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Veneers have revolutionised our ability to create an amazing smile.
Done well, this minimally invasive procedure has given many people the smile they always wanted and the confidence to go with it.
These days it’s hard to switch on the TV or open a magazine without seeing someone who has had their smile enhanced or recreated using porcelain veneers. With new technologies and techniques, many more people are having veneers and they are no longer is it the preserve of the rich and famous.
What are veneers and how do they work?
Veneers are thin laminate facings that are stuck to the front of teeth to change their appearance. The best analogy is that of a false fingernail stuck to and covering the natural nail.
They can be used to hide blemishes, change the shape and shade of the tooth radically or protect a very worn or vulnerable tooth that may not have formed properly or got damaged.
By using a very strong dental adhesive the laminate is stuck to the tooth and mimics the hard enamel layer of the tooth. Veneers are very delicate and can break easily, but once they are stuck on, they are very strong and do not break easily.
Are veneers right for me?
Many factors have to be taken into consideration when deciding if veneers are right for you. At Hello Dental our approach is to listen to you and find out exactly what it is you are unhappy with. Then we look at and discuss all the solutions that are appropriate for you.
Fundamentally, dentistry is about balancing the risks with the benefits of any treatment. In the right cases, veneers can transform a smile, look great and last for many years. They have the ability to transform a person’s whole outlook on life and their confidence.
With veneers comes a commitment to maintaining them with excellent oral hygiene and home care. Not to mention regular visits to your dentist or hygienist to maintain them and ensure they keep looking their best.
How long do veneers last?
This is perhaps the most often asked question and one of the most difficult to answer. On average veneers last about 10 years, but they can last 20+ years easily. It boils down to how well they were done and how well they are looked after.
Veneers stuck to teeth that have been heavily ground down, will simply not last as long as those stuck to teeth, where the reduction has been minimal and we are still sticking to the hard outer coating enamel of teeth. This means some of the “instant makeovers” done on very crooked teeth that we see on TV may make great viewing because of the level of transformation, but they are destined for limited longevity and possibly more problems. We shun these practices and you can read more about our concept of biologically friendly cosmetic dentistry here.
On the other side of the equation is simply maintenance, both at home and with regular visits to the dentist so we can pre-empt and deal with any problems before they cause the veneers to fail.
What are veneers made of?
Veneers can be made of either porcelain, composite or a newer material called Zirconia. Each material has its pros and cons and is used depending on what the patient wants and what is possible.
Porcelain has been the most used material and is still considered to be one of the most durable materials. At Hello Dental Colchester, we use a new kind of porcelain called lithium disilicate (branded as e-max) which is not only very strong but also gives us excellent aesthetics.
Composite is a resin-filled material, which is used as white filling material. Like any plastic/resin material, it has always been prone to staining and discolouring with time. However, over the last 10 years, newer materials for front teeth have been developed that when used and polished correctly, are very resistant to staining and discolouration. At Hello Dental we use a range of different composite materials depending on the situation. Our composite materials are heavily researched for the correct physical properties (strength, flexibility etc.), and are sourced from leading manufacturers in Japan (Majesty by Kuraray), Italy (HFO) and the United States (Re-enamel by Cosmedent).
Zirconia veneers are the most recent veneer material to have been developed. Zirconia is incredibly strong and is the same material that is used to make artificial diamonds such as Swarovski diamonds. While it is very strong, it currently lacks the translucency and depth of true porcelain. It is modified by a layer of porcelain to improve its appearance on the outside and where there are concerns about a person’s heavy bite, tooth clenching or grinding, the compromise in appearance is often acceptable. As Zirconia continues to evolve, newer translucent shades are beginning to show great promise and our lab Ceramtech is at the forefront of this technology.
What are instant or “same-day” veneers?
As dental composite technology and techniques have improved, the strength and stain resistance of the material have improved considerably. Using different composite materials and advanced layering techniques, at Hello Dental Colchester we are able to create veneers directly in the mouth. We would still go through a custom planning and mock-up stage, so you are able to see what the end result would look like before you have the final veneers made.
Because the process is shorter and there isn’t a significant lab stage, the cost of composite veneers, or instant veneers, is roughly half the cost of porcelain veneers. However, they do require more maintenance to maintain their look and are more prone to chipping than porcelain. Therefore they are not suitable for everyone. However, they do have the significant advantage that they are the least invasive form of veneers often done with no anaesthetic and no grinding down of the teeth. With our Waterlase laser technology, we can even sculpt the gums at the same time with no anaesthetic needed.
Also unlike porcelain veneers, they are very easy to repair and it often only takes a few minutes. We consider them to be the most “tooth-friendly” form of veneers and we have invested a great deal of time and training learning how to use the material to its very best.Back to Cosmetic Dentistry
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