Main page> Treatments> Cosmetic Dentistry> Dental Veneers
Veneers are extremely thin ‘shells’ which are custom made to match your other teeth and to fit snugly to the one which need improvement. They can be made from porcelain or from composite resins and are bonded to the front of the teeth; this changes the colour, size, shape or length, depending on the cosmetic requirements. Porcelain veneers are better at resisting staining than resin veneers and also are more like natural tooth enamel in the way they reflect light when you smile... Resin veneers are a lot thinner and so your dentist won’t need to remove quite so much of the tooth surface when fitting them. When you have your first consultation with your dentist, you will be able to discuss all of the options which are open to you and which will suit you the best.
Why choose veneers?
- Your teeth are discoloured – this can be for a number of reasons; root canal treatment; stains from therapeutic drugs; excessive fluoride or you may have had large resin fillings.
- You have worn teeth which need rebuilding.
- Your teeth that are chipped or broken leaving rough edges.
- You have misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth.
- You want to close the space between your teeth.
If I decide on veneers, what is involved?
You will need three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers. This will be the same even if you need more than one tooth treated.
- Diagnosis and treatment planning.
This is the planning stage. You can discuss with your dentist what your expectations are and if they can be met. Your dentist will then do some preparatory work which may involve X-rays and taking a mould of your mouth.
At this stage, your dentist will remove about 0.5mm of tooth surface – this is equal to the thickness of the veneer and is necessary for the eventual comfort of the tooth. You might need a local anaesthetic before this process – everyone is different and whether you have one or not is totally your choice. It doesn’t hurt, but may be a little uncomfortable. Your dentist will then take a cast of the tooth, so that the laboratory can make the veneer to fit absolutely precisely. Time taken for the veneers to be made does vary but if you are unhappy about the appearance of your mouth in the meantime, temporary veneers can be fitted, though there may be an extra charge for these.
Before the veneer is permanently bonded to your tooth, your dentist will attach it lightly to make sure it is the right size and colour. The colour can be fine tuned with the cement used in the final attachment and any problems with fit are adjusted at this stage. The tooth is then etched, to give a rough surface to accept the cement, which is then applied to the veneer which is then placed on your tooth. Once the veneer is in absolutely the right position on the tooth, your dentist will apply a special light beam to it, which activates chemicals in the cement causing it to harden (cure) very quickly. Finally, your dentist will make sure that everything is in place, will evaluate the integrity of your bite, remove excess cement and generally check all is well. At this point you may be given another appointment in a few weeks, but if anything feels wrong before that, your dentist will be more than happy to see you to make sure everything is as it should be.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
Veneers offer a relatively simple way to improve the appearance of teeth which are not cosmetically pleasing for some reason. They look very natural and can be made to match the existing teeth very accurately but as well as looking good they are well tolerated by gum tissue, so there is little receding of the tooth line and the procedure is far less invasive than having a crown fitted, which requires some very extensive shaping of the tooth.
What Are the Disadvantages of Dental Veneers?
Veneers are the best choice for many people, but their disadvantages must be considered. These will be discussed at the planning stage. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the process is not reversible and veneers are not usually repairable if they should chip or crack, but most dentists are happy to replace any that are crack because of faulty manufacture. Veneers usually cost a lot more than composite resin bonding. Because you have had some enamel removed to fit the veneers, you may find an increased sensitivity to hot and cold. Because the colour of the veneer when fitted can’t be changed, you should make sure that you whiten your teeth before having them fitted, not afterwards or they won’t match. You must always remember that the veneers may get dislodged, although this is not very likely. To avoid this possibility, you should try to avoid putting excessive pressure on your teeth by biting your nails, chewing pencils, ice and other hard things. If you grind your teeth you may also experience problems. You can still get decay in a veneered tooth and then you will need a crown. Again, at the planning and preparation stage, your dentist will check your teeth thoroughly and deal with any caries at the time. Some people are not really good candidates for veneers, as teeth need to be healthy before the procedure is carried out so don't be disappointed if your dental practice will not fit them – it is the future health of your mouth they will have in mind.
How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?
Veneers generally last between 5 and 10 years and after this time will need to be replaced. A look at the paragraph on disadvantages will give you a good idea as to whether you are likely to get the best lifespan from your veneers or not.
Will I need to take special care of my veneers?
All you need to do is to continue with good dental hygiene, including flossing and rigorous adherence to your check-up routine. Porcelain veneers resist stains well, but you may like to consider limiting your intake of coffee, tea and red wine, which are known to cause staining.
If I don’t choose veneers, what are my other options??
You could choose bondings and crowns but for most people, veneers offer a nice intermediate option. They are best for people who need a little cosmetic adjustment, rather than major work which is best suited to a crown.