The Ultimate Guide to Dental Veneers – Top Benefits and Process
Table of Contents
What Are Dental Veneers and How Do They Work?
Veneers are a thin layer of custom shells made from composite or porcelain materials that attach to the surface of your front teeth to improve your smile. This cosmetic procedure is used to enhance and camouflage certain flaws such as chipped, discoloured, or broken teeth, or gaps in a patient’s teeth.
The primary objective of a veneering procedure is to help the patient restore their smile and cosmetically enhance their teeth.
Veneers can solve an array of cosmetic problems without invasive procedures such as crowns. This includes tooth staining, damage, misalignment gaps and teeth with unusual shapes.
However, veneers are not ideal for individuals with unhealthy teeth such as active gum disease, tooth decay or a weakened tooth. A person with good existing oral health can be a great candidate for veneers.
If you are someone who is bothered by the appearance of your teeth and other solutions you have tried on your own have not worked, you might consider dental veneers.
For example, many people who have tried teeth whitening solutions and procedures and failed to adequately resolve their stained or discoloured teeth often turn to veneers.
What Are the Benefits of Veneers?
Veneers can be a great way to restore your smile, provided that you have good oral hygiene and dental care to make them last longer. However, if you have gum disease or have bad habits such as gnawing on hard objects or nail-biting, veneers may not suit you.
Here are the primary benefits of receiving veneers:
- Repair cosmetic issues – Veneers are great to fix cosmetic issues such as stains, minor misalignment, gaps, cracks, chips, and small or inclined teeth. They are placed on your front teeth, covering the flaws that affect the appearance.
- Protect damaged enamel – Enamel can wear down over time from acidic foods or aggressive brushing. Although your tooth enamel can’t grow back, veneers can protect your enamel from further damage.
- Improve your smile – Consuming food or drinks that stain teeth or smoking cigarettes can cause discolouration. Veneers are stain-resistant, allowing you to continue to consume pigmented foods. Furthermore, it covers up the darker tooth structure.
What Are the Different Types of Dental Veneers Available?
When considering veneers as a cosmetic treatment, you should understand the different types of materials and options available.
Although veneers don’t significantly damage your tooth enamel or tooth structure, some are more invasive than others. Furthermore, some offer a more natural appearance and have longer durability.
Porcelain veneers are constructed from ceramic material, making them the strongest and most durable veneers in the market. The major advantage of porcelain veneers is that they have a long lifespan of 10 to 15 years and can blend in well with the natural colour of your teeth.
They are completely custom-made, meaning impressions are taken to create a mould that fits your teeth perfectly. As a result, temporary veneers are provided until the real veneers are made.
The dental procedures for porcelain veneers may take a few weeks to complete since the shells need to be custom-made in a lab by a cosmetic dentist.
These veneers are great for people who want a natural-looking appearance to their teeth. Furthermore, a higher-quality shell is used that is long-lasting, strong, and stain-resistant.
Composite veneers are constructed from composite materials that combine organic and inorganic materials. The organic materials include a coupling agent, initiator, and composite resin.
Unlike porcelain, the composite veneers can be placed in one visit, meaning patients can have new veneers within hours.
These veneers are ideal for people looking for a cost-effective and quick solution to change their smile. In addition, the thicker and more opaque colour can cover up more severe discolouration.
Laminate veneers are made from plastic-resin bonding and help to cover damaged teeth. These veneers are similar to porcelain veneers, except it’s much thinner and requires a less invasive preparation.
It may be more beneficial for your long-term dental health to receive laminate veneers because it’s less likely to damage your teeth.
However, since the laminate veneers are thinner, they may not be ideal for extreme discolouration or other severe cases such as large gaps in the teeth.
If you’re mainly looking to address small chips in the teeth or discolouration, then laminate veneers would make an excellent option.
Ultra Thin Veneers
Ultra-thin veneers are between 0.2mm to 0.3mm thick, meaning the least amount of enamel is taken. Often, little to no preparation is needed before attaching the shell to the surface of the tooth.
Lumineers are a popular brand of ultra-thin veneers that are highly translucent, which creates a new smile that looks very natural. These new veneers are used to treat any irregularly shaped or chipped tooth.
They are great for those with dental anxieties or who are unsatisfied with previous dental treatments. Since they are non-invasive and irreversible, there’s little to no risk involved with the procedure. The treatment won’t damage your teeth and can be removed in case they don’t work out.
How Do I Know if I Need Dental Veneers?
If you’re unhappy with your smile, you may be considering various dental treatment options, including veneers.
However, veneers aren’t for everyone. Depending on your circumstances, there may be other alternatives better suited. For example, dental fillings are best for treating cavities, and using whitening toothpaste can help aid with minor discolouration.
Here are the common signs that indicate that you may need veneers:
1. You have severely stained teeth and teeth whitening isn’t effective in treating the dark discolourations.
2. You have gaps in your teeth.
3. Your teeth are worn down due to bad grinding habits or old age.
4. You have a minor misalignment in your teeth.
5. You have broken, chipped, or cracked teeth.
6. You aren’t happy with your smile, and it’s affecting your mental wellbeing.
The Veneer Procedure explained
The veneer procedure can be explained in three simple steps:
1. Consultation and photography – An initial consultation is performed to discuss with the patient their goals and evaluate their oral health to determine if the dental veneer procedure is a good fit for them.
The cosmetic dentist will explain how the procedure will work to achieve their desired result. Pictures of the patient’s mouth will be taken and the dentist will visually show how the veneers will look on the teeth.
2. Enamel removal and mould preparation – Depending on the thickness of the veneer, tooth preparation may be involved before attaching the thin layers of shells onto the surfaces of your teeth.
The cosmetic dentist will usually strip off a small layer of enamel off your front teeth equal to the thickness of the shell that replaces it. The impressions taken from the beginning will be used to build a mould for your mouth.
Often, the impressions are sent to a separate lab where the veneers are fabricated using composite or porcelain materials to fit your teeth.
Depending on the veneer type, it can take a few weeks before the shells are sent back to your cosmetic dentist. In the meantime, your dentist may provide you with a temporary veneer to wear.
3. Veneer placement – Now, your dentist is ready to place the veneer on the surface of a tooth. First, he or she may use special tools to toughen up the surface to prepare for adhesion.
Next, your dentist will concentrate a high-intensity light until the resin hardens. This strengthens the bond between the material and your tooth.
Finally, any excess cement will be trimmed. Your dentist may trim the veneer to get them into the right shape and achieve the desired appearance.
A follow-up appointment will be made to check on your bite.
The veneer procedure itself usually takes between two to three weeks. That’s because it takes a few weeks for the final mould to be created in the dental laboratory.
Although dental veneering is a safe procedure, there may be some slight pain, discomfort, and sensitivity after the treatment. Since a slim portion of the enamel is removed from the surfaces of your teeth, it can lead to hot and cold sensations.
Additional slight pain may occur after the procedure, but your dentist will prescribe over-the-counter pain medications to combat it. If there is gum tissue inflammation, your dentist will check the root cause of the issue. The gums may take some time to adjust to the newly installed veneers.
Inflammation can occur after receiving veneers for about two to three days. Typically, using fresh mouthwash, flossing, and brushing your teeth helps minimize inflammation during the recovery process.
General care for Veneers
Once the cosmetic dental treatment is completed, it’s important to properly care for your veneers. Following this general maintenance and care tooth tips can ensure your veneers last up to 20 years.
- Brushing and flossing twice a day will keep your teeth and veneers clean. Bacteria and cavities grow under or around your teeth and loosen the bonding of the material attached to the tooth’s surface.
- Use proper toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Stay away from toothpaste that contains harsh abrasive ingredients that can harm your veneers. Additionally, hard-bristled toothbrushes can scratch and scuff your veneers as well.
- Avoid chewing on objects or grinding your teeth. Chewing on hard objects like ice, pens, or fingernails can wear down or chip your veneers. Although porcelain materials are strong, they aren’t indestructible. Talk to your dentist about stopping these habits from preventing damaging your veneers.
- You should continue visiting your dental office for routine check-ups, professional cleanings, and teeth whitening appointments. Your dentist will remove any plaque buildup or bacteria in your mouth. Additionally, your dentist can evaluate your oral health and veneers to check if a replacement is needed.
Bespoke Smile offers aims to give you the smile you deserve. We offer high-quality cosmetic dentistry at affordable costs.
If you’re ready to improve your smile, book a free consultation today!