Dental veneers are thin wafers of material no thicker than your fingernail that a cosmetic dentist will bond to your teeth to give them a whole new appearance, or to rebuild chipped or damaged teeth. They have proven to be a very popular and affordable cosmetic dental treatment.
Veneers can change the colour, spacing, alignment, length, proportion or shape of your teeth. They are bonded to the front of your teeth, so that makes them a very conservative option for changing a smile. Veneers come in two types of material – porcelain and composite resin. We’ll discuss the differences later. Both are popular choices for our patients and we have great results with both types.
What Are Dental Veneers Used For?
When you consider having a smile makeover or cosmetic dental work, veneers are going to be a key component of that solution. Here are several ways in which our Perth cosmetic dentist uses veneers:
- Minor teeth alignment. If your teeth are a little wonky, and you don’t really want to have orthodontic treatment, then veneers might be an excellent solution for you.
- Short teeth. Tooth lengthening is a process to help get a fuller smile.
- Discoloured teeth. There are many causes of discolouration – root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline or other drugs, or even the presence of large fillings. Veneers are an excellent and safe option to whiten your teeth when normal teeth whitening treatments don’t get the results you desire.
- Change the shape of a tooth. Teeth that are a little uneven or irregularly shaped can be revitalised and made to look fantastic.
- Gaps between teeth. Also known as a diastema, many people with an otherwise healthy smile want to close these gaps without resorting to a long course of orthodontic treatment. Veneers are a great option and our patients are thrilled with the results.
Repair of Teeth
Damage to teeth can be easily fixed with the use of veneers. It’s usually a quick and simple process. Some of the cases we typically see are:
- Worn down teeth. Over the years due to grinding or bruxism, your teeth can wear down and potentially expose delicate parts of your teeth. If not addressed, it could lead to major dental problems.
- Chipped or broken teeth. Whether through accident or poor oral habits such as biting your nails or chewing on pens, we can restore the natural look of your teeth.
Benefits of Veneers
Veneers have many advantages, which is why your friends and neighbours love this dental solution. Here are just a few reasons why:
- In some minor cases, it’s a quick and affordable alternative to orthodontic treatment.
- They are a great option when you want to improve your smile.
- The colour can be made almost any shade of white, to match your existing teeth or to whiten your smile.
Porcelain vs. Composite Resin
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of material we use for veneers: porcelain and composite resin. Composite resin is the same material we use for white fillings. There are pros and cons to each which we’ll cover here. When you come in for your smile consultation, we can go through the options and find the best solution for your needs.
- Now much do they cost? Composite is more affordable than porcelain because we don’t need to use a lab and the material is not as costly.
- How long does it take? Molding and fitting composite veneers can often be done in a single office visit, whereas porcelain usually requires a 2-4 week wait for the dental lab to make the veneers.
- Touch-ups. If you get a minor break or chip with composite, it’s easier to fix. With porcelain however, they generally cannot be repaired.
- Do they last a long time? Porcelain veneers last a long time, typically between 10 and 20 years. We have seen composite veneers last from 1/2 to 5 years.
- How do they look? Porcelain has a nicer appearance than composite material- it has more natural shine and looks more like natural teeth, whereas composite may have a duller or matte finish. Porcelain can be characterised, and shade matched more accurately and perfectly to natural teeth; composite cannot.
- Will they stain? Composite is much more porous than porcelain and tends to stain and discolour more easily. If you want your teeth to maintain that white shade for longer, consider porcelain veneers.
- Can they be used to fix a broken tooth? Composite bonding may be used to fix small chips or cracks, not requiring covering of the entire tooth.
- Are they strong? Porcelain provides strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.
- Will they make my teeth white? Porcelain can mask discoloured teeth better than composite.
Downsides of Veneers
While there are heaps of benefits to having veneers, there are a few things you should know. We’ll discuss these when you come into Smile Design Studio for your smile makeover consultation.
- Because we remove a thin layer of your teeth, the process is not reversible.
- Damage to porcelain veneers is not usually repairable. We’ll have to fit you for a new veneer.
- You may have sensitivity to hot or cold if not correctly bonded.
- Once in place, the colour of the veneer cannot be changed.
- Teeth whitening is not effective on porcelain or composite as it is on natural teeth enamel.
- If you grind your teeth or chew on things like pens or your nails, it can harm your veneers.
- If you have extensive tooth decay, it needs to be addressed before veneers can be considered.
What to Expect
There a few steps we’ll take to ensure an awesome outcome. We want you to have your dream smile, and our system has been time-tested and proven over the years and hundreds of patients.
Consultation and Smile Design
- What result are you trying to achieve? We take time to understand you, how you feel about your smile, the personality you want to project, and how much you want to spend.
- Examine your teeth to discuss all the possible options.
- Check for any pre-existing issues with your gums and teeth. For best results, your gums need to be at their optimum state of health. We may take some x-rays to make sure your teeth are healthy and able to support the veneers.
- Discuss any pre-existing conditions and issues you may have and how to prevent them from destroying your new smile in the future.
- Take photos of your smile and analyse your smile (size, shape, length etc).
- We’ll explain the steps involved in the procedure to keep you fully informed as well as any limitations or special care procedures.
- Next, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and design a smile for you taking into consideration what we have learnt that you want and do a “mock-up” of your smile on models taken of your teeth. You can see what results are achievable before we start. We will take into account your facial features, complexion, face shape and proportions and lip lines.
- When the mock up is ready, you get to view it before any work is done and make any changes you’d like.
- Teeth whitening (optional). This is usually done on the teeth that are not going to be veneered so that we can match the veneers to your new whiter teeth shade, so they blend beautifully. No one will ever know which teeth you had treated, and which you didn’t! Your veneers will never discolour so you may have to top up the whitening on your natural teeth from time to time to ensure a perfect match is maintained with your veneers.
Preparation and Trial Smile
Preparation of your teeth is of the upmost importance to ensure a strong foundation for your new smile. This section applies to porcelain veneers.
- The teeth are prepared by removing the top layer of enamel to a maximum depth of about 0.7mm to allow space for the porcelain.
- We’ll then take a 2nd impression of your tooth for a model to send to our lab which dedicates itself to producing high-quality works of art.
- Photographs and models will be used by the lab to help them achieve an artistic result that will be customized to your personality and maximizes your facial attractiveness. The veneers are individually layered and created by hand to create a natural, lifelike appearance.
- Temporary veneers are fitted in the shape of your mock up, so you get to see and try the veneers. At this stage, if you do not like anything in the trial smile temporaries, you can make the changes before the final teeth are made.
- While waiting for your veneers, please take special care of your teeth. Practice good teeth cleaning, avoiding biting on those teeth directly with hard foods and beware of staining foods like turmeric and coffee or red wine.
- In about 2-4 weeks, your veneers will be at our practice and can be fitted.
Bonding of the Porcelain Veneers
Bonding technology keeps on changing with newer materials and techniques; we dedicate ourselves to extensive education beyond our dental school training. The end result is a durable, beautiful restoration that acts as a part of your teeth. In this final visit, after a very short time, you’ll be able to show off your dazzling smile to the world! Here’s what to expect:
- Removal of the temporary veneers.
- Test the new veneers for a perfect fit and make any final changes to the shape.
- Apply a special dental bonding to the veneer, which is then placed on your tooth.
- A special light is used to cure the bonding material which takes less than one minute per tooth.
- Clean up the teeth and remove any excess bonding material.
- Final adjustments if needed.
- Check out your new smile and take selfies!
Caring for Your Veneers Post-Treatment
You invested time and money in your new smile, and you’ll want to keep it shiny and healthy for as long as possible. Here are some tips:
- Follow good daily oral hygiene, including daily flossing.
- You can eat what you want, just remember what will cause you to break your own enamel can also break the veneers, e.g. nails, bottle caps, forks, olive seeds, pens, pins etc. You can eat whatever you want on the veneers that is normal food, not parafunctional habits.
- Schedule regular visits to see us – every six months is recommended for the warranty on your veneers to stay valid.
- Should you have any issues your new veneers, please call us ASAP.
Will My Dental Insurance Pay for Veneers?
Cost is always one of the first questions our patients ask when considering veneers. In general, your dental insurance will help out with the cost of the procedure. When you come in for your consultation, we can run a scan with your card to see how much they will pay you based on your treatment plan.