Veneers are thin, custom-made tooth facings made of porcelain or composite materials designed to cover the front side of a tooth to improve the overall appearance of the teeth. They are mainly used to:
- correct the length and shape of teeth according to the aesthetic and functional needs of the teeth.
- close gaps between teeth where orthodontic treatment is not possible.
- mask darker teeth in cases where whitening options have been exhausted.
- restore partially broken-down or worn teeth.
- widen narrow smiles where orthodontic treatment is not possible.
There are two types of veneers. One requires minimal, or no, tooth preparation, and the other requires slightly more preparation which is confined to the enamel structure.
The veneer is bonded to the enamel of the tooth. Several visits are necessary to complete the treatment.
Dental Veneers are not suitable for every patient. There are many factors that determine whether dental veneer treatment is appropriate. We consider every patient as an individual and investigate these factors carefully before embarking on this course of treatment. Some of the factors we look at are:
- Good basic dental health
- Sound oral hygiene habits
- How the teeth come together when the patient bites
- Bruxism (persistent unconscious grinding of teeth)
- Dietary considerations
- Occupational or lifestyle factors
- Have other, less invasive, options been explored
Patients should be aware that this is usually an irreversible process because it is often necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the veneer.
Stages of Veneer Treatment
Initial ConsultationOur Treatment Coordinator will discuss with the patient all the options and solutions that could be available. This is an opportunity for the patient to discuss the dental problem informally and receive information on the various treatments. This is an important stage for the patient as it allows them to get a clearer idea of what might be involved without any commitment.
Dental ExaminationA thorough clinical examination is conducted by the dentist. The suitability for veneers is assessed and any necessary photographs, radiographs and sometimes impressions for a diagnostic wax-up, are taken. Your dentist will also be able to advise on the choice of material, treatment sequence and any other concerns you may have. A detailed treatment plan will be developed, and the patient given time to consider their options.
Discuss different treatment options in complex casesIf multiple veneers are necessary, a separate appointment may be required to discuss options and choices after evaluating the photographs and diagnostic wax-up received back from the laboratory.
- Trial Smile
A temporary smile is created using composite material from the diagnostic wax-up. This gives the patient a chance to see what final smile would look and feel like. The patient is given time to check the shape, length, colour and the feel of the new look. The patient has the opportunity to come back and have minor adjustments done to create their desired look. When the patient is happy with the new smile, this will form the template for the final veneers to be constructed. Records of this final temporary smile are sent to the laboratory for the technician to create the final veneers of the same shape, size and colour.
Preparation of the teethThis involves reducing the thickness of the enamel (usually under local anaesthesia) followed by an impression or mould of the prepared tooth. This trimming of the tooth is required to create space for the veneer to be fitted. The mould taken is then sent to a laboratory where skilled technicians will fabricate the veneer. In the meantime, a temporary veneer is made and fitted onto the trimmed tooth.
Fitting appointmentThe temporary veneer is removed and the tooth surfaces cleaned. The completed veneer is tried on the tooth for fit, bite and appearance. Finally, the veneer is bonded onto the prepared tooth. Usually a mouth guard is provided to wear at night-time to protect the veneers.
Care of your Veneers
Veneers are made of inert materials that do not deteriorate over time. However, the underlying tooth is still prone to decay and gum disease.
- Daily brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral health as well as keeping the veneer trouble-free. Despite extreme care taken during construction of the veneer, and attention paid to the way your teeth bite, the veneer can chip or fracture. Care should be taken biting hard substances.
- Regular dental and hygiene appointments will enable your dentist or hygienist to detect any problems with your veneer and recommend necessary treatment.
- Correct dietary control is essential to prevent decay to the underlying tooth supporting the veneer.