Veneers are very thin, almost translucent laminates that are fitted to the natural teeth to improve their aesthetic. They are the best guarded secret behind the perfect smiles of not only the Hollywood, but also many Irish celebrities.
Fortunately you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a perfect smile. With technological advances, the prices of cosmetic dentistry have come down quite drastically, so these days almost everyone can afford to improve the look of their gnashers.
In this article we look at the 20 things you should know about the veneers.
Types of veneers
There are several types of veneers available. They differ in type of material, durability, application method and price. They are:
- Composite veneers (e.g. Cosmetic bonding, Bioclear)
- Porcelain veneers
- Ultra-thin Porcelain or Zirconium veneers
Composite veneers are made from translucent resin that is carefully sculpted and hardened by your dentist in a single appointment using a process called dental bonding. WQ Dental uses a brand-new technique for creating composite veneers called Bioclear. The results are truly remarkable.
They can be used if you have:
- Severe stains and discolouration
- Cracked teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Large gaps in between your teeth
- Crooked teeth (mild to moderate)
- Worn teeth
They’re a short term, more affordable solution to straighter teeth, almost like a temporary veneer, but they do need to be replaced every few years. You get about 5- 7 years from composite veneers.
Composite veneers are much less expensive than porcelain and they are done without any removal of tooth structure. This makes them entirely reversible.
However, they also have their downsides. They are not as natural-looking as porcelain veneers or other veneer variants.They’re also not as resistant to discolouration and staining as porcelain or zirconium.
Porcelain veneers are made in a dental laboratory by a dental technician/ceramist and they are custom crafted, fitted and colour matched to your teeth (or made whiter if that is the desired result).
Porcelain veneers are a more permanent solution than composite veneers. They are strong, durable, stain resistant, they look and feel like your natural teeth, only better.
However, unlike their composite counterparts, porcelain veneers take multiple dentist appointments to get done as they require altering the structure of your natural teeth. They are also far more expensive than composite veneers.
Ultra-thin veneers (e.g. Lumineers or Zirconium veneers)
The ultra-thin veneers are made from porcelain of zirconium. They fall somewhere in-between in terms of durability and price between composite veneers and porcelain veneers.
These new veneers are so thin that our dentist can bond them directly onto the surface of the front teeth. Because they are so thin the teeth do not have to be shaved which means that there’s no drilling involved – so no anaesthetic either. It also means that your original teeth are left untouched. To give you an idea of how thin they are, think of a contact lens – it really is the last work in discreet treatment.
The only problem is – because of their thinness, they can only be applied to teeth that are already straight and even, so you may have to straighten your teeth first.
What do you need to know before you get veneers?
- Understand the pros and cons of each veneer type. Talk to and listen to your dentist.
- Be aware of the costs involved – A set of 6 porcelain veneers can cost you €6000 or more, while a similar, but not as spectacular result can be achieved using composite veneers for a quarter of this price or less.
- When choosing a colour of your veneers, consider your skin tone, the colour of your natural teeth, the colour of your hair and eyes. A soft natural white can be more appealing than a fake looking, opaque white.
- Before you get veneers, your teeth and gums must be healthy and your teeth should be relatively straight. So if you have any existing issues, you may have to sort them out first.
- Veneers can chip and crack like natural teeth, so biting down on hard foods, such as ice, as well as inedible items can result in a damaged surface.
- For a full cosmetic effect, you may need to have approx. 18 veneers – 10 on top and 8 on the bottom jaw. But sometimes even doing only 2 front upper teeth can make a world of difference.
- Applying veneers can cover sensitive spots and reinforce cracked enamel, thereby eliminating tooth sensitivity.
- They can change the shape of your face. By placing veneers on the side teeth, a broader smiler and fuller-looking face can be achieved.
- Porcelain veneers can last 15-20 years.
- Veneers is a cosmetic procedure, so you need to find someone who is experienced and you need to like their results.
- Dentists don’t perform miracles – You cannot get the exact Julia Roberts smile, because what works for her face, won’t work for yours.
- If you are planning to have lip injections or any type of plastic surgery, tell your dentist about it before getting veneers. E.g. did you know that if you are planning to get lip injections, your enhanced lips can cast a shadow over your teeth, making them appear more grey. Your veneers should then be made a shade lighter.
- Porcelain veneers require your own teeth to be filed and prepared. Although application of veneers requires only approx. 0.5 mm of the tooth enamel to be filed down, you can experience bonding sensitivity for a few hours or even days after the procedure. Bonding sensitivity is a reaction between your filed teeth and the bonding cement. Your gums will be also sore, because they need to reform around the new teeth.
- Like fake boobs, even though porcelain veneers can last 15 – 20 years, after that time they will need to be replaced.
- You need to look after them like after your natural teeth. This means brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist every 6 months for a check-up.