What are Dental Veneers?
Veneers are a form of synthetic restoration, used in the dental industry to give patients the appearance of a perfectly straight, white smile. There are several different types of veneers, and various companies that supply them, but they are all manufactured to look and feel exactly like the real thing. The most popular type of veneer is the porcelain variety, which are bonded to the surface of the natural teeth with dental cement, in order to conceal malocclusions or enamel stains. Dental veneers are sometimes referred to as ‘instant orthodontics’ in the industry, because of their ability to rebuild a crooked smile in a matter of weeks, as opposed to the months – or even years – it can take for orthodontic treatment to perform to the desired level.
What dental problems can veneers help with?
There are plenty of things dental veneers can help with, but you should be aware that most of the fitting procedures for porcelain veneers are irreversible.
Enamel staining – Whether it’s due to serious health issues or simply bad genes, bleaching solutions can’t always shift unsightly discolouration – especially if deep layers have been left to build up over time. Fortunately, veneers are perfect for covering up enamel stains and protecting the natural teeth from further damage, although this doesn’t solve the problem itself, it will make it disappear.
Tooth damage – Chipped or broken teeth can often be repaired using composite bonding material, and if the damage is extensive, you might need what is referred to as a ‘composite veneer’, which performs the same function as a porcelain veneer, except it is formed in a very different way. Instead of placing a synthetic laminate over the top of the tooth, malleable filling material is used to repair the affected area, and then built up to a natural, proportional finish.
Misaligned or badly spaced teeth – Veneers are not always considered ideal for crooked or crowded teeth, and most dentists would probably prefer to perform some type of orthodontic treatment instead. However, if the patient’s condition is not extreme, and they are unhappy about having to wait a long time for a new smile, veneers can be used to straighten the teeth, or to fill in spaces left by missing ones.
Which type of veneers should I get?
That depends on your personal situation and your budgetary constraints, but you should go for the best product and service you can afford, to try and guarantee a happy outcome.
Porcelain veneers – These are by far the most popular type of veneer, and products like Lumineers have revolutionised the market with their highly durable, long-lasting shells, which require very little remodelling of the natural teeth. Most traditional porcelain veneers are bulkier and dentists need to reshape the teeth so that the veneer can fit comfortably in place, this does render the process irreversible, but good quality veneers should last fifteen years or longer, without sustaining visible damage. Furthermore, it’s easier to make hard-wearing material like porcelain look more natural, as they can be given a translucent coating during the manufacturing process. This type of veneer will cost a bit more than the alternatives – especially if you choose the cerinate Lumineers over traditional ones – but they will last a long time and look exactly like the real thing.
Composite veneers – It takes a lot of skill and artistic flare to create a natural-looking smile using composite bonding material, but the process does have its benefits; it doesn’t cost as much, and the treatment usually only takes one appointment to be completed – depending on how much re-modelling is required. However, because they are not as durable as their porcelain counterparts, composite veneers tend to be the second choice for most patients, due to the fact that they are more prone to staining, and will only last five to ten years. Bonding material is normally best left for small chips and cracks, but there are some dental surgeons who can create a beautiful smile in half the time it takes for porcelains.
How are dental veneers fitted?
If you are having porcelain veneers, you will need to make at least two appointments; one for the re-shaping of your natural teeth, and the second to have the veneers cemented in place. Between the two appointments, your dentist will send a mould of your filed down teeth to the dental laboratory, so that the technicians can manufacture the laminates to a perfect fit. During this time, most dentists will fit you with a temporary veneer, as protection, but also to make your smile look nice – it’s a good way to test drive what your new teeth will look like too. You will be anaesthetised during the re-modelling process, but you will remain awake, so there’s no need to worry about painful procedures. It may be necessary to make a few adjustments in the first few days after you have your new teeth fitted, as the veneers can take some getting used to.
Composite veneers are made in a very different way to porcelain ones, and they normally only take one sitting to complete, providing you don’t have any more complicated dental problems to deal with. The reason composite veneer treatment is so much faster is that there is no need to wait for laboratory technicians to build the individual shells, the malleable material can be mixed and applied on site. First, your teeth have to be filed down to some degree – although it is likely to be much less than with porcelains, then the procedure can begin. Gradually building up layers of bonding material is a delicate process, and takes a great deal of skill to properly apply, it’s difficult to work with a soft substance to create something natural-looking in both size and shape.
For more information on how you can get the perfect smile you’ve always wanted, call the Pearl Dental Clinic to arrange a consultation, you could find yourself with a brand new set of veneers in a matter of weeks.