Do you have stained, cracked, chipped or uneven teeth? Veneers can help!
What are dental veneers?
Veneers are thin laminates or shells of tooth-coloured material. They are “cemented” to the front surface of teeth to improve their cosmetic appearance. Many dentists use the analogy that dental veneers are for your teeth what false fingernails are for your hands. They can be either porcelain/ ceramic or composite bonding material. Veneers are used to cover up discoloration, cracks and chipping, and to change the shape or size of your teeth. The best part of veneers are that they look and feel completely natural.
What treatments or problems are veneers used for?
There are a wide variety of reasons why patients opt for treatment with dental veneers:
Stained teeth – badly stained teeth that cannot be improved by teeth whitening can be greatly improved by dental veneers, which function to cover any existing stains on your teeth. One of the common applications is for teeth stained from birth or childhood by tetracycline. Veneers work well to reduce this problem.
Damaged teeth – teeth that have become badly worn through excessive grinding or by carbonated drinks, as well as those that have been chipped or broken, can benefit from veneers. A small chip on a tooth can quickly be repaired with composite bonding, also known as “composite veneers”. A single damaged tooth can easily be repaired with a porcelain veneer that has the same characteristics and colour as you natural teeth.
Gaps – spaces or gaps (diastimas) between your teeth can easily be closed using dental veneers, giving you a more uniform-looking smile.
Crooked teeth – Veneers are not the ideal treatment for crooked teeth, and from the point of view of preserving your natural teeth structure, orthodontics or Invisalign braces would probably a better solution. However, such treatments can take up to a year or longer. For teeth that are not severely crooked, veneers placed over their front surface will give a straight and perfectly aligned-looking smile. For this type of treatment, many people refer to veneers as “instant orthodontics”, as you get a similar end result in a fraction of the time.
So which are better: composite veneers or porcelain veneers?
The most popular type of veneers is porcelain, which offers a stronger and more durable alternative to its composite counterpart. Composite veneers are also more prone to staining and do not last as long as porcelain veneers. Porcelain (sometimes also known as ceramic) veneers also offer a more natural looking, translucent appearance.
Composite veneers are much cheaper than porcelain veneers in general, but considering that they do not last as long and need replacing more often, they could end up costing more in the long run. Composite work is ideal for small chips, as this treatment preserves more of your natural tooth structure.
Porcelain laminate veneer procedures are very precise and time consuming, but their results can be extremely worthwhile. Stronger and longer lasting than composite resin restorations, they are the current state-of-the-art procedure to restore and beautify your smile.
Why would you recommend a porcelain veneer?
Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s colour, size, or shape. Porcelain veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth stained by tetracycline, by an injury, or as a result of a root-canal procedure, and are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may also be candidates to receive porcelain veneers.
What happens during the procedure?
We will spend time with you to understand your expectations and to determine the correct placement of veneers for improving your smile.
Under local anaesthetic, we will lightly buff off a thin layer from your original teeth. We will then take a mould of your teeth, in order to fabricate a veneer that will be a 100% match to your teeth. This fabrication process will take approximately one week. During this one week, your teeth may look just slightly different as they have been buffed, but it is just a temporary inconvenience. If this is unsightly, we may advise placement of a temporary veneer while waiting for the final one.
On the day of your fitting, we will first test the new veneer for good colour and fit matching. Once we have determined that the new veneer is a good match, we will bond the veneers on using a special light-catalysed cement, which is extremely strong.
During the first one or two weeks after your procedure, your teeth will feel slightly foreign to you. This is normal as your body has not completely gotten used to having veneers. This feeling soon fades, and you will feel as if they are your actual teeth.
Have realistic expectations
Porcelain veneers are reasonable copies of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the colour of porcelain veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance the smile, and can heighten inner satisfaction and self-esteem.