Veneers are an easy way to get a dazzling smile and cover up worn enamel and discolored or uneven teeth. Perhaps best of all, they can achieve these wonderful results with little-to-no removal of tooth structure necessary–the dentist simply bonds the thin porcelain shells to the surface of your teeth. 

But not everyone is a good candidate for veneers. Read on to learn if they’re appropriate for you.

Characteristics of Good Candidates

Good candidates for dental veneers commonly share one or more of the following:

Candidacy Issue You’re a Good Candidate for Veneers if…
Dental flaws You have stained teeth
You have small imperfections with your teeth (cracks, breaks, chips, misshapen teeth, etc.)
Your teeth are slightly misaligned
You have multiple cosmetic issues
Oral health You have enough tooth enamel
You have healthy teeth & gums
You don’t have bad oral habits
You don’t grind your teeth
You maintain a good oral routine
Other You can cover the costs

Candidates Based on Dental Flaws

You Have Stained Teeth

Dealing with stains is possibly the number one reason patients seek veneers. They restore the whiteness to your teeth that has been discolored away over the years by coffee, nicotine, red wine, and other culprits.

You Have Small Imperfections with Your Teeth

If you’ve been living with teeth that have small cracks or chips, or certain teeth that appear longer or shorter than their neighbors and you’re embarrassed by the affect on your smile, veneers are a great way to correct them.

Your Teeth Are Slightly Misaligned

We understand nearly everyone wants to avoid braces if at all possible. And veneers are an appropriate alternative to orthodontics when you have only minor misalignment with your teeth. 

However, if your teeth are severely misaligned, veneers would probably quickly pop loose when you chewed, and therefore braces or Invisalign are the way to go.

You Have Multiple Cosmetic Issues

When it comes to minor cosmetic imperfections, it’s not either-or with veneers: you can have some teeth that are stained, some chipped, some misaligned, or all these at once, and veneers can correct them all at the same time.

Candidates Based on Oral Health

You Have Enough Tooth Enamel

Veneers can actually be used to cover enamel erosion and prevent further loss of this outer surface of your teeth. However, at a certain point, the enamel can become too thin to support veneers, as a slight amount is shaved off during the placement of the veneers. Enamel erosion can be caused by consuming lots of sugary drinks or foods, having poor brushing habits, genetics, and bulimia.

When you don’t have enough tooth enamel for a veneer, a porcelain crown becomes a better option.

You Have Healthy Teeth & Gums

While you don’t have to have perfect oral health to get veneers, if you have cavities or gum disease, the dentist will need to treat those first before you get veneers. Veneers can’t resolve such issues, and having them placed without treating the underlying problems would only make them worse. 

If you have cavities or periodontal disease caused by poor dental hygiene, you should note that teeth can still rot under veneers and cause them to fail. So if you want your veneers to last, you’ll need to develop better habits…

You Don’t Have Bad Habits

Other practices that can damage veneers include biting your nails, chewing pens, using your teeth to open things, etc. Unless you don’t mind spending the money to keep redoing your veneers–assuming they can be redone–it’s best to learn to drop these bad habits for good.

You Don’t Grind Your Teeth

There is a higher failure rate of veneers in patients with bruxism, both from fracturing of the porcelain and debonding of the attachment. If you have a history of teeth grinding, your teeth may need to be restored before they’re healthy enough to support veneers. 

And for them to last, you’ll need to put in the work to identify what’s causing you to grind your teeth, whether stress, anxiety, a side effect of medication, or something else, and get it under control.

You Maintain a Good Oral Routine

It’s worth repeating here: twice daily brushing, once daily flossing, and biannual check-ups are necessary to keep your natural teeth, and your veneered teeth, healthy and beautiful.

Take care of your teeth with the Bunker Hill Dentistry Caring for Teeth Guide.

Candidates Based on Other Factors

You Can Cover the Costs

Because they’re considered an elective cosmetic procedure, your insurance provider will likely not cover your veneers procedure. Thus, you’ll need to cover the out-of-pocket cost. This will be several hundred dollars per tooth, so you’ll definitely want to take care of them if you decide to have them placed.

Getting Veneers with Other Dental Work

Previous dental work you’ve had may affect your candidacy for veneers.

  • Implants – It’s common to have veneers placed alongside implants; however, although it’s possible to place veneers over implants, it’s generally better to replace the implant crown itself. This is because adhering a new veneer to an old implant crown can be difficult – grinding a crown down to prepare it for a veneer could break the crown while adhesives won’t bond to porcelain crowns as well as they bond to enamel. In addition, old implant crowns eventually need to be replaced anyway to avoid leakage or decay underneath them.
  • Crowns – Again, it may be possible to place a veneer over a crown but is not recommended due to potential bond weakness. 
  • Fillings and bonding – Veneers can work over teeth that have small fillings or bonding on either the front or the backside of your tooth, but when they wrap around to both sides, a crown is the better option. 
  • Missing tooth – A veneer bonds to the surface of a tooth, so there must be a tooth to begin with!

Alternatives to Veneers

There are several alternative options to veneers depending on what dental issue you need to fix:

Whitening: Teeth whitening is an inexpensive fix for stained teeth, although it has some drawbacks. Whitening only improves the color of teeth and can’t remove every kind of stain. Moreover, it generally lasts about a year.

In contrast, veneers can last up to 15 years and can correct even the most severe stains.

Orthodontic treatment: Although veneers can resolve mild cases of tooth misalignment, braces and Invisalign are more appropriate for moderate to severe structural problems. In these cases, there may be pain or discomfort associated with chewing and veneers are simply not designed to treat these issues. 

Crowns: Veneers can correct small cracks and chips, but for serious decay a crown needs to be the remedy. A crown is a restoration that covers the entirety of the tooth, whereas veneers cover only the visible surface. 

Bonding: Veneers and bonding have a lot of overlap in their capabilities, making bonding the closest alternative to veneers. Bonding has the advantage of being able to be completed in minutes, while being less expensive than veneers. But, while bonding is durable and typically lasts 5-10 years, porcelain veneers can last up to 20 years with good care.

How Are Candidates Determined?

Your dentist makes the ultimate call on whether veneers are right for you in a consultation. 

He or she can help you make the best choice based on your preferences for how long the selected treatment should last, your budget, and your comfort level with various procedures.

Your dentist may also spot additional dental issues that could impact the best course of treatment.

Getting Veneers at Bunker Hill Dentistry