Dental veneers are restorations that are placed over the surface of the teeth to improve their appearance, correct discolouration, reduce gaps, fix small chips or cracks or to build up worn teeth to give a more natural-looking smile. They are custom made to the natural contour of your teeth and provide strength that is comparable to the natural enamel of the tooth.
Types of veneers
There are two types of veneers, they are:
Veneers are also known as ‘indirect’ veneers. They are a long-lasting and durable option that requires very little maintenance. Depending on how they are looked after, porcelain veneers can potentially last anywhere between 5-10 years.
Porcelain veneers typically have better bonding strength, are highly aesthetic, and are resistant to staining. They also outlast composite veneers due to their strength.
Veneers are also known as ‘direct’ veneers. They offer the same aesthetic benefits as porcelain veneers for a relatively lower cost. However, they are not as durable and are typically not as strong. Due to this, they do require more care as they tend to chip when under pressure, which means that they may need to be replaced more often.
The most appealing aspect of composite veneers is that they provide you with an instant result. This is because they can be built directly onto the tooth in a single visit. Composite veneers are bonded and molded onto the front of your tooth with means that they do not require the reduction of tooth enamel.
While you can typically have composite veneers fabricated in a single-appointment, porcelain veneers often require more appointments to ensure their fit and appearance are what you and your dentist are hoping to achieve.
Decided on your choice?
You will need to have a consultation appointment with your dentist before commencing treatment. This will provide your dentist with the opportunity to examine your teeth and oral health, to go through treatment options and costs, and discuss any potential complications. During this appointment, your dentist will advise you on what type of veneers are best suited to you, and if you are an eligible candidate for them.
What is the process?
At your next appointment, your dentist will prepare your tooth or teeth for the porcelain veneers. This usually involves preparing a faint groove or margin to make space for and accurately position the veneers. They will then take an impression of your teeth to send to the lab to fabricate the veneers. This can take roughly one to two weeks, depending on the number of veneers that you are having placed. You will have temporary veneers placed in the interim.
Once the veneers are ready, your dentist will check to make sure that the colour, size, and fit of the veneers are correct. They will then prepare the tooth (or teeth) by thoroughly cleaning them and preparing the surface of the tooth to ensure that the veneers have proper adhesion. Your dentist will then use a special cement combined with ultraviolet light to cure it.
Your dentist will schedule a short review appointment for 7-14 days after the placement of the veneers so that they can check that everything is going okay. This also allows them to make adjustments that may be required and to check your bite.
Caring for your Veneers
While veneers provide dramatic improvements to many dental problems, it is incredibly important to remember that they are not natural teeth. Discolouration and small imperfections can develop over time.
How long do they last?
You can expect porcelain veneers to last around 10 years and maybe even longer if you maintain adequate oral hygiene. Regular examination and clean appointments need to be scheduled at least twice a year, or as recommended by your dentist. Most importantly, your teeth should only be used for eating food. Avoid chewing pens, your nails, ice, or opening packets with them.
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