Many people have heard of veneers, and some associate them with a ‘Hollywood Smile’. But what exactly are veneers, and who should get them? Firstly, veneers are really what their name suggests – a thin veneer which goes over a tooth. Think of it like a false nail – sitting over the top of the natural nail and enhancing the appearance. For this reason, the front six teeth are the most commonly treated as these are the ones most visible when smiling (however, this can extend further if you have a big smile!). If you are considering a smile make-over, or just want to know more, read on to find out the 5 things you need to know about veneers!
1. There are different types
Veneers can be made from two types of material – porcelain or composite (which is a type of resin). There are pros and cons to both and so it’s best to discuss with your dentist which would suit you best.
Porcelain veneers are always made by a lab technician. This has the advantage that a skilled craftsman (or woman!) is using the porcelain to really craft a natural-looking tooth. This is by far the most aesthetic type of veneer. In addition, porcelain is a strong material. This means than on average, porcelain veneers will last longer than resin composite ones. They will also keep their glossy appearance and won’t pick up staining as easily.
However, for porcelain to be strong enough it has to be of a certain thickness. If they are too thin they can chip and break. For this reason, the big down-side to porcelain veneers is that in order to create the room to have them thick enough, some tooth needs to be removed. This is done as carefully and minimally as possible and in fact a layer of only 0.5 mm needs to be taken off the surface. Although not enough to cause major damage to the tooth, this can lead to some tooth sensitivity in the first few weeks. The other problem with removing tooth surface is that it is irreversible. This means veneers must be maintained and looked after well. It also must be rememberd that they won’t last forever and will require replacing in the future.
Composite Resin Veneers
The dentist can add composite resin veneers directly to the tooth, cutting out the need for a lab technician and temporary veneers. This can be done very minimally and is great where there are gaps between the teeth and therefore room to add the filling straight on. The preparation of teeth for composite veneers is therefore much more minimal, if there is any prep at all. Unlike porcelain veneers, this procedure can be reversible. Composite resin veneers won’t last as long as porcelain veneers, and are much more likely to pick up staining over time. However, they are not as expensive and are a great option for some patients as they can still look great.
Composite resin veneers, which were used to
close gaps between the teeth.
2. They really improve smiles
Veneers can do amazing things to improve your smile, as they can simultaneously do three things:
- They can improve the colour of your teeth (veneers can work really well if you have some mild to moderate tooth discolouration)
- They can improve the shape of your teeth
- They can improve the position of your teeth.
Digital smile design is always the starting point for our veneer patients. This gives a digital preview of what the finished smile can look like. This is followed by tooth whitening. The veneers are then crafted to fit in with the newly whitened shade.
Veneers can be great at masking teeth with irregular shapes, for example skinny or short teeth, or teeth with some irregularities in the position, to give an overall more uniform appearance. However, orthodontics to straighten the teeth can be a better option where there are many irregularities in tooth position.
Our dentists always do a thorough
assessment and planning session
before treatment begins.
3. They can look very natural
We’ve all heard of the Hollywood Smile, and while many people may like that look, others can be horrified by it! Getting veneers doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a set of perfectly straight, square, bright white teeth. The beauty of veneers is that they are custom-made to fit with you. It’s all in the planning. Before anything begins, lots of photos and some models of your teeth will be taken to create a digital mock-up. This way you can see what the veneers will look like before you commit.
Natural looking veneers.
4. They’re not as expensive as you might think
Getting that Hollywood smile must be expensive, right? Well actually, if you think of veneers as an investment and take into account how long they will last, they probably don’t cost as much as you think they will. As mentioned above, there is a lot of planning that goes into preparing to get veneers. Our philosophy is to always get it right the first time, and when done well, veneers can last over 10 years.
However, the patient has a responsibility to maintain their veneers, which includes being extra vigilant with the flossing! No matter how strong the porcelain is, or how well they are bonded on to the tooth, accidents do happen. Opening beer bottles, biting into apples or cold chocolate straight from the fridge with veneered teeth is a big no-no! The long-term maintenance and replacement of veneers can be costly if they are not looked after well. This also includes regular examinations and thorough cleanings with the dental team.
5. They’re not for everyone
Veneers don’t suit everyone. Tooth whitening can be an effective and less invasive option for some patients who are just looking for a brighter smile. Alternatively, or in addition to whitening, composite filling material can be added to irregular, chipped or small discoloured areas to even things out. Big irregularities in the position of the teeth may be best treated with orthodontics.
Small chips and irregularities can be fixed
with composite resin materials.
For these reasons, the best thing to do if you are even just considering improving your smile is to talk to your dentist. Our friendly reception team can book you a smile makeover consultation, where the dentist will listen to your concerns, take lots of photos and models of your teeth and then together you can come up with a plan to get the smile you want.
Bespoke treatment plans will include all costings and alternatives. As your teeth are as unique as you are, each plan and the prices associated with the treatment will vary. The above photographs give an indication of what could be possible, but outcomes may be different. Please remember that no extensive dental procedure comes without risk. Therefore, a second opinion is always recommended before extensive work takes place. However, our friendly team are here to walk you through every step of the journey to a healthy, confident smile!