If you’re looking for a smile makeover, or you’ve damaged a tooth, dental veneers can give your teeth a new look.

Here are some details to help you understand this simple, smile-enhancing treatment.

Overview

Dental veneers are thin, tooth-colored shells that are attached to the front and side surfaces of teeth. Typically used on the upper row, veneers can be a long-term solution to cosmetic concerns including crooked, discolored or smaller-than-average teeth. Veneers can also help repair damage, such as broken or chipped teeth.1

Types

Dental veneers are typically made from porcelain or composite resin. Although both types serve the same purpose, they’re different in many ways. Here’s a list of their differences to help you compare:

Porcelain Composite made of ceramic porcelain made of tooth-colored filling material more expensive less expensive usually requires enamel removal may not require enamel removal 2–3 appointments usually 1 appointment last around 20 years last around 5 years will not stain may stain over time less likely to chip or fracture more likely to chip or fracture more difficult to fix easier to fix

Note: Chart information was sourced from the American Dental Association, PDF opens new window

Procedure

Preparation

To begin, the dentist will likely take X-rays and make impressions of your mouth and teeth. If you’re getting porcelain veneers, it could take days or weeks for the veneers to be made. If you’re getting composite veneers, your dentist may be able to create them on the spot.2

Placement

First, the dentist will reshape the surface of each tooth receiving a veneer. The amount of enamel taken away will be nearly equal to the thickness of the veneer.* Next, each tooth will be cleaned, polished and etched. Etching roughens the tooth and can help create a stronger bonding process.3

For porcelain veneers, the dentist will match the fit and color before permanently cementing it to the tooth. Composite veneers are also matched for fit and color and typically custom sculpted on the tooth. To help the cement or composite dry, the dentist may use a special light. The last steps include removing excess cement, making sure your bite is correct and performing a final polish.4

*No-prep veneers may only require minimal tooth preparation. Instead of removing layers of tooth beneath the enamel, only enamel will be removed.5

Recovery

Once the procedure is complete, a follow-up appointment will likely be scheduled. This allows the dentist to check your gums for irritation and make sure the veneers are in place. It also gives you a chance to talk about any discomfort or other symptoms.6

Other than that, dental veneers don’t require special care. Good oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and mouthwash can benefit veneers the same as real teeth.7

Learn about dental plans with Humana

Humana offers a broad range of dental plans with varying levels of coverage, many with low monthly premiums. Some of our plans also feature no waiting periods, which means you could get covered in about 5 days. To see plans and prices in your area, check out our Humana Insurance Company dental insurance page.

Sources

  1. “Dental Veneers,” WebMD, last accessed September 23, 2020, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/veneers#1, opens new window.
  2. “Dental Veneers.”
  3. “Dental Veneers.”
  4. “Dental Veneers.”
  5. “What to Know Before You Get Dental Veneers,” Healthline, last accessed September 23, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-veneers, opens new window.
  6. “Dental Veneers.”
  7. “Dental Veneers.”