Dental veneers are an excellent resource in cosmetic dentistry. However, they also come with their share of misconceptions and myths. Here are nine common myths about dental veneers debunked for your edification.
What Are Dental Veneers?
The first iteration of dental veneers was created by Dr. Charles Pincus, a California dentist, in 1928. His strategy was to apply false fronts to the teeth of Hollywood stars, including James Dean, Joan Crawford, Walt Disney, and even America’s Sweetheart Shirley Temple. His practice gave birth to not only a new dental technology but also to our fixation with “movie star smiles.”
Unlike Veneers 1.0, dental veneers now are permanent additions to real teeth. They consist of a thin layer of porcelain or composite resin applied to the front of teeth to give them a uniform and bright appearance. Rumor and fear, which commonly surrounds any dental procedure, has caused several myths about dental veneers to spring up, but you need not be misinformed.
Common Myths About Dental Veneers
Myth #1: Veneers are Fake-Looking
Some people hesitate to get dental veneers because they assume they will be unnaturally white or be obviously fake. While this was true of early veneers, it is not now. Dental veneers are color-matched to your teeth, so even if you only have one or two installed, they will not stand out. Those who worry a veneer smile will look like it came out of a catalog can rest easy. Since veneers follow the alignment of your natural teeth, a professional dentist office can offer veneers that are unique to your smile.
Myth #2: Veneers Only Serve to Whiten Teeth
Number two on our list of myths about dental veneers is founded in truth: dental veneers are excellent at color correction and making teeth appear whiter if a patient desires. However, that is not all they are good for. Dental veneers can also be used to correct gapping, worn teeth, or a misaligned smile.
Myth #3: Veneers Stain Easily
This is one of the most common myths about dental veneers, and it stems from valid concern. Why have your teeth color-corrected by something that will only stain again? Fortunately, veneers are designed to resist staining, which is one of the reasons that porcelain is used to craft veneers: it is not porous like tooth enamel. Regular proper oral hygiene should keep your veneers looking bright and clean.
Myth #4: Veneers Are Only for Front Teeth
While veneers are beneficially cosmetically, as mentioned earlier they are also structurally efficient. This means that their purpose is not relegated to only the front teeth. While the front teeth are the most common recipients of veneers, veneers can be used on other teeth to correct non-cosmetic issues such as chipping or cracking, discoloration, or gapping. Every patient is different, and in order to provide a complete smile enhancement, the total number of veneers required will depend on how many teeth show when a patient smiles.
Myth #5: Veneers Weaken the Teeth
The installation process for veneers involves taking off a small part of the natural teeth to make sure the veneer sits properly and blends naturally into the smile. This causes some to suppose that veneers weaken the natural teeth. That fear is unfounded. Such a small amount is removed in the process—generally about a millimeter—that it is not detrimental to tooth integrity. In fact, porcelain and composite resin are both durable and tough, so dental veneers actually serve to shore up teeth.
Myth #6: Teeth Will Need to be Removed
This is one of the easiest myths about dental veneers to dispel. Veneers attach to the front of natural teeth, so while a small bit of tooth is shaved away (the minimal amount just to make sure the dental veneers fit naturally), the natural tooth remains in place.
Myth #7: Getting Veneers Is a Painful Procedure
Dental anxiety is a real concern during any dental procedure, but those who worry about dental drills can rest easy. Getting dental veneers is a relatively easy procedure, and the dentist will apply a local anesthetic before starting. This can help nervous patients relax and nullify any pain.
Myth #8: The Installation Process Is Long
Depending on the kind of dental veneer you choose, creation and installation will be finished in either one or two appointments. Porcelain veneers require a mold of the teeth to be taken, and that mold is sent to a specific lab to craft the custom veneers, splitting the preparation and installation processes across two appointments. However, composite resin veneers are shaped right on top of the natural tooth, so one appointment is usually enough. Either way, neither process keeps a patient in the dental chair for too long.
Myth #9: Veneers Are Too Expensive
On our list of myths about dental veneers, this one may be the one with the biggest grain of truth. It is true that veneers are not generally covered by insurance, so the bill doesn’t always feel like a bargain. However, most dental clinics have payment plans available if necessary, and the cost is a matter of perspective. Think of dental veneers as an investment: getting veneers strengthens and preserves the longevity of natural teeth while improving their appearance. Feeling confident each time you smile is worth its weight in gold.