What are veneers?
A veneer doesn’t usually look like much by itself. It’s basically a thin shell that mimics the look and feel of a real tooth. Your dentist will permanently attach it to the front of one of your teeth. You can have just one, a few, or a mouthful of veneers, depending on the look you’re after and what’s right for your teeth.
The point of getting veneers can be to help repair teeth, strengthen them, simply improve their appearance, or a mix of all three. For example, maybe you have teeth that are discoloured and teeth whitening isn’t a viable option. Or, you might have a tooth that’s doesn’t match your others, a gap between teeth, or crooked teeth. Veneers can potentially help correct these kinds of issues.
What are the options for veneers?
Generally speaking, there are two options when you’re getting veneers: porcelain or composite resin.
Many veneers are made of porcelain – usually ceramic – as this durable material can be made to look just like a real tooth. If you’re just getting one or two veneers, the lab can match the colour tone to your existing natural teeth so they fit in with the rest of your smile. Lots of patients choose this option because it’s durable and long-lasting.
The second option is to have composite resin veneers. While this type isn’t expected to last quite as long – roughly four to eight years – it tends to be a more affordable option, and composite resin is slightly faster to apply.
But you don’t have to make this choice on your own! We can help by making recommendations according to your needs, budget, and goals.
What’s the process like?
Due to the difference in materials, the type of veneer you get will greatly affect the process of having them applied.
The process for composite resin tends to be the simpler of the two and can often be completed in a single appointment. In this scenario, one of our professionals will apply layers of composite resin to the tooth and harden each layer with a special light. We’ll then shape and polish the layers as we go to create a natural-looking finish.
For a porcelain veneer, the first visit will require us to remove a thin layer from the front of your natural tooth in order to make room for the veneer. They will then take an impression of the tooth and send that mould away to the lab so a custom-made veneer can be created for your smile. Your dentist will attach a temporary veneer for you to wear until your new one arrives back from the lab. Once it does arrive, the temporary one will be removed, and the new veneer will be permanently attached with a composite resin cement.
Kids sometimes need their parents’ help to brush their teeth until they’re old enough to use the toothbrush correctly. If they find it difficult to clean all parts of their mouth, they might find an electric toothbrush easier and more comfortable to use. You should brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and floss between their teeth at least once a day as soon as their first teeth appear.
Children’s diets play a big part in their oral hygiene too. Try to discourage sugary snacks, soft drinks and fruit juices, as these help to spread plaque and can cause tooth decay and cavities. Encourage teeth-friendly food and drinks instead, such as fluoridated tap water, dairy products and green, leafy vegetables.
How can I look after my veneers?
Neither type of veneer is expected to last forever, but you can get the most out of them by taking the best care of your teeth possible. Basically, good care for veneers entails the same routines as general oral hygiene; brushing, flossing, regular dentist visits, and never using your teeth as tools (such as tearing open a packet with them instead of using scissors).
Should a veneer chip or crack, we can repair or replace the restoration. But, of course, prevention is usually ideal!
If you have any questions about veneers of either kind, chat with us about whether they’re right for you.
Have you had a dental emergency?
If you have a dental emergency—either severe pain requiring root canal (also known as endondontic treatment) or a lost tooth—call our surgery straight away and we’ll do our best to find a time to see you.