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What are Veneers?
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a veneer is a “thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of your teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel”. These are custom made to the contours of your teeth and are bonded to the original tooth during a series of appointments with your dentist.
Dental veneers can also sometime be called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates. They are all wafer thin, custom made shells of tooth coloured material designed to cover the front surface of the teeth and can be used to improve the colour, shape, size and length of the teeth.
What types of problems can dental veneers fix?
Dental veneers are routinely used to fix:
- Teeth that are discoloured — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discoloured the tooth
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
- Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)
What is the procedure for getting dental veneers?
Usually getting dental veneers is a three stage process and can involve one or many teeth.
Diagnosis and treatment planning
To prepare the tooth for a veneer the dentist will remove approximately 0.5 millimeters of enamel from the tooth surface. This allows space for the veneer to be added to the tooth. Often the dentist will need to numb the area with local anaesthetic to ensure you are fully comfortable throughout the procedure. Your dentist will take an impression or a digital scan of your teeth. The model is sent to the dental laboratory to construct the veneers. It can take between 2-3 weeks for your dentist to receive the veneers back from the laboratory. Your dentist will usually place temporary veneers to protect the teeth and ensure your teeth look good between visits.
Before cementing the veneers permanently in place, the dentist will temporarily place the veneers on your teeth to examine the fit, shape and colour. You should check you are happy with the appearance, and raise any areas of concern with your dentist at this stage as it is easier to make adjustment before they are cemented with strong cement. The teeth are thoroughly cleaned, etched and primed before bonding takes place. Bonding is performed with strong resin dental cements. The final steps involve removing any excess cement, evaluating your bite and making any final adjustments. Your dentist will often arrange a follow up review appointment in a few weeks to check the health of the gums and see how your mouth is adapting to the new veneers.
What are the advantages of dental veneers?
Dental veneers offer the following advantages:
- They provide a natural appearance.
- Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
- Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- The colour of porcelain veneers can be selected carefully to make dark teeth appear whiter and brighter.
- Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing the tooth colour and shape compared to crowns, yet offer a strong and aeshethetic appearnce.
What are the disadvantages of dental veneers?
The downside of dental veneers include:
- The process is not reversible.
- Dental veneers are more costly than composite bonding.
- Dental veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
- Because the tooth has been shaped, it may become sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages.
- Dental veneers may not exactly match the colour of your other teeth. Also, the veneer colour cannot be changed or altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth then this should be done before the veneers are placed.
- Although unlikely, the veneer can come off the tooth. To minimise the chance of this happening it is advised not to bite your nails, chew pencils, ice cubes or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessively hard pressure on your teeth.
- Teeth with veneers can still experience dental decay and may be repaired with a full coverage crown.
- Patients who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers. Clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause the veneers to chip and crack.
How long do dental veneers last?
Dental veneers generally last between 7 and 15 years. After this time the veneers would need to be replaced.
Do dental veneers require special after care?
Dental veneers do not require any special care other than a good dental routine. It is advised that you continue good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and inter-dental cleaning with floss or inter-dental brushes. You should see your dentist and dental hygienist for regular cleaning and examinations. Veneers are resistant to staining but the edges (or what dentists call the margins) can become stained with coffee, tea and red wine over time.
Are there alternatives to dental veneers?
Yes, alternatives include composite bonding and crowns. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers may suit individuals who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just a little bit – which can be done with composite bonding – but not as much as crowns.
How much do dental veneers costs?
At Forever Dental and Skin, we use top of the range dental material and follow best practice protocols. We use a master dental technician to make all our veneers. Our cost for dental veneers is £750 per tooth.