If your smile is less-than-perfect, you don't need to undergo a ton of drilling to get it fixed. Whether your teeth are yellowed or stained, chipped or crooked, your dentist may recommend veneers to give you the smile you always wanted.
Veneers are thin, custom-made coverings that are bonded to your teeth to change their shape and brighten their color. Typically, they're made of the same type of high-quality porcelain as porcelain crowns, and can last 20 years with proper care. But unlike crowns, veneers don't require your dentist to remove as much of your original tooth, and that means a lot less drilling.
"That’s the part that patients really like," said Spring Hill dentist Dr. Jeffrey May. "It can be hard to sit still and listen to that drill, especially if you need several teeth to be prepped. Veneers reduce that part of the process and can quickly and dramatically change a person’s smile."
Typically, it takes two visits to get you the smile you want. "During the first visit, we evaluate the teeth and gums for oral health," said Dr. May, who has been practicing since 2001. "That same day, we can do the necessary prep work, take impressions of your teeth and create digital before-and-after photos to send to the lab. We'll tell them everything from the shape of the veneer to the exact shade of white we want. We even decide the type of bonding cement, whether it should be clear or opaque. That way, the lab knows exactly what our cosmetic goals are."
You'll get your veneers on the second visit. Most people choose to get a set of veneers, which might mean veneers for 10 to 12 teeth on top and 6 to 10 teeth on the bottom. It depends on the patient's smile, and how dramatic a change the person desires. Some people have wide smiles, and may choose to get veneers placed from molar to molar. Other people have smaller smiles and only their front few teeth show. Look in the mirror or at pictures of yourself before you go to the dentist so you can discuss the right treatment option for you. Your doctor will evaluate your particular case, and may recommend crowns for some of your teeth as well. Your dentist may want to use a crown to add stability and strength to a tooth for clinical reasons. Typically, veneers are considered a cosmetic procedure and are not covered by insurance.
There are different kinds of veneers. You may have heard about Lumineers; that’s one brand of veneers that does not require any reduction of the tooth. They're ultra-thin and can be a good choice for people who don’t want to change the shape of their original tooth, said Dr. May. In some cases, there’s no drilling or need for a shot of local anesthesia to numb the area.
Best of all, it's easy to care for veneers. You follow the same routine as you do for your original teeth: brush twice daily and floss between them once a day. With proper care, you’ll have a camera-ready, brilliantly-white smile for years to come!
Jeffrey May, DMD, provides general dentistry services to patients age 8 and up. Services include bone grafting, laser crown lengthening, dental implant restorations, dental implants, extractions, gummy smile treatment, veneers, Lumineers, periodontal disease management, ridge augmentation, root canal therapy and retreatment, soft tissue graft, and laser therapy. Dr. May has extensive training in cosmetic dentistry and in the advanced use of digital imaging, which enables patients to preview their smile prior to the start of treatment. He is also skilled in the use of digital x-ray and intra-oral imaging. Dr. May is fluent in English and Spanish and has traveled to the Dominican Republic to provide free dental care on mission trips. He practices at Coast Dental Spring Hill in Brooksville, FL. The phone number is (352) 596-8199.
Written by: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed by: Jeffrey May, DMD
Reviewed by: Diaa Ghabbour, DMD
Reviewed by: Chuck Laun, DDS