What are dental veneers?
If you have chipped, worn, discoloured or misshaped teeth, you might want to consider getting dental veneers. Put simply, dental veneers are thinly constructed shells which are designed to cover the front surfaces of your teeth and change their colour, shape, size or length. Veneers are one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your smile without the need to undergo complicated or invasive dental procedures (such as orthodontics or implants). You can achieve a straighter, whiter and more confident smile with minimal cost, time and pain involved.
Dental veneers are used to treat a wide range of problems, including:
- Crooked, misaligned, uneven or irregularly shaped teeth
- Worn, chipped, cracked or broken teeth
- Discoloured or stained teeth
- Teeth with gaps
- Excessively short teeth
What are dental veneers made of?
There are two main types of dental veneers, and the choice will depend on your budget and individual requirements. Dental veneers can be made of either porcelain or resin composite materials, and each has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Porcelain veneers tend to look more natural and realistic, and resist staining better than resin veneers, as their surface is impervious and smooth. Although they are more expensive and often require more dental visits to attach, they are very long-lasting with proper care, and can last up to 20 years with minimal maintenance.
Resin composite veneers are a more affordable option and can usually be affixed to your teeth in a single visit. They may be a more suitable option for minor restorative work. However, they are not as long-lasting as porcelain veneers, generally lasting from four to eight years, and require more maintenance as they are more likely to chip.
You will need to discuss with your dentist the best choice of veneer material depending on your individual circumstances, budget and preferences.
Advantages of dental veneers
- Compared to alternative dental procedures, there is minimal time, cost and pain involved in getting veneers. They are quite a convenient solution if you don’t have the time or desire to invest in orthodontic treatment.
- Veneers look very natural and are indistinguishable from your other teeth.
- The colour of veneers can be chosen to make your teeth appear whiter.
- Teeth only require basic preparation before veneers can be attached and don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that other options – such as crowns – do. The original tooth will remain more intact.
- Gum tissue is very tolerant to the porcelain material of veneers.
Disadvantages of dental veneers
- Once you have veneers you can’t change your mind, as the process is permanent and not reversible.
- Chips and cracks can happen, and veneers are usually not repairable.
- Although very unlikely, veneers can sometimes dislodge and come off, especially if you put excessive pressure on your teeth (such as biting your nails, grinding your teeth or chewing on hard objects).
- Because veneers require enamel to be removed, that particular tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks.
- Teeth with veneers can still decay, which may necessitate other dental treatments and solutions. Veneers are not a solution to correcting dental problems.
- Veneers are not suitable for everyone, particularly people with a lot of decay or active gum disease, weakened teeth, an inadequate amount of existing enamel or those who are prone to clenching and grinding their teeth.
How long do veneers last?
As a general rule, veneers can last between seven and fifteen years, although some certainly last much longer. They are more than durable enough to handle most of the forces a normal diet will subject them to. You’ll be showing off your brilliant smile for many years to come.
Veneers will eventually need to be replaced however, which will require another layer of enamel to be removed. If your enamel has eroded excessively since your first set of veneers, you may not have enough left to allow for a second set; in which case you would then need to consider another restorative procedure, such as a crown. Make sure you consider all the possibilities before making the decision to go ahead with veneers.
Is it painful to get dental veneers?
Teeth only require basic preparation before veneers can be attached, so pain is generally not an issue. The trimming of the enamel off the tooth’s surface to make room for the veneer is not usually painful, although occasionally patients may need to receive an anaesthetic. You may feel a small amount of sensitivity or gum soreness for a few days after having the veneers attached, but this should not last long.
The cost of dental veneers
In the past, dental veneers were the province of the rich and famous, and were out of reach for most ordinary people. However, with recent advancements in dental technology and material sciences, the affordability of veneers is no longer a barrier for the majority of people.
The location of the tooth requiring treatment will affect the cost, and often it is more expensive to have a veneer applied to a front tooth than a less visible tooth. Which type of veneer you choose will also have an impact, as porcelain is more expensive than resin composite veneers. The number of teeth requiring veneers also needs to be factored into the final cost.
As the price of veneers is subject to change, contact Lentini Dental to book an appointment, discuss your options and get a quote.
Are there alternatives to dental veneers?
Yes – you could also consider bonding or crowns. Bonding is a procedure in which a resin material is applied to the tooth to improve its appearance, and is a good option for small cosmetic changes and temporary corrections. It is one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental procedures, but is not nearly as long-lasting as veneers or crowns.
A dental crown is a cap which is placed over a tooth to improve its shape, size, strength or appearance, and fully encases the entire tooth. A crown is much thicker than a veneer and is more suitable for people who require extensive dental treatment.
Veneers are a good intermediate option for those who want to change the appearance of their teeth, but not enough to require a crown.
If your teeth are discoloured and you just want to brighten your smile, you might want to give teeth whitening a try first. This can either be done with a home whitening kit supplied by your dentist, or with a professional whitening treatment.
As always, consult with your dentist and have a thorough examination to determine which treatment options are right for you.
I’m interested in getting dental veneers – what happens now?
Once you have consulted your dentist and determined that veneers are a suitable treatment option for you, there are a number of steps to be taken.
Your dentist will need to take x-rays or make impressions of your teeth so that the veneers can be specially constructed, a process that usually takes between two and four weeks.
To enable veneers to be placed on your tooth, your dentist will remove approximately half a millimetre of enamel from the surface of your tooth – this will allow for the thickness of the veneer to be added to your tooth. Your tooth will be cleaned, polished and etched to allow the veneer to bond properly to the surface.
A temporary veneer will be placed on your tooth as a trial, so the dentist is able to evaluate any changes in fit or colour that need to be made before a permanent veneer is placed.
Bonding the permanent veneer
Once the veneer has been adjusted to achieve the proper fit and colour, the veneer is cemented to your tooth and then hardened to set.
You may be required to return for a follow-up visit a couple of weeks after your veneer is fitted so the dentist can check the veneer’s placement and how your gums are responding to it.
Maintaining your dental veneers
The good news is that dental veneers don’t require any special care. All you need to do is maintain normal good oral hygiene practices – brushing and flossing regularly and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. To minimise the chance of damage to your veneers, just be cautious about placing excessive pressure on them and try to break destructive habits, such as teeth grinding. However, like normal teeth, veneers are susceptible to strong impacts, such as sporting accidents, and can be damaged when such impacts occur. Don’t forget to include regular check-ups with your dentist too.
Common misconceptions about dental veneers
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, and misinformation about dental procedures can often affect your decision-making process, or even prevent you from seeking treatment at all.
Misconception #1 – Dental veneers are fragile
This is misguided, as porcelain veneers are just as strong as your tooth’s natural enamel. While they will be susceptible to damage, wear or trauma (just like your natural teeth), with proper care and regular hygiene maintenance they will last for many years without a problem.
Misconception #2 – People will be able to see that I have veneers
Most people will never know if you have veneers or not as veneers are virtually indistinguishable from your other teeth. They are designed to reflect light in such a way as to look completely natural, and can be colour-matched to blend in with your existing teeth.
Misconception #3 – The tooth needs to be filed down excessively before a veneer can be applied
Only a very thin layer of enamel needs to be removed from your tooth in preparation for a veneer – around half a millimetre, which allows for the veneer to fit snugly on the tooth without adding any bulk. The goal of modern dentistry is to keep as much of the natural enamel as possible.
Misconception #4 – Veneers are only for aesthetic purposes
While the primary purpose of veneers is to improve the appearance of teeth, veneers are also a very functional and effective solution to repairing cracked, chipped or misshapen teeth.
Misconception #5 – Getting veneers is a long, drawn-out and expensive process
It’s not – usually the process of getting veneers will only involve a few visits to the dentist. There may be a wait of a few weeks while your veneers are constructed to fit your teeth, but it’s a relatively quick process once that is done. Veneers are also not nearly as expensive as other cosmetic dental procedures and are more affordable than you might think.
Misconception #6 – Dental veneers will weaken my teeth
Given that such a small amount of your tooth is removed to prepare for veneers, this is untrue. If fact, veneers will provide some protection for your tooth.
Misconception #7 – Dental veneers are only for celebrities
Many people think that getting cosmetic dentistry is frivolous or too expensive for the average person, but there’s really no reason why anybody shouldn’t be able to improve their smile with veneers.
Misconception #8 – Dental veneers are difficult to care for
It would probably surprise many people to know that dental veneers don’t require any different care than your regular teeth do, requiring only daily brushing and flossing. Veneers are stain-resistant, and thus won’t discolour as easily as other teeth. Use caution when biting on extremely hard foods like toffee to prevent chips in your veneers.
The importance of a using a qualified dentist
When carried out by a well-qualified dental practitioner, veneers are relatively low-risk and quite safe. Because they are designed to last a long time, it’s important to ensure they are created and applied safely. The experience of the dentist applying your veneers will affect the quality of your treatment, so make sure you attend a qualified practice with experienced dental practitioners, such as Lentini Dental. We pride ourselves in providing you with highly experienced and caring dentists who will take the utmost care with your treatment.
Why choose Lentini Dental? – the difference we offer
Porcelain Veneers are a facelift for your teeth. Having Porcelain Veneers fitted is a very personal experience, requiring an understanding of individual requirements by the treating dentist about how to frame the smile properly to suit the lips and face. Lentini Dental understands this intimately, and takes the utmost care and attention to detail during the process of assessing and fitting Porcelain Veneers.
As a cosmetic dentist willing to take the time to review the smile closely and establish the most appropriate aesthetic and structural solution, Lentini Dental provides a point of difference in Porcelain Veneers.
Unlike other cosmetic dental procedures on the market that would have you select from a catalogue of 'perfect smiles', Lentini Dental takes a more realistic, hands-on approach. By placing temporary veneers as a trial, Lentini is able to better evaluate changes prior to duplicating them with permanent Porcelain Veneers.
Results will vary. All invasive procedures carry risks. You should seek a second opinion prior to treatment.
Veneers Case Study
View the before and after photos examples of our patients who received veneers treatment here
Nothing beats seeing before and after photos of patients who’ve received veneers to help you decide if this is something that can work for you – you can view our gallery of happy customers here.
If you think you could benefit from this treatment, take the first step towards getting a makeover for your smile and book a consultation with your friendly Lentini Dental practitioner today.
For further enquiries, call (03) 9742 6928.
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