What are Veneers?
As many Hollywood stars demonstrate veneers can transform problem teeth into a brand new straight white smile and increasing numbers of us are now willing to invest in veneers to achieve a similar (though maybe not so extreme) look.
Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are fixed onto the outer surface of the teeth to improve their colour and hide any defects. Mottling, cracks or severe discoloration can be treated very successfully with the application of veneers. They can also be used to improve the shape and positioning of the teeth; for instance narrow or peg shaped teeth, small gaps or slight mal-positioning can all be disguised.
Thin laminates of tooth-coloured material are ‘cemented’ to the front surfaces of the teeth. A precise shade can be chosen to match your natural teeth, improve a single stained or discoloured tooth, or lighten front teeth (most commonly the upper ones).
Porcelain or composite?
Porcelain is the most popular material for veneers as it is strong, durable and offers a more natural looking result. Composite veneers are available but are more prone to staining and don’t last as long as porcelain veneers. Whichever type of veneer you choose the amount of tooth removed is usually much less than when a tooth is prepared for a crown.
What is the procedure of having dental veneers fitted?
1. The first part of any dental procedure is the initial consultation and examination, so that we can get a feel for what you want and understand your needs and concerns. We will explain the treatment procedure to you and give you an accurate guide to the likely costs of your treatment.
2. Before your veneers are designed, we will need to reshape and prepare the front surfaces of your teeth so that they can accommodate the veneers. The first stage is to numb the teeth and gums with a local anaesthetic so that you do not feel anything during the procedure.
3. Then a tiny part of the front surface of your teeth will be shaved off. The amount removed should be equivalent to the thickness of the veneer that will sit over the top of the tooth.
4. Next, an impression or mould (copy) of your teeth is taken. A special dental "putty" is placed into your mouth on a tray and pushed into your teeth so that it takes an imprint of your teeth (similar to how you would leave a footprint in sand).
5. This "impression" or mould of your teeth is then sent to a dental laboratory. The laboratory uses the impression to cast an accurate model of your teeth, which is used as a guide to fabricate your new veneers. This process usually takes just a week.
6. While you're waiting for your veneers to be fabricated it’s not usually necessary to provide temporary veneers, but sometimes they may be needed.
7. On your second appointment, we will fit your new veneers to your teeth. First, the veneers are tried over your teeth to see how they look with your smile, as they may need to be adjusted.
8. Next, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned particularly the front surfaces so that they provide a good surface for the dental cement to stick to.
9. The veneers are then cemented into place, and a special curing light is used to activate the dental cement so that it permanently bonds the veneer to the front surface of your prepared tooth. If there is any excess cement, it is trimmed away and polished to leave a beautiful and natural-looking restoration.