Dental Veneers are wafer thin laminates/shells of a tooth coloured material which are bonded to the front surface of your teeth to dramatically improve their appearance. A useful analogy to help visualise how they work is as follows: Veneers are to teeth what false finger nails are to fingers.
Types of Dental Veneers:
- Composite Veneers (direct): Typically last for 5–7 years and can be normally fitted in a single visit to the dentist as no lab work is needed. Their main problem is that they are liable to stain/discolour within 2-3 years. The procedure is to skilfully apply the dental bonding (restorative material) directly on to the tooth’s surface to treat the problem e.g. chipped tooth.
- Porcelain Veneers: Typically last for 10–15 years and normally require 2 visits to the dentist. They are very durable and have a colour, translucence and texture similar to teeth. They don’t decay and are stain resistant.
- Lumineer Porcelain Veneers: A new type of veneer made from Cerinate porcelain which is incredibly thin (2 mm) and as a result requires no (or very little) tooth reduction and normally can be performed without the use of any anaesthetic. Normally 2 visits to the dentist are required. Lasts for 10–15 years.
What patients are suitable for veneers?
- Crooked teeth: As long as your teeth are not too crooked then veneers can give you a straight and perfectly aligned looking smile. Braces may be needed if they are very crooked.
- Gaps: Veneers offer an excellent solution resulting in a uniform ‘gapless’ smile.
- Stained teeth: If beyond the scope of tooth whitening procedures then veneers will hide all existing stains giving you the perfect white smile.
- Damaged teeth: Chipped or badly damaged teeth can be treated effectively with a composite veneer. A single damaged tooth can be easily treated with a single porcelain veneer by matching the colour and texture to the surrounding teeth.
When might veneers not be suitable?
- If you have an under bite.
- If you grind your teeth.
- If you are only having a few veneers then it can be difficult to get an exact match to your other teeth.
- If your lips stick out veneers can result in them sticking out even more.
Your dentist will be best able to advise you if for any reason you are unsuitable.
The Procedure: Dental Veneers:
- The front surface of the teeth are reshaped and prepared under a local anaesthetic so they can accommodate the veneers. (no anaesthetic required for lumineer porcelain).
- A tiny amount of the front surface of the tooth is shaved off (often not for lumineer porcelain).
- The dentist will then take an impression/mould of your teeth by putting dental putty in your mouth and allowing it to set.
- This dental impression is then sent away to the lab where it is used to make you veneers to custom fit your teeth precisely.
- You are normally fitted with temporary veneers in the week it takes your permanent veneers to arrive.
- Once the veneers are sent back, if the dentist is happy with the quality and fit of them he will securely bond them to your teeth with a dental resin.
What affects the price: Veneers:
- The number of veneers you require.
- The dentist you have chosen and the country you are having it done.
- How much preparatory work you need to get your teeth ready for the veneers.
- The type of veneer used. In order of most expensive: Lumineer porcelain: standard porcelain: Composite veneers.