Also called dental laminates, dental veneers are custom, wafer-thin shells of tooth-coloured materials. These are meant to be applied over the tooth to change its shape, size, length, and colour, improving its appearance. Today’s veneers provide a natural look, thanks to their translucent ceramic quality.
This treatment option can solve most cosmetic issues, including:
Despite being the hardest substance in the body (harder than bone), the hard white substance covering the teeth, called enamel, may become worn out and discoloured. This happens when you indulge in sugary foods and drinks too often. In some cases, it is the result of a genetic predisposition.
Unlike broken bone that heals by itself, the damage caused by enamel erosion is forever, as enamel has no living cells. Fortunately, dental veneers can fix the problem.
A diastema is a gap between teeth, usually involving the two front teeth. It is usually caused by a mismatch between the size of the teeth and jawbone. In some cases, a bonding or a white filling material may be recommended to close the gaps, but a porcelain veneer is the ideal option.
Tooth grinding and natural wear and tear are the top two causes of uneven teeth. Veneers can fix the problem, but it depends on how far out of alignment the teeth are, as well as whether the bite is healthy. If the issues are minor, veneers may be enough to solve the problem.
Porcelain Veneers vs. Composite Resin Veneers
There are two popular veneer options: porcelain veneers and composite resin veneers.
Composite veneers are made of engineered resin. It is applied in layers to the tooth and sculpted directly into the mouth; they need to be well polished to look natural. Ideal for patients suffering from chipped or discoloured teeth, composite veneers involve little tooth reduction.
While composite veneers have been the preferred option in the past few decades, porcelain veneers are emerging as a popular cosmetic dentistry option. Porcelain veneers are fingernail-thin shells and involve the removal of the tooth’s enamel, followed by the bonding of the veneer. It is especially ideal for severe cases that involve extensive chipping, cracking, discolouration and malformation of teeth.
When Are Veneers Appropriate?
Veneers are ideal in cases where the patient suffers tooth wear, discolouration, dullness, chipping, cracking, spacing, or uneven teeth. It is not recommended, however, if the natural teeth are already functionally and aesthetically adequate, as it permanently alters the teeth.
Veneers or Whitening?
In cases of discoloured teeth, a dental veneer is the better option. With teeth whitening, teeth still stain, which means patients may need to repeat the treatment several times a year. Veneers, on the other hand, when properly finished, are significantly more stain resistant.
Restorative Benefit of Veneers
In addition to making the teeth more aesthetically pleasing, dental veneers also provide restorative and functional benefits. For one, the treatment protects the surface of a damaged tooth.
It eliminates the need for dental crowns as well, which is a more invasive procedure. Dental veneers require little-to-no tooth reshaping once they are bonded into place. Then they become stronger and more durable.
Despite this, it is still important to properly care for the veneers, as the shells are so thin that they can damage or break. We advise patients to refrain from eating hard food, such as nuts, and advise the use of dental splints (for teeth grinding patients).
The dental veneer procedure is very similar to that of a crown. It is often completed in two dental visits over about three weeks. In some circumstances, we can complete these on the same day.
First, we diagnose and examine your teeth, and then minimally reshape it and apply temporary veneers. Temporary veneers offer a means to identify the expected look, feel, and fit of the veneer. It also helps us identify the needed adjustments during the development of the permanent veneer. Once the permanent veneer is complete, we then place them onto the reshaped teeth, polish them to create a natural-looking smile.