Dental veneers are an effective way to hide certain imperfections in your smile. Veneers can be used to hide unsightly gaps, chips, or stains. However, there are some drawbacks to traditional veneers. One of the most serious drawbacks has to do with the fact that in order to install traditional veneers, dentists have to remove some of the enamel from the patient's teeth. This can result in several problems, including increased tooth sensitivity and an increased risk of trauma to the tooth. The removal of enamel also means that veneers must be considered permanent and must be replaced if lost. However, a new type of minimally invasive veneer may eliminate some of these side effects for patients. Take a look at what you need to know about minimally invasive veneers.
Keep Your Enamel
One of the most important features of minimally invasive (sometimes called prep-less or no-prep) veneers is that they're designed to fit over your existing tooth enamel or at least enable your dentist to remove very little enamel to apply them. Some sanding or shaping of your teeth may be necessary, but you'll keep all or most of your original tooth structure.
In most cases, preserving as much of your original tooth enamel as possible is preferable. Enamel is important for tooth health, as it prevents tooth sensitivity and protects your teeth from infection and trauma. Minimally invasive veneers are a healthier way to get the smile makeover that you want. They also allow people who cringe at the sound of the dentist's drill or have trouble getting numb enough with local anesthesia to skip those experiences. Keeping your existing enamel often means no drilling and no need for an anesthetic.
Spend Less Time in Prep
It can take weeks or even months between deciding that you want traditional veneers to actually having them applied. Traditional veneers are often made in off-site labs before being shipped to your dentist, which adds to the time frame. Your dentist will also have to spend more time removing enamel and prepping your teeth with traditional veneers, and the removal of enamel can be painful and make recovery time longer.
Minimally invasive veneers are often made in on-site labs at your dentist's office, which can considerably limit the time between your decision to get veneers and their application. What's more, the ability to apply the veneers over your existing enamel results in less prep time and less time needed for recovery after the procedure.
Keep Smiling For Years to Come
Just because you're opting for minimally invasive veneers doesn't mean that you won't be able to keep them as long. When you choose no-prep veneers, the veneers are bonded with cement to your tooth enamel. This bond is at least as strong as the bond between traditional veneers and the dentin underneath your enamel.
You can expect your veneers to last between seven and twenty years. When it comes to longevity, what's more important than whether you choose traditional or minimally invasive veneers is the health of your mouth and gums and how well you take care of your teeth. Maintaining good dental hygiene habits and visiting your dentist regularly will help your veneers last longer.
Create a Natural Smile
Minimally invasive veneers are made of very thin pieces of porcelain – sometimes they are as thin as a contact lens. The material can be easily altered if necessary so your dentist can create a look that complements the shape of your face and mouth and the natural color of your teeth. The result is a smile that looks totally natural for you.
If you've been considering veneers but weren't sold on the idea of having your existing tooth enamel remove, ask your cosmetic dentist whether you're a candidate for no-prep or minimally invasive veneers. You can get the look that you want without losing your existing tooth structure.