What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are a type of restoration that can be applied to your teeth to improve their shape, colour, or position. They are thin, tooth-like coloured in nature that are bonded to your teeth. Veneers are commonly separated into 2 categories, composite resin veneers or porcelain veneers. The term ‘dental bonding’ has often been associated with composite resin veneers. All categories follow similar protocols in improving appearance of your teeth.
There are a number of reasons for why individuals may want veneers. Patients may be unhappy with their smile, the shape of their teeth, existing fillings that have discoloured, the odd positioning of their teeth, or the colour of their teeth. This can have effects on people’s confidence, as they choose not to smile or shy away from showing their teeth during conversation or laughing.
We’ve listed a few reasons for why you may be suitable for veneers, have a read and see if any of these are relevant to you:
- Old fillings that have changed colour
- – We’ve just come back from the dentist with our new filling, and the colour matches the tooth. But, over the years, coffee, tea, wine or smoking have started to stain the teeth and the fillings also. Now the filling no longer matches the tooth and has become quite noticeable when you smile
- The colour of your teeth
- – You see others around you, or even those in Hollywood with amazingly white teeth and you think to yourself, I wish my teeth were that white. In come whitening products, several products later to no effect. Your teeth just refuse to whiten, all hope must be lost? Not necessarily!
- History of trauma or root canal treatment
- – It is extremely common for patients to suffer trauma to their front teeth. This can happen at all ages and is unbelievably unfortunate. Often, treatment involves placement of a filling material or in some cases, the need for root canal treatment. In certain situations, the trauma can be so great that the tooth starts to change colour! This darkening effect of the tooth signifies a loss of vitality in the tooth, the nerve dies and causes the tooth to discolour.
- History of tooth wear or chips
- – Clenching and grinding can go unnoticed for many years until they become apparent that your teeth ‘feel’ flatter and ‘look’ flatter. As much as would like to think that our teeth are indestructible, they can most definitely be worn down.
- – In some cases, our front teeth can be worn down to the point where they start to feel sensitive to anything cold
- Misaligned teeth
- – Some teeth are slightly misaligned, and braces just isn’t an option. Dental veneers can assist in correcting the position of your teeth by masking the misalignment. It is worth noting that this should be carefully discussed with your dentist first
- Discoloured teeth from a young age
- – Teeth can often be discoloured for a variety of reasons, one specific reason may be antibiotic use at a young age, or white lesions on your teeth due to fluorosis. The colour of your teeth have been affected internally, and conventional methods prove ineffective.
If any of the above reasons relate to your teeth, then dental veneers may be an option for you. One should always consult with their dentist before considering dental veneers as there may be alternative solutions that are better suited. Although dental veneers are great, they may not be suitable for everyone.
Dental veneers are intricately crafted to your teeth to change, the shape, mask discolouration, and in some circumstances, improve the position. Most commonly, they are placed on front teeth as these are in the ‘smile zone’. They can be applied to both top and bottom front teeth. The number of veneers you may need is unique to each case.
Types of Veneers
As mentioned previously, veneers can be categorised into two types:
- Composite veneers
- – Composite resin veneers are made from the same filling material we use for dental restorations. They are a less expensive option and can provide great results for those looking for a quick fix.
- – Composite veneers are often placed over the tooth of your teeth, and are advantageous over porcelain veneers as they are less destructive to the natural tooth structure. However, this can often make the teeth feel bulkier, which can sometimes change the way we speak. Overtime, the mouth does adjust and your speech will improve.
- – Composite veneers have the advantage of being able to be repaired. In the even they chip or fracture, your dentist might be able to restore these issues.
- – The disadvantages of composite resin veneers are that they aren’t as strong as porcelain veneers, and are more prone to discolouration overtime. The margins of your veneers may become more apparent over time as they attract stains. Sometimes, a quick polish from your dentist and resolve this issue.
- – Composite resin veneers are a great option for those looking for a safe, non-destructive, and inexpensive way of improving your smile.
- Porcelain veneers
- – The most common type of veneer are porcelain veneers. They are considered the best type of material for replicating the natural shade of healthy teeth, and are highly resistant to staining.
- – In most cases, in order to achieve the most desirable results, your tooth may require some preparation. Approximately 0.5mm of the top layer of the tooth is removed to may space for the porcelain veneer. This ensures strength in the veneer and that your veneers feel as natural as possible. In some cases, it is possible to perform a ‘no preparation’ veneer method, where no tooth structure is removed. Again, similar to composite resin veneers, thickness of your teeth and speech may be affected.
- – Preparation of the tooth does mean that we have to remove a small layer of your tooth, this may not always be something patients want.
- – Unlike composite resin veneers, porcelain veneers are stain-resistant and do not change colour with age. It is important to select the correct shade/colour with your dentist prior to starting any veneer work. Whitening your teeth prior to starting is always recommended, as whitening in the future will not change the colour of your porcelain veneers
- – Although porcelain veneers are far stronger than composite veneers, they are not immune to chipping. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to repair a chipped veneer. And so, repair would involve the removal of the veneer and replacement with a new veneer.
- – Furthermore, if patients tend to grind in their sleep, then it is imperative that patients have a splint constructed to protect their veneers from chipping or fracture. This is applicable to both composite resin and porcelain veneers.
How long do veneers last?
The age-old question as to how long anything will last. We strive to have things last for a long as possible, but the reality is, if we take good care of our teeth or veneers, they should last up to 10 years or more. Everyone is different, and we each put our veneers under different stresses, so mileage will vary from individual to individual.
In general, porcelain veneers tend to last longer as they are stronger and are more compatible with the gums leading to less gum disease. Not to say that composite resin veneers aren’t as good, if they are done well, composite resin veneers can last just if porcelain veneers.
How do I take care of my veneers?
So, we’ve just completed our veneers and we wish to establish the best practices for longevity. Like our natural teeth, we should be flossing and brushing regularly. Treat your veneers like they are your own teeth. In some cases, it is recommended to wear a night guard, also known as an occlusal splint. Many people are shocked to hear when they are told that they clench and grind during their sleep. This can be disastrous to our lovely veneers and inadvertently cause chips or fractures. Your dentist will be able to recognise the signs of clenching and grinding prior to starting any veneer treatment. Occlusal splints are constructed shortly after insertion of dental veneers, they aid to protect your veneers from chipping and fractures during your sleep.
Lastly, we recommend patients avoid eating and biting on anything that would be deemed too hard. Often patients find themselves biting through shells, nuts, or even using their teeth as can openers. If there is an intended tool for such practices, it’s best to leave it up to the tools themselves and not through the convenience of your teeth.
At True Smiles Dental Marrickville, we understand everyone is different and their needs may vary depending on the circumstances. Through careful analysis, our experienced team at True Smiles Dental can help you decide what options are best and what would achieve the best results. Feel free to contact one of our lovely staff members to assist you should you have any further questions. We offer FREE cosmetic consultations at True Smiles Dental Marrickville. Call (02) 7228 7272 or book online at www.truesmilesdental.com.au