Dentist and patient in consultation
Dr Chris Darby

Dr Chris Darby

What You Need to Know Before You Get Veneers

Veneers are among the most versatile and useful tools cosmetic dentists have at their disposal. So, what are they?

The best way to explain veneers is to compare them to false finger nails. They are custom-made coverings that are placed over your teeth to create your perfect smile.  Most commonly, they are made from porcelain, ceramic or composite resin.

This treatment can be used to address:

  • Stained or discoloured teeth
  • Chipped, cracked teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gappy teeth

As you can see, these veneers offer huge scope to create your perfect beautiful smile. A beautiful smile exudes confidence and always give a great first impression. At some point in your life you may just consider getting some veneers yourself. So here’s what you need to know.

Veneers are thin pieces of dental filling material that cover any imperfections in colour or shape that bug you about your smile. Literally they can give you any smile you want from Hollywood Perfect, to natural and healthy, and any tooth colour you want. They can be made in Porcelain or Composite and there are advantages of each.

Porcelain is a ceramic material that is fired in a kiln and completely customised to your wants and needs.

How Long Do Veneers Last?

The studies tell us that veneers last generally more than 10 years and are most often changed for colour change and natural gum recession that occurs in the ageing process. Having said that I have seen veneers last a lot longer. Also, with all dental treatments, their efficacy and longevity are really up to you. With proper home care and a regular maintenance care you can expect your veneers to last between 7 and 20 years. Usually veneers will also need slight adjustments throughout their lifespan to ensure they suit any natural changes to your teeth and gum tissue.

The biggest problems are chipping due to clenching and grinding, finger nail or pen biting, so you need to understand your sleep habits and non dental habits, and you need to take care to avoid any dental trauma (as much as possible).

How to Choose Between Porcelain and Resin Veneers

Both options offer an incredible improvement on the appearance of teeth, but you do need to understand the difference between the two to make an informed decision:

  • Porcelain Veneers: Porcelain is naturally stain resistant due to being smoother and non-porous, and because the material is such a perfect match for teeth, they look more natural. For example, they reflect light and have that shine of a natural set of teeth. Also they strengthen weak teeth, and you can lengthen short teeth. Some, even if minimal tooth preparation is usually required.
  • Composite Resin: These veneers are more economical, and quicker to place as they are made in house and do not need to be sent to a dental technician. They are most often done without any tooth reduction or tooth preparation, are easy to repair if chipped. However, they do chip more often than porcelain veneers and they do pick up stains from time to time and need regular re-polishing by the dentist.

The Dental Veneer Placement Process

For most veneer procedures, you will need to make at least three trips to the dentist. During the first visit, your teeth are examined and your needs and wants are discussed and understood. Upper and lower impressions are also taken to construct study models. Then, behind the scenes, the perfect smile is created based on your study models.

During your next visit, we mock your teeth up to match the perfect study model smile. You have the chance to approve your future smile, or to make changes, until we have created your perfect smile. We take photos and more impressions and then organise the preparation visit.

The preparation visit consists of cleaning your teeth and creating a shade match to your ideal colour. Some enamel will need to be removed for porcelain veneers, but none will be removed for composite veneers.

This can all be carried out without local anaesthetic as most people feel no pain. But, if you are concerned about pain, then we can do the whole procedure under local anaesthetic. So, there really is no need to worry about pain.

Porcelain Veneers

The teeth are prepared and an impression will be taken and sent off to our master ceramist’s lab (for porcelain veneers). Temporary veneers will be fitted to your teeth, so you enjoy a perfect smile until your next visit. During the next visit:

  • The temporary veneers are removed, and your teeth will be cleaned using pumice and water (all natural).
  • The veneers are tried and you are given final approval – colour, shape, size and look are all assessed and approved.
  • The the porcelain veneers are specially prepared, as are your teeth, for the precise cementation and positioning of your new porcelain veneers.
  • The veneers are cemented into place and contoured to create a comfortable fit and bite
  • Laser technology is used to cure or cement your veneers. Once they are set, excess material is removed, and the margins are polished.

A further follow-up visit will sometimes be scheduled to ensure everything is working correctly.

Composite Veneers

The visits are similar for composite veneers. We work out what you want with study models, and then a mock-up is fitted in your mouth. Then you can have the composite veneers placed on your teeth during the course of two visits, generally with no tooth preparation required. The first visit involves building the correct shape (including length and width) and then the second visit is making them shine and look natural. A follow-up visit may also be required to make sure you are 100% happy and excited about your new smile.

Caring For Your Veneers

Your veneers are an investment in your confidence and well-being, so you want to look after them. Follow these steps for an expert approach to dental care:

  • Home dental care needs to be a priority. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Make sure you brush as soon as you wake up, and brush and floss just before you go to bed.
  • Watch what you eat. Like teeth, your veneers will suffer if you consume large amounts of sugary or acidic foods and drinks. Opt for healthy, whole foods to create a healthy mouth. You should also limit staining foods and beverages – you don’t want to push those anti-staining abilities too far.
  • Deal with your tooth grinding and clenching habits and protect your veneers when they are most vulnerable – while you are asleep.
  • Stop biting your finger nails and chewing pens – putting pressure on one small part of a tooth let alone your veneer will break it every time.

The Final Verdict

Veneers are the perfect way to rejuvenate an imperfect or fading smile and give you  a smile you can be proud of. They can be tailored to suit your needs and cover up whatever imperfection you’re unhappy with.

But, veneers are solely a cosmetic treatment. They cannot fix or prevent oral health issues. Protecting the health of your mouth with an effective at-home regime is the best way to back up the excellent work of your cosmetic dentist and ensure you end up with veneers that will last as long as possible. So make sure you are a confident that you know you are brushing and flossing your teeth effectively and maintaining your mouth in a healthy state by regular visits to your dentist and hygienist for regular professional cleans.

If you would like more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.

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