Cosmetic dentistry is constantly advancing, introducing new procedures and options for achieving the beautiful smile you desire. 

While this is good, it can also be challenging when you’re considering dental veneers, and you are facing so many choices. The Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry want to help you get the best dental veneers for your smile. That’s why we’re offering this helpful guide explaining the different dental veneer options available. 

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Categorizing the Differences

Many guides to dental veneers just present you with a list of veneer types. This is an easy organization for the writer, but it can be harder to understand because the different types can be overlapping in ways that aren’t always clear. 

To make the types clearer, we’ve divided them into three categories of differences. We are differentiating dental veneers by:

  • Material
  • Process
  • Placement

Dividing types this way makes it clear that differences in one category don’t necessarily mean differences in other categories. For example, dental veneers of different material types–composite and ceramic–can be placed as palatal veneers.

Need additional guidance on the types of dental veneers? The Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry can evaluate your smile and make personalized recommendations. 

Dental Veneers by Material

The choices for dental veneer materials have grown dramatically in recent years. Now there are potentially dozens of materials available for dental veneers. However, we can break the materials into three basic types: plastic, ceramic, and composite, which combine the two other types. 

Plastic Veneers

Plastic veneers are usually costume veneers, low-cost veneers, removable veneers, or temporary veneers. They are made of different types of plastics, but the strongest and best are made of acrylic, a material commonly used for the base and teeth in traditional dentures. 

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers combine plastic and ceramic materials to get a compromise material. Stronger than plastic but more flexible than ceramic, composite veneers are an application of dental bonding directly to the tooth.

Ceramic Veneers

Ceramic veneers are often called porcelain veneers because they are white like porcelain. In the past, all-ceramic veneers were actually made of porcelain. Modern dental veneers are more likely to be made from different advanced ceramics. We’ve written a handy guide to understanding the benefits and limitations of the ceramics available for dental veneers

Because ceramic veneers are the most attractive and most durable dental veneers, the Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry recommend this type above the others. 

By Process

In addition to the increasing number of veneer materials, the ways that cosmetic dentists can place dental veneers have increased significantly. Understanding the different processes and how they can impact your results is critical to choosing the best dental veneer for your smile.

Traditional Veneers

In the traditional veneers process, your cosmetic dentist will remove some material from your natural teeth. This is just enough material to make room for the veneer and allow for a smooth interface between the veneer and your natural teeth so that plaque and food particles won’t collect there. The removed material also keeps your teeth from looking too bulky. Your cosmetic dentist makes impressions of your prepared teeth and sends the impressions to a dental lab. There, lab technicians make your final veneers, which your cosmetic dentist will cement to your prepared natural teeth. 

The Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry find that this process makes for the best, most natural, and most durable results, so they recommend it above all others. 

Temporary Veneers

Temporary veneers are designed for short-term wear. Most dentists use them just for the period between the design and final fitting of traditional veneers. These veneers can be attractive, but they are not strong or long-lasting. They typically last one to three weeks, just long enough to stand in while a dental lab makes your traditional veneers. 

CAD/CAM Veneers

CAD/CAM veneers are also called “same-day veneers” because their process means that, in some cases, these veneers can be completed in one day. This type of veneer uses digital impressions of your teeth to facilitate the design of the dental veneer. A computerized mill then carves out the veneer from a block of ceramic. The cosmetic dentist will polish, stain and cement the veneers. 

This process can be effective for one or two veneers, but the more veneers you need, the longer the process draws out. They quickly cease to be same-day veneers.

No-Prep Veneers

No-Prep veneers try to eliminate the preparation step in the traditional veneer process by being so thin that the cosmetic dentist can cement them directly to the front of your teeth. Many people hope this makes the veneers process reversible. In truth, some prep is usually necessary for these “minimal prep” veneers. “Lumineers” is a popular brand name for this type of veneer. 

The Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry don’t recommend no-prep veneers because they can’t yield the high-quality cosmetic results we demand for our patients. 

Direct Veneers

Direct veneers are different from all other veneers in this category. All the other veneers in this category are called indirect veneers because they are made first, then bonded to the tooth. However, direct veneers are made directly on the tooth. 

Often, a dentist will apply dental bonding as a putty that sticks to the natural tooth. Then the dentist will shape, harden, and polish the bonding material. Other times, dentists will use a flowable composite that they inject into a mold around your tooth. Though it starts softer, the flowable composite can be harder and stronger than the putty composite. 

Premade Veneers

Premade veneers are not custom-made for you. The veneers are already made. A cosmetic dentist may choose from among several sizes, or you might choose them yourself when you order them online. These veneers may clip on to your natural teeth, or they might have a boil-and-bite interior like sports mouthguards. 

By and large, premade veneers give the least attractive results. 

By Placement

Cosmetic dentists can make veneers of many materials and in many ways, but there remain just three placements for dental veneers. In fact, only one of these is common, but it’s worth knowing that the other two are potential options. 

Window Veneers

Window veneers, also known as facial veneers, cover the front of your natural teeth but don’t extend all the way up to the incisal edge–the part of the tooth that cuts into or crushes food. “Window” is technically the name of the preparation style, but we’re using it because the term facial veneers can sometimes describe incisal veneers.

Incisal Veneers

Incisal veneers cover the front of your tooth all the way up to the incisal edge. Sometimes they may even go up to and over the incisal edge, descending down the back of the tooth. This is by far the most common type of dental veneer placement. In most cases, the Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry will use incisal veneers. 

Palatal Veneers

Palatal veneers seem strange because they go on the backs of your teeth, the part that is rarely seen. This might seem unusual for cosmetic dentistry, but it has a purpose. Cosmetic dentists use palatal veneers to cover the backs of teeth that are badly damaged, often because of bulimia nervosa or another type of purgative eating disorder. The acid from purging behavior erodes the backs of teeth. Palatal veneers can repair and protect vulnerable teeth while preserving more natural tooth structure than a dental crown would.

Find the Best Dental Veneers in Savannah

As you can see, there are many types of dental veneers you can choose from. We understand if you find the information a bit daunting, but that’s where the Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry can help. We can evaluate your smile, listen to your cosmetic and functional goals, then recommend the best type of dental veneer for you. 

To get started getting dental veneers, please call (912) 234-8282 or use our online form to request an appointment at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry, located in the Victorian District of Savannah.