What Are Veneers?
Dental veneers are sometimes called porcelain laminates or porcelain veneers, and consist of very thin pieces of porcelain that are shaped to fit exactly over the front and biting surfaces of your tooth. The porcelain used to construct dental veneers is highly translucent and is able to replicate natural teeth while improving appearance. Porcelain veneers are often used as part of a smile makeover.
The advantages of choosing veneers are that they can provide a very natural appearance and treatment is relatively conservative. Dental veneers can change the shape and colour of the tooth without the need for extensive tooth preparation. The veneers are constructed to be extremely thin at the gum margins so they will not irritate the delicate gum tissues.
Why Might I Need Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are a versatile cosmetic dental treatment and can be used for a number of different situations including:
Closing up or minimising gaps in between teeth
Restoring teeth that are worn
Restoring teeth that are chipped or broken
Correcting unevenly shaped teeth
Correcting teeth that are slightly misaligned
Correcting the size of teeth that are too small
Covering up teeth that are discoloured
Some people will only require one or two veneers, while others will opt to use veneers to cover up all the teeth visible when smiling. This treatment is often used in conjunction with other dental procedures such as teeth whitening and orthodontics. Straightening and whitening teeth prior to veneering can provide a conservative solution to perfecting a smile.
What Is the Procedure for Having Veneers Made and Fitted?
Veneers usually require a minimum of three trips to the Sparkle Dental as you will need an initial consultation to discuss this treatment, a second appointment to prepare the teeth, and a third appointment to fit and cement the veneers in place.
Treatment planning is an important part of the process, and this is your opportunity to explain to your dentist how you'd like to change your smile. Your dentist will need to examine your teeth to make sure veneers are the right choice as your teeth and gums need to be healthy prior to treatment. They'll discuss the procedure as well as results that can reasonably be achieved. At this stage they might choose to take dental x-rays and possibly impressions of your teeth to help with the planning process.
If you intend to have a large number of veneers constructed its possible your dentist might choose to do something called a diagnostic wax up. This is where the plaster model of your teeth is modified and adapted using tooth coloured wax to show how your new veneers will look. The advantage of this process is that it will enable you to preview your smile so any minor modifications can be made before your teeth are prepared. The diagnostic wax up model can also be used to construct your temporary veneers, a process that allows further modifications to be made, if necessary, before your permanent veneers are constructed.
The next step will be to prepare your teeth using local anaesthetic to numb the areas being treated. It's usually necessary to remove 0.5 mm from the tooth surfaces which is the approximate thickness of a veneer. Once your dentist with happy with the preparation they'll take an impression of your teeth which will be sent to a dental laboratory. Your dentist will place temporary veneers on your teeth to help protect them against any unwanted sensitivity.
Veneers take approximately two weeks to fabricate, after which they'll be returned to Sparkle Dental for fitting. Your dentist will remove your temporary veneers and will fit your new veneers in place, taking care to check they fit precisely and tightly against your teeth, and that the overall look is as expected. The final colour of a veneer can often be adjusted slightly through using different shades of cement.
Once your dentist is happy with the fit then they'll prepare your teeth, painting on a solution that lightly etches the tooth surface, increasing the bond between the tooth and the veneer. Once the solution has been washed off the tooth is dried, the veneer is cemented into position. Your dentist may use a special light to help harden the cement.
Caring for Veneers
You can care for your veneers in exactly the same way as you would to natural teeth, taking care to brush and floss thoroughly each day. Ensuring you visit Sparkle Dental regularly for preventative dental care will help prolong the life of your veneers. Porcelain veneers generally last anywhere between five and 10 years before they need replacing.
Things to Bear in Mind about Choosing Veneers
Veneers can transform the appearance of teeth, but the process generally isn't reversible unless the teeth didn't require any tooth structure to be removed prior to veneers being placed.
Sometimes a veneer may pop off the tooth, and it's best to avoid placing too much pressure on veneers through chewing your nails or pencils or pens or through other habits such as biting down on ice or opening packets with your teeth.
If a veneer does become chipped it generally cannot be repaired.
If you have bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching) then dental veneers might not be the best choice for you as this condition can damage the veneers causing them to chip or crack.
It is important to have regular check-ups as teeth covered up with veneers can still decay if the veneer begins to crumble or leak, allowing bacteria to penetrate the tooth.