Dental porcelain veneers are a popular form of cosmetic dentistry. The best way to explain veneers is to compare them to false nails. They are essentially artificial sets of teeth that are shaped to sit over your real teeth and address any cosmetic issues you have. They are a great way to camouflage your natural teeth underneath.
Veneers are popular because they are one of the more instant forms of cosmetic dentistry. In fact, it takes just a matter of weeks to enjoy a whole new smile.
How Do Porcelain Veneers Work?
Porcelain is the material of choice because it matches the colour of our teeth, it is incredibly strong, and it is also resistant to staining. Before the veneers are fitted, your dentist may or may not need to remove the outer layers of your tooth enamel. Even if enamel is needed to be removed, it is usually kept well under 1mm. Since this procedure is so conservative, sometimes the entire procedure can be done without local anaesthetic!
After the teeth have been prepared, impressions are taken and then used to fabricate the custom-made veneers. Once the veneers are ready, they are fitted, and you can check on your smile right away! They can be shaped and reshaped until you are 100% happy with your smile.
What Issues Can Porcelain Veneers Treat?
Porcelain veneers can be used to treat many issues including:
- Misshaped or gappy teeth: This condition is usually a result of genetics. Braces can be used to fix this issue in youth, but veneers are great for adults looking for a more instantaneous treatment option.
- Discolouration: There are many conditions that lead to discoloured teeth. All of these issues can be treated with veneers. They are especially useful in treating discolouration that won’t respond to teeth whitening. Examples are:
- Root canal treated teeth can turn yellow, brown or even grey.
- Dental trauma affecting the vitality of the dental nerve often presents with greying of teeth, which may also involve tooth structure that are cracked or chipped.
- Many congenital conditions can present as white spots, brown spots or have a pitted surface texture on the enamel.
- Tetracyclin staining – it is a type of antibiotics that was widely used on children from the 1950’s until about 1980. The stain can cover the entire tooth but often appear as a pattern of horizontal strips that can be grey or brown in color. They are notoriously resistant to teeth whitening.
- Worn or Broken Teeth: Like any other part of your body, your teeth will become worn and broken with age. There’s a reason this inevitability doesn’t seem to afflict celebrities – many of them have veneers!
The Pros and Cons of Dental Porcelain Veneers
Veneers are a great way to restore confidence in your smile, but like any dental treatment, there are pros and cons.
- Instant Whitening: If your teeth are looking a little yellow or discoloured as a result of smoking, or drinking lots of coffee and red wine, veneers are a good option. Teeth whitening doesn’t work for everyone, and if this is the case for you, ask about veneers.
- Perfect for Minor Problems: Veneers work really well for minor problems, like crooked teeth or gaps. They are attached to existing teeth so you can remedy minor issues without any significant orthodontic work.
- Adds Enamel to Teeth: Enamel is an essential element of your teeth, and it does wear down over time. You can also prematurely wear your enamel by brushing too hard or indulging in an overly-acidic diet. Issues like acid reflux can also be a contributing factor. If you have lost enamel, you can use veneers to replace that enamel and protect your real teeth.
- Cost: Veneers are an expensive treatment. Although, they are very much worth the money. They are incredibly effective, for all the reasons listed above.
- Sensitivity: In the period after your veneers are fitted, you may notice sensitivity to hot and cold. This is manageable, and your dentist will be able to recommend sensitive toothpaste and other products that can help with the discomfort.
- Permanent: The outer layer of your teeth may need to be removed or altered to place the veneers. The veneers will have to remain in place to protect the inner dentine.
- Porcelain is stain-resistant which means it also cannot be whitened. If teeth whitening is desired, it is always recommended to be carried out first so we can match the veneers to the bleached teeth shade.
So, Why Should I Care About Them?
Veneers are an effective and quick way to deal with a cosmetic problem with your teeth. They can be costly, but they do last a long time. Veneers last between 7 and 10 years, but potentially could last even longer, depending on how you care for them.
Looking after your veneers is no different from looking after your teeth. Just follow a good brushing and flossing routine, avoid smoking and limit sugary and acidic foods.
Cosmetic dental treatments aren’t just about fixing the aesthetics. They’re about restoring self-confidence. Your smile says so much. If you don’t feel confident in your smile, you miss out on photos, social occasions and even professional development. You can use veneers to restore your smile, and attack life with this new-found confidence.