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Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

6 min read

By Katherine George

For most people our teeth are really important to us because it’s one of the first things we notice about another person’s appearance. This is why lots of people around the world spend big bucks trying to either fix or alter their smile, whether that be with whitening products, braces, retainer, dental implant surgery, or dental veneers. Sometimes these procedures are for health reasons, but most of the time it’s purely cosmetic.

Making the decision of whether or not to get dental veneers is a big one. It can bring a lot of benefits, but there are also some risks to be aware of. We’re hoping to make the decision a little easier with this list of pros and cons…

1. What are Dental Veneers

Dental veneers, sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates, are “wafer-thin custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance,” explains WebMD.

According to 1st Family Dental, people get veneers to fix discolored teeth that have been damaged from root canals, fillings, or other procedures. They can also be used to fix chipped or broken teeth, irregularly shaped teeth, teeth with gaps, or any other dental issues.

2. Types of Veneers

While porcelain veneers are probably the most popular, there are a few different types. We’ll start with porcelain. They are the most expensive, but you get what you pay for because they are also the “best looking,” says 1st Family Dental.

Then there are composite veneers which are similar to porcelain but make from the same material that is used to fill cavities. This type is more often used to fix chips and gaps between teeth. While they are less expensive, the source notes that they are also less durable.

Instant veneers are a “quicker option” because they can be applied in the same appointment as the consultation. This type of veneer is also more affordable, but cannot be matched as precisely to the other natural teeth.

Lastly, there are removable veneers which are a newest model to the group. 1st Family Dental describes them as a hybrid between porcelain and instant veneers. “They are custom made to match your teeth and can be removed as needed.” This option is the least expensive and is not a long-term solution. It’s just a short term solution for people who have broken or missing teeth.

3. Pro: Whiten Your Smile

We’ve all been there before. You look in the mirror one day and suddenly your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be. While it can be embarrassing, it’s not uncommon and hard to avoid if you enjoy things like red wine and coffee. It’s also one of many unfortunate side effects of smoking (if you’re a smoker).

Luckily, there is the possibility that dental veneers can whiten your smile as the “color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter,” says WebMD.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) assure that veneers are “largely stain-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about discoloration or needing to have your veneers whitened,” writes Colgate.

4. Pro: Fixes Cosmetic Problems

One of the many reasons that people get dental veneers is because they have the ability to fix cosmetic problems like crooked teeth, discolored teeth, chipped or broken teeth as well as gapped teeth, just to name a few. While some of these problems are more commonly fixed with orthodontic treatments like braces, they can also be fixed with veneers.

“Veneers are attached to the front surfaces of your teeth – so although they don’t change their positions, they do camouflage minor orthodontic problems once they’re applied,” writes Colgate. “Your natural teeth may still be gapped or crooked, but nobody will know aside from you and your dentist.”

It’s important to note that you should always consult a dentist to decide which treatment would work best. While the option is there, in some cases they might suggests having orthodontic treatment instead.

5. Pro: Natural Looking

As we already mentioned, one of the perks of the porcelain veneers are that they are extremely natural looking. No one will be able to tell that you have them aside from you and your dentist! Dr. Emma Wu & Associates writes on their blog that the porcelain fixture resembles tooth enamel so well that it even reflects light in the same way as a natural tooth.

6. Pro: They Last Long and They’re Durable

As long as the dental veneers are taken care of properly, they should last a long time and be able to withstand a lot. It’s very rare that veneers are ever easily damaged. Dr. Emma Wu & Associates writes that veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years before they ever need replacing.

7. Pro: Instant Results

Unlike some other kinds of dental surgery or procedures, there aren’t many steps to dental veneers and the results are pretty instantaneous. “Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative,” writes WebMD.

8. Con: Color Might Not Match Exactly

While dental veneers are able to whiten a person’s smile, it’s also impossible to exactly match them to the color of your other teeth, says WebMD. Also, once they have been put into place, they cannot be altered, so if you plan on having your teeth whitened, do it before you get dental veneers.

9. Con: Susceptible to Damage

Even though dental veneers are pretty durable and damage to them doesn’t happen very often, it can. For example, “though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects, or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth,” writes WebMD.

If the veneers become damaged in the form of a chip or crack, they cannot be repaired, says WebMD.

10. Con: Expensive

WebMD points out that dental veneers are typically more costly than composite resin bonding. Of course, the cost of the procedure depends on where you live, what dentist you’re using and the number of teeth that need to be restored. Either way, it’s not going to be cheap.

Colgate cites a 2017 survey from members of American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry which found that “the average cost of a single veneers was $1,313.” Yikes!

11. Con: Increased Sensitivity

This one doesn’t happen to everyone, but it can happen. Some people will experience tooth sensitivity after getting dental veneers. WebMD explains that this happens “because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.”

Colgate reassures that the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry states that this sensitivity will likely only last a few days and will eventually go away on its own.

12. Con: Irreversible Procedure

This one seems obvious, but just in case, one of the disadvantages of getting dental veneers is that they are permanent. The procedure is irreversible because “your dentist needs to change the structure of your natural teeth to properly place them,” writes Colgate. “In this way, the outer layer of your enamel may be removed to make room.”

You’ve been forewarned to do some research ahead of time and pick the right dentist because if you don’t like the results, you’re stuck with them! Do lots of research and make sure it’s something you really want.

13. Con: Not Everyone is Eligible

Unfortunately, not everyone is an ideal candidate for dental veneers. On the bright side, most people are. The select few who aren’t would be the people who have unhealthy teeth that are known to have decay or active gum disease. You cannot get veneers if you have weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or if you’ve already suffered a problem with lack of enamel on the teeth, says WebMD.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!

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