For many years, Dr Ben White has been at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry, especially in the area of dental implants in Southampton. Here, he looks at another well known area of dentistry which is becoming ever more popular – dental veneers.
For many years now, dental veneers have been used to create the ultimate smile makeover. It is possible to transform crooked, stained, damaged or badly worn teeth into a brand-new, straight, white smile, using dental veneers.
So what exactly are dental veneers?
Many dentists describe dental veneers as doing the same for your teeth as false fingernails do for your hands. Veneers can be porcelain, ceramic, or made from composite bonding material. Veneers are wafer thin laminates or shells of tooth-coloured material and are cemented to the front surface of teeth to improve their cosmetic appearance.
What treatments or problems are veneers used for?
Here are some of the reasons why patients opt for treatment with dental veneers:
Badly stained teeth that cannot be improved by teeth whitening or prophyflex treatments can be greatly improved by dental veneers. In this case the veneers are used to simply cover any existing stains on your teeth. This is a very quick and relatively inexpensive procedure.
Teeth that have become badly worn through excessive grinding or indeed teeth that have been damaged by the continued and excessive consumption of carbonated drinks over a number of years, can be hidden using veneers. Also teeth that have been chipped or broken can also benefit from veneers. A small chip on a tooth can be quickly repaired using composite bonding also known as composite veneers. A single damaged tooth can also be easily repaired with a porcelain veneer that has the same characteristics and colouring as your natural teeth.
Spaces or gaps (known in dentistry as diastemas) between your teeth can easily be closed using dental veneers giving you a more uniform looking smile.
Veneers are not the ideal treatment for crooked teeth. In order to keep your natural teeth structure then orthodontics or Invisalign braces will probably be a better solution. However, such treatments can take up to a year or indeed longer. If however your teeth are not severely crooked then veneers placed over their front surface will give a straight and perfectly aligned looking smile. For this type of treatment, many people refer to veneers as “instant orthodontics” as you get a similar end result in a fraction of the time.
So which are better – composite veneers or porcelain veneers?
The most popular type of veneers are porcelain. Porcelain veneers offer a more durable alternative which is stronger than its composite counterpart. Composite veneers do not last as long as porcelain veneers and are prone to staining. Porcelain veneers also offer a more natural looking, translucent appearance. Whilst composite veneers are much cheaper than porcelain veneers, they do not last as long and need replacing more often, so,as a result, they could end up costing you more in the long run. Composite veneers are ideal for small chips, as this treatment preserves more of your natural tooth structure.