proper oral hygiene will reduce the chance of dulling, staining or breakage over time.
This material will not bleach, so stains and dulling cannot be removed. Composite veneers will range in price but are around $250-$400 depending on your dentist.

A porcelain veneer is a veneer made out of a wafer-thin glass material that is bonded onto your tooth. This type of veneer is created in the lab.

lady smiling with veneersPorcelain veneers add dazzle to one’s smile.

The process of the porcelain veneer may or may not need removal of tooth structure (veneer preparation), and requires an impression of the teeth to be sent to the lab for evaluation.

From the impression, the lab will create your porcelain veneers into a beautiful shell of glass ceramic material. These veneers can be customized completely according to the smile design prescribed by your dentist and are then bonded onto the tooth structure.

Porcelain veneers if taken care of properly can last up to 20 years and can be as strong as the natural tooth, sometimes even stronger. Porcelain veneers will range in price but are around $1000-$2000 depending on your dentist.

Veneers are a great service for patients and may be what you were looking for. The porcelain veneer procedure is much more invasive and complex than the composite veneer procedure, I would advise speaking with your dentist thoroughly about which option is best for you!