If you want a gleaming smile without lots of fuss or expense, then veneers could be the cosmetic dentistry solution you are looking for
16 January 2019| Last updated on 16 January 2019
Thanks to Hollywood and the celebrity world, veneers are increasingly popular in the US, Europe and the rest of the world too!
A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain or ‘composite’ that sits over the front surface of your tooth. These need to be fitted by a professional dentist and are tailor-made just for you.
Normally made of porcelain, they can also be a ‘composite’ made of resin. Veneers can give you an effective smile makeover, through altering the shape and size of your teeth.
Which type should I choose?
You might find it surprising that porcelain is the more durable of the two options, despite being very thin – usually half to 0.7 millimetres. Porcelain veneers also have a more natural look and resist staining from things like coffee and smoking.
However, if you want a cosmetic dentistry ‘quick fix’ then you may prefer composite, which requires only one visit (being made in the dentist’s chair rather than sent away to a dental lab) and is also less expensive.
Who are veneers suitable for?
Veneers will cover a multitude of dental sins. This means that if you have chipped, discoloured, broken or uneven teeth – veneers can help. You can even choose a shade whiter than your natural teeth if you want a whiter smile.
However, if you have an underlying issue, that will need to be treated by your dentist first. Veneers are a great solution for cosmetic problems. So, save them for the end of your treatment when they have the best chance of success.
How much time do they take to fit?
In the first visit to the dentist for your veneers procedure, the dentist will look at your teeth and discuss options with you. In order for veneers to have a surface they can bond to, your own tooth enamel will need to be trimmed or roughened.
Typically the dentist will take away the same amount of enamel that matches the thickness of your veneers. The dentist will also need to take an impression of your teeth and send it away for the veneers to be made - so you may be given temporary veneers to be worn until they are ready.
In the second visit, the dentist will check you & both happy with the fit and feel of your permanent veneers. To secure them into place, the dentist uses an adhesive and a special light to bond the veneer to your tooth. Then – you’re good to go!
How long do they last and how do I care for them?
Porcelain veneers, if properly cared for, can last 10-15 years. If you have a good dental hygiene routine in place already, you shouldn’t need to make any changes. Make sure you are cleaning and flossing regularly, and see the dentist every six months.
It’s sensible to avoid biting on hard things like ice – though you shouldn’t do this with your teeth anyway! Porcelain veneers if broken will need to be replaced, so make sure you take care of them in the same way you would your own teeth. If you have a tooth grinder then you may need to wear a mouthguard at night to protect the veneers.
Before making any decision on your smile makeover, you should talk to your dentist. Dental crowns, contouring or orthodontic treatments like braces might be more suitable for your specific situation – or, they could work as supplementary work to the veneers.