A dental veneer is a thin layer of material placed over a tooth, to improve aesthetic look or protect the surface of the tooth from damage either from tooth decay or physical contact. The material used in dental veneer is categorized into composite and dental porcelain. A composite is a type of synthetic resin consists of different polymers or compounds made of mixture of repeating structural units. Dental porcelain is a type of porcelain or ceramic consisting of clay and other minerals suitable for dental use. Porcelain veneer is considered stronger and less likely to stain than composite veneer.
A Short History
Veneers were invented in California by a dentist named Charles Pincus. The primary use for Pincus’s veneer was to change actors tooth appearance temporarily to a more pleasing appearance. Pincus’s veneer feel in disuse due to being held together by dental adhesives which would not often last long.
A Stronger Bond
In 1892, researchers discovered a way to hold the veneer in the surface of the tooth permanently through etching of dental porcelain and composite resins by hydrofluoric acid. The etching process greatly strengthened the bonds of the porcelain and composite resins to a level which can permanently support the veneer.
Back to the Future
In the 21st century, modern veneers have a life span of 10-30 years. After which they have to be replaced due to damages such as cracking, leaking, chipping, discoloration, decay, erosion, and shrinkage.
Uses of Dental Veneers
The dental veneer is important for cosmetic dentistry in which it can restore single or multiple teeth to create a sparkling white smile. Veneers can be used to fill up spaces or gaps not solved by orthodontics. Veneers can restore worn-out edges of the tooth and correct mal-positioned tooth. Veneers can also be used to lengthened worn-out teeth, fill in gaps caused by gum recession, treat discoloration of the tooth provide uniform shape, size, length, symmetry and correct position of the tooth. Veneers are often recommended for aged individuals due to normal wear-and-tear of the tooth.
Veneers can often treat dental abnormalities instantly and is considered for individuals who do not want to avail dental procedures which require a long period of time to take effect. Veneers are often considered harmful to simulate tooth straightening for younger people with healthy teeth due to preparations for veneer installation. Veneer installation of requires the destruction of the outer layer of the tooth, which is counter intuitive for younger people. The destruction of the enamel surface may outweigh the benefits after 10 years in which the veneer may be gone, needs repair, or no longer satisfactory condition versus healthy tooth.