Dental veneers are thin shells that are attached permanently over the front of your teeth and are made of porcelain or a resin-composite. They are coloured to match your natural teeth and are attached to the front surface of teeth to improve the appearance of your smile.

Veneers can be a great solution to address a variety of different cosmetic concerns, including a chipped or broken tooth, a misshaped or discoloured tooth, or too-small teeth. As there are several types of veneers, it is important that you discuss the options with your dentist to decide what type of veneer is best suited to your needs.

People often only request one veneer, especially if a tooth is chipped or broken. However, many people request up to six to eight veneers to create an attractive, symmetrical smile. Veneers can result in a dramatic difference to a person’s overall attractiveness, replacing uneven, misshapen, chipped or miscoloured to with a white and bright smile.

The Different Types of Veneers
There are different types of veneers that are made of different materials, vary in longevity and appearance and require varying degrees of time for the procedure. The choice of veneer should be discussed with your dentist as the costs vary, as does the quality.

Typically, veneers are made of porcelain or composite resin, with both options requiring preparation before they are attached. These traditional veneers involve filing down the tooth structure, sometimes past the enamel. While filing the tooth prepares for the most accurate attachment of a traditional veneer, it is an irreversible procedure that often requires a local anaesthetic.

New, “No-prep” veneers, such as Lumineers –a brand of veneers that take less preparation time and dental work than traditional veneers do. Instead of porcelain, Lumineers are made of an ultra-thin material and are less expensive, less invasive and require less preparation than traditional veneers, however, they do not last as long.

Good Candidates for Veneers
Quality, well prepared and applied veneers can last for more than a decade, depending on the type of veneer you choose, making them a semi-permanent solution. The main benefit of veneers is the improvement of the appearance of your teeth, giving you a brighter and more symmetrical smile.

Dental veneers are typically used to address the following cosmetic needs:

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Severe discolouration or uneven colouring that can’t be fixed with whitening
  • Too wide gaps between teeth
  • Smaller-than-average teeth
  • Pointed or unusually shaped teeth

Preparation for Veneers
In some cases, if your teeth are crooked, you may need to have braces before your dentist can place the veneers. Your dentist may also want to X-ray your teeth to ensure the health of your teeth before placing veneers. If there are signs of decay or gum disease, you may not be a candidate for veneers.


Porcelain Veneers
Once you have decided what type of veneers and how many you require, your dentist will then proceed with trimming your tooth in preparation for applying the veneers. In the case of porcelain veneers, an impression will then be made of your teeth that is then sent to a dental laboratory to create your veneers.

Temporary veneers may be attached to your teeth until your porcelain veneers are ready, usually within two weeks. However, other dentists may use CAD/CAM technology so a computer can design the veneer and can produce the veneer in their dental practice.

Once your porcelain veneers are ready, your dentist will remove the temporary veneers and assess the fit, shape, and colour of the porcelain veneers to ensure they’re suitable for you. The next step is your dentist will then thoroughly cleanse your teeth to ensure that bacteria is not trapped under the veneer that can lead to decay.

After they do this, they use the grinding tool to create a rougher texture on the tooth which the veneer is then applied with dental cement to bond the veneer to the tooth. The dentist will then use an ultraviolet light to harden the dental cement quickly.

Composite Resin Veneers
If you choose composite resin veneers, your dentist will etch the surface of your tooth before applying a thin layer of the composite material to your prepared tooth.

Additional layers of composite may be necessary to achieve your intended look. Your dentist will finish by hardening the composite veneer with an ultra-violet light.

No-prep Veneers
A more recent addition to cosmetic dentistry, these include the options such as Lumineers and Vivaneers, which are specific brands of porcelain veneers. They take less time and are less invasive to apply and instead of removing layers of tooth under the enamel, no-prep veneers only affect the enamel. In many cases, no-prep veneers don’t require local anaesthetics or temporary veneers. While this option has many benefits, the veneers are thinner, do not suit all requirements, including discoloured teeth and they typically do not last as long as porcelain and composite veneers do.

Looking After Your Veneers

Traditional porcelain veneers typically last up to 10 years, with some lasting as long as 20 years. No-prep veneers typically last between 5 to 7 years. Taking certain precautions can help make sure that you get the longest lifespan out of them as possible. These suggested precautions include:

  • Don’t chew on hard objects like pens or pencils.
  • Never use your teeth to open packaging.
  • Try to chew harder foods with your back teeth only.
  • If you grind or clench your teeth at night, use a retainer to protect your veneers.
  • If you play sports, wear a mouth guard.

Risks and Complications

  • Misalignment of the bite and jaw pain
  • The veneer falling off or cracking / chipping
  • Tooth sensitivity to temperature due to the enamel being removed
  • Receding gum exposing the veneer margins
  • The veneers remaining white as surrounding teeth discolour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Is having veneers a painful procedure?
A. Your dentist should ensure you are comfortable by using local anaesthetic.

Q. Is there anything I should do, or avoid after treatment?
A. Yes. Avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens and learn to chew hard foods with your back teeth when possible.

Q. How long do veneers last?
A. Traditional porcelain and composite veneers typically last up to 10 years, sometimes up to 20 years, while no-prep veneers typically last between 5 to 7 years.

Q. What if I am not happy with the result?
A. Consult with your dentist but most veneers can be adjusted or removed and replaced.

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