Dental veneers are thin, tooth-coloured shells or coverings made of porcelain or various types of composite materials that are placed over the front surface of your teeth. Dental veneers are customised to match the colour and general shape of your existing teeth so they look just like new and improved versions of your own teeth.
Who Should Consider a Veneer?
Veneers are generally used to improve the appearance of teeth rather than to repair damage.
Veneers can be the cosmetic solution for:
- gaps between teeth
- broken, chipped or cracked teeth
- badly stained or coloured teeth
- crooked or irregularly shaped teeth
- obvious, aesthetically-displeasing fillings.
Veneers can only be applied if your teeth and gums are in good condition. They may not be suitable if you grind or clench your teeth because that can crack the veneer.
What Are Veneers Made From?
There are two main types of dental veneers available: composite resin or porcelain. The best material for you depends on your individual desires and budget.
- Composite Resin Veneers
Composite resin veneers are usually placed on the tooth in just one appointment. Once the tooth has been reshaped for the veneer, the dentist bonds and shapes the composite material to best match your teeth. A special light is then used to harden the material and the veneer is smoothed to look like a natural tooth. While these are a more affordable option than porcelain veneers, they can last up to 4-8 years and require more maintenance as they are more prone to chipping.
- Porcelain Veneers
A more durable and longer-lasting option, porcelain veneers can. The dentist will make an impression of your prepared teeth and send them to a laboratory, where they can replicate the shape for your veneers. Once they have been made, the dentist will ask you back to the practice so they can ensure the veneers are the perfect shape, fit and colour-match for your teeth. Dental cement is then used to bond the veneers to the teeth.
Composite vs Porcelain Veneers- Which is Better?
Which veneer is best for you will depend on your budget, your desired results and your lifestyle. Both composite and porcelain veneers can offer a new, improved smile without complicated surgery.
Porcelain veneers are very durable, look very life-like and natural and are resistant to staining. They can last 10-15 years with proper care and regular dental check-ups. However, if they crack or chip, the whole veneer must be replaced. Porcelain veneers cost significantly more than composite veneers. Porcelain veneers cost more because of the material used, and the time it takes to apply and create them. It will take 2-3 visits before your porcelain visit is placed.
Composite resin veneers, on the other hand, can be added to your existing teeth in one visit. Any chips or cracks to composite resin veneers can be repaired and they are significantly cheaper than porcelain veneers. However, composite veneers do not look as life-like as porcelain veneers and are more prone to chipping and staining.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
- They provide a natural tooth appearance.
- They provide a natural tooth appearance.
- Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- The colour of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
- Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth's colour and shape
What are the Disadvantages of Veneers?
- The process is irreversible
- Veneers can be costly
- Porcelain veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
- Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- The veneer's colour cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
- Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth.
- Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth (for example, those with decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface.
- Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers to crack or chip.
- Veneers will need replacing at some point
- After your veneers have been placed, it is even more important you maintain good oral habits- brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once in the evening. This will help to avoid tooth decay and gum disease which could compromise the look of your new veneers.
- Avoid strongly pigmented foods- it is recommended to watch the teas, coffees, red wines, colas
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain your regular 6 monthly check-ups