Have you wondered how participants of reality TV makeover shows walk out with shiny, pearly-white teeth?
Often, veneers are the simple answer.
Veneers are thin coverings bonded to your teeth to improve their shape and appearance.
What Are The Advantages Of Veneers?
Veneers can cover the chips, stains, cracks and gaps in your teeth. They are made from durable materials and can prevent your teeth from discolouring. Veneers can be shaped to fit your teeth perfectly, leaving you with an instantly flawless grin. Of course, the degree to which this applies depends on the type of veneers used.
What Are The Different Types Of Veneers?
There are many different types of veneers:
- Porcelain - made of ceramic, these veneers can easily mimic a natural tooth appearance.
- E-max - crafted from lithium disilicate glass-ceramic, e-max veneers are more durable, stronger and thinner than traditional porcelain veneers. Their translucency provides an almost natural appearance.
- Lumineers - also known as “no-prep” veneers, lumineers are very thin and can be applied quickly.
- Composite resin - also known as “temporary” veneers, composite veneers are made of a resin which bonds quickly to the teeth.
- Zirconium - made of zirconium dioxide, these opaque veneers outlast most other types of veneers when it comes to strength and is preferable in cases of severe tooth decay.
Are Veneers Permanent?
Most kinds of veneers are permanent. To apply them, a thin layer of the enamel of your tooth must first be removed. This is how a veneer becomes permanently bonded to your tooth. Porcelain, e-max and zirconium veneers are permanent types of veneers.
There are temporary veneers available to wear while permanent ones are made in the lab. They are usually made of composite resin and are removable. Temporary veneers can be clipped or slid onto teeth. They are not as durable or aesthetic as permanent veneers, and are a short-term solution.
How Do I Get Veneers?
You will first have to consult with your dentist who will assess your individual requirements and decide on the best option for you. Your dentist will perform an X-ray of your teeth and get an impression of them.
The surface of your teeth will have to be reshaped and enough enamel removed to fit the thickness of the veneers. Depending on how sensitive your teeth are, your dentist may numb the area. The impression of your resurfaced teeth will be used as a model to make your veneers at a lab. Temporary veneers will be fitted on, while you wait for your permanent veneers. This can take 2 - 4 weeks.
Your dentist will place the veneer against your tooth to ensure it’s a good fit. Trimming of the veneer will be done to accomplish this. Each individual tooth will undergo cleaning, polishing and etching before the veneer is placed. Etching is a process of roughening your tooth’s surface to make it easy for the veneer to bond.
A special cement is then applied to the veneer to help it bond to your tooth. To harden the cement, a light is applied over the surface of the tooth. This creates a permanent bond. Any excess cement will be filed off and your bite adjusted for maximum comfort. A follow-up visit with your dentist may be scheduled to check on the placement of your veneers.
How Long Do Veneers Last?
How long your veneers last depends on the type of veneer used:
- Composite resin - 3 to 5 years
- Porcelain - 10 to 15 years
- Lumineers - 10 to 20 years
- E-max - 15 to 20 years
- Zirconium - 10 to 30 years
These time ranges are estimated and dependent upon how well you maintain your veneers.
How Should You Care For Your Veneers?
The remaining tooth enamel beneath your veneers will benefit from maintaining good dental hygiene practices. These include brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily and using a fluoride mouthwash, all of which will help prevent tooth decay and strengthen the enamel.
Eating foods that aren’t too hard or sticky will make your veneers last longer. Avoid chewing on ice, nuts, hard candy or bones. Doing so can cause your veneers, however durable, to chip or stain. Having foods or drinks that cause discolouration can reduce the whiteness of your veneers. Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated or sugary foods and drinks, wine, berries and soy sauces.
Certain lifestyle habits should also be omitted as far as possible. Smoking should be limited to prevent staining your veneers. Grinding of teeth, also known as bruxism, must be avoided. If you suffer from bruxism, you should consult your dentist on suitable treatment options, such as a mouthguard. Consulting your dentist regularly at 6-monthly intervals should be a priority to maintain your veneers.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Veneers?
- To apply permanent veneers, your tooth enamel is made bare to properly bond and fit to your teeth. This means that you will always have to use veneers to protect your teeth. If you remove your veneers or they wear off, they will have to be replaced to prevent damage to your teeth.
- You may begin to experience tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks.
- The procedure to apply permanent veneers is irreversible.
- Porcelain veneers and other kinds of permanent veneers can be expensive, in comparison to composite resin veneers.
- Veneers aren’t a good option for people with severe tooth decay, gum sensitivity or bruxism.
The pros to getting veneers should ideally outweigh the cons of the procedure. The only way to properly weigh these pros and cons is with an expert diagnosis from your trusted dentist.