Do you want to have a ‘picture-perfect’ smile? Then veneers are for you! Read on to understand all you need to know about Veneers.
What are veneers?
They are custom-made thin shells made of tooth coloured porcelain that are bonded to the front part of your teeth. A very thin layer of your tooth enamel is removed to provide a surface for the veneers to adhere to. Veneers are often used to change the appearance of a tooth, i.e. if a tooth is chipped or stained. Most people will choose to have them if they want to change the size, shape and/or colour of their teeth.
Can They replace missing teeth?
While veneers can improve a tooth’s appearance, they are not a substitute for replacing missing teeth. They need something to bond to, therefore if there is no tooth, it is not possible to do this. As well as this, they are too thin and not strong enough to replace a natural tooth. If you want to replace missing teeth; dental implants, bridges or dentures would be the best option.
Who needs veneers and when are they medically necessary?
Most people will choose to have them when they are insecure about their smile/teeth and want to change their appearance. This means that veneers are not considered necessary in most cases. However, a person needs to be considered a suitable candidate first. This means that a dentist has to rule out the following problems:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Overly large fillings
- Teeth grinding
If your dentist examines you for any of the above and you have them, you would not be a candidate for veneers.
What is the difference between Crowns and Veneers?
The difference is that: veneers apply to the front of the tooth, whereas crowns cover the whole tooth, including the front, back and sides. For this reason, damaged teeth or teeth that have little structure left, are more likely to have crowns than veneers.
What do they look like? Will they match my other teeth?
They can look like your natural teeth. A dentist will discuss all the details with you, in the cosmetic treatment planning appointment; such as the colour, shade and size you want your veneers to be. Everyone is different, so a dentist will tailor the veneers to what you want. They will use a digital smile design or trial smile, to provide you with a visual representation of what your smile will look like, once you have them.
Can you whiten them?
In your planning appointment, you will decide what colour and shade (e.g. how white) you want the veneers to be. However, after the dentist places them on your teeth, you can’t whiten them anymore.
Are they painful?
Veneers shouldn’t be painful. However, it is common for a dentist to inject a local anesthetic into the gums, just to ensure there is no pain. Some people may experience pain or sensitivity in the gums or jaw after the treatment. As well as this, some may have slight sensitivity when eating hot and cold foods, as well as beverages. Therefore, dentists will recommend avoiding these foods for the first few days to allow the veneers to settle.
Do they prevent tooth decay?
Having veneers does not prevent tooth decay from happening. To reduce the risk of getting tooth decay, ensure you are looking after your teeth; by cleaning twice a day, following a balanced diet and attending regular checkups.
Can you remove them?
Generally, veneers are irreversible but it is possible for a dentist to remove them, albeit this is a difficult procedure to do. A dentist will only undertake this procedure if there is damage to the gums/teeth or if any other oral health problems have occurred. Once the veneer is removed, it needs to be replaced with another veneer – which means it is not possible to go back to your natural teeth.
Will They last forever?
No. Typically, veneers will last from 10 to 15 years, as long as they are brushed and flossed regularly.
Are they strong?
Yes, veneers are strong, but like natural teeth, you need to look after them. As well as this, porcelain is a glass, so if you bite down too hard on them, they can crack. Foods to avoid include: chewing ice, eating popcorn, toffee apples and hard nuts. It is also important that you don’t grind your teeth at night, as this can damage the veneers (that is why, if you’re a frequent teeth grinder, you would not be a suitable candidate).
If I don’t want to get veneers or aren’t a candidate for them, are there any other options?
There are other treatments available that your dentist might recommend if Veneers aren’t an option. However, this depends on what your dental goal is.
- Improving the look of discolouration on your teeth = teeth whitening.
- Helping with minor cracks, chips and breakage = composite bonding.
- Changing the size of your teeth = teeth straightening.
- Replacing missing teeth or a tooth = dental implants.
- Placing a restoration = dental crown / bridges.