When it comes to minor dental issues, such as discoloration, worn dental enamel, small chips, and cracks—correction is often achieved with concealment. Dental veneers are laminate restorations bonded to the outward surface of teeth, shaped and color-matched to resemble natural dental enamel. When applied to the teeth, any imperfections are hidden beneath the veneer. While dental veneers are typically supplied to adult patients, what about when your teen has a minor dental problem that could conceivably be improved with a dental veneer? Are these restorations suitable for teens?
The Nature of the Issue
There are no major clinical obstacles that prevent a teen from receiving a dental veneer, but children's dental care specialists may recommend another approach. Depending on the nature of the issue, another form of treatment might be more appropriate. Worn dental enamel, along with small chips and cracks—these issues may benefit more from dental bonding (with the imperfection being patched and smoothed using dental cement to rebuild the tooth's surface). In a nutshell, you might think that a dental veneer is the best solution for your teen, but a dentist may have other suggestions.
When a veneer is determined to be the best solution for your teen's dental problem, the process is similar to when an adult needs a veneer, although with some practical differences. A person's jaw growth will continue into their late teens, and while the shape and size of their teeth will not change, the configuration (placement) of their teeth will subtly shift with the continuing expansion of their jaw. This means that veneers placed on a younger jaw will need eventual replacement to reflect the ultimate dimensions of the jaw.
Most adult veneers are made of porcelain, as it's easy enough for a dentist to work with, offers the required strength, and accurately mimics the translucence of natural dental enamel. It's not the cheapest option, and so acrylic veneers can be recommended for teens. These lack the durability of porcelain veneers and are prone to discoloration, but are considerably less expensive than porcelain. If a teen needs veneers, relatively inexpensive acrylic veneers can be useful in the short term—with these acrylic restorations being replaced with porcelain when your child's jaw has fully grown.
When veneers are the best option for your teen, it's helpful to remember that the restorations they receive now are intended to be replaced. Due to the cost of porcelain veneers, acrylic restorations are an ideal solution until your child is ready for a permanent fix.