Veneers, also known as porcelain veneers are ultrathin shells made form porcelain and are bonded to the front of your teeth in order to improve the aesthetics of your teeth. Veneers are an increasingly popular method to quickly improve the appearance of teeth which have become damaged through a range of issues. Veneers are commonly used to treat chipped or damaged teeth, teeth which are worn down and stained and discoloured teeth. Teeth are prone to becoming discoloured if you ingest certain substances such as red wine, coffee, tea or cigarette smoke. In these cases tooth whitening may be a more suitable treatment option. Staining or discolouration that is more severe or intrinsic may require treatment with veneers.
Veneers can also be used to help with slightly crooked teeth by giving them a much straighter appearance and closing up any obvious gaps.
Procedure for Veneers
You will first need a thorough oral examination to make sure that you are suitable for veneers. In most cases your dentist will need to remove some tooth substance to accommodate the veneers. The procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort. Impressions of your teeth will be taken and sent to a specialist dental laboratory. In the meantime you will have temporary veneers fitted.
At your next appointment the veneers will be ready to be fitted. The temporary veneers are removed and the tooth surfaces thoroughly cleaned. The veneers will be tried in the mouth and you will be shown the veneers to ensure that you are happy with them before they are cemented into place.
Porcelain veneers usually last between 5-10 years provided you maintain a good level of oral hygiene. Veneers are also highly resistant to discolouration and staining even in the face of excessive amounts of tea, coffee, smoking and red wine. The lifespan of a veneer can be extended if you take good care of it. You should continue to have regular check ups with your dentist and brush and floss or use Tepe brushes twice a day.
Drawbacks of veneers
Although the vast majority of veneers are carried out without any complications, there are some issues that can occur. It is important to note that your veneers are completely non reversible, so if you are unhappy with their appearance, this may cause a problem.
If your porcelain veneer becomes damaged or chipped a replacement veneer may be required. Small chips may be amenable to being restored.
As well as being resistant to stains, your veneers are also highly resistant to bleaching, this means that if you whiten your natural teeth your veneers will not change shade. So if you plan to have any bleaching done, it is highly recommended that you do it before you have your veneers made. Some people report an increase in tooth sensitivity to hot and cold following the fitting of a veneer, this is due to enamel being removed in the process. Although veneers only involves removal of a minimal amount of tooth substance there is still the risk of the tooth devitalising and requiring root canal treatment. Finally if your oral hygiene is not sufficient then your veneered teeth are at risk of decay and periodontal disease.