Porcelain veneer fitting is without a doubt one of the most popular procedures performed in dentistry. In fact, according to Dental Helpline, one in seven (15%) queries on their websites related to this cosmetic procedure in 2019. So, what’s all the fuss about? Why are so many people looking into getting this procedure?
Firstly, let’s go over what exactly porcelain veneers are.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Generally speaking, veneers are extremely thin custom-made shells of tooth-coloured material designed to cover the front surface of your teeth. Porcelain veneers, as you can guess, are made up of 100% porcelain that is contoured to your teeth. Another common option for veneer material is composite resin – ultimately there are pros and cons to choosing either which can be discussed with your dentist.
Veneers are placed on the front surface of your teeth to help improve their appearance. They can help enhance tooth shape, colour, size or position. They are used to help fix broken teeth, camouflage teeth that are discoloured or unevenly coloured, help with tooth wear, fill spaces between teeth, or help teeth appear straighter and more even. They can also help resize smaller-than-average teeth or flatten pointed or unusually shaped teeth.
One of the greatest advantages of veneers is their durability and longevity, especially in the case of porcelain veneers – they are made to be fitted long-term, keeping your front teeth pearly and white for many years to come. There is often a misconception that veneers come off easily or break; however, this is not true if you go to the right place. Well-trained dentists ensure each veneer is cemented properly to keep the veneer intact and as strong as possible.
While teeth naturally come in all different shapes and sizes (and tones), some people can feel a little self-conscious having irregular teeth. Veneers can help people feel more confident in their appearance and make them smile more confidently. They can also address superficial damage to teeth.
Porcelain Veneers vs Crowns?
These are similar procedures, though tending to different portions of the tooth. Deciding on which to get depends on the condition of your teeth and the reasons for the procedure. As mentioned, veneers cover the front of your teeth – or what people see when you smile. If you’re primarily concerned about addressing the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, veneers are the way to go.
A crown, on the other hand, is slightly more involved. A crown covers the entirety of a tooth and therefore is a procedure that is recommended for the treatment of more pressing issues, like broken or decayed teeth, weak teeth, or badly stained or unusually shaped teeth. A crown can be placed on any tooth, unlike a veneer which is specifically tailored to the front teeth.
What is Involved in the Process of Getting Porcelain Veneers?
If you decide to get veneers, you will generally need three or four appointments for the entire process. The first appointment will be your consultation which involves planning with your dentist. You can discuss what result you’d like to achieve or what you’d like to correct, the price, the procedure, and any concerns you have. Your dentist will also collect some x-rays of your teeth to check they’re in a healthy condition for the procedure.
The next appointment typically involves the prep work for the veneers, including getting a digital scan of your teeth for modelling your final veneers and shaping your teeth to make space for the veneers. Something that concerns many is the idea of having their teeth ‘shaved down’. Typically only a small layer of enamel is removed to make space for the veneers. Sometimes this process doesn’t even involve local anesthetic as such a thin layer of the tooth is removed. Your dentist will gently buff the surface of your teeth so the veneer can fit comfortably within your mouth and sit on your teeth seamlessly.
As mentioned, a digital scan is taken during your second appointment – this is sent to the dental laboratory so they can fabricate your veneers from porcelain. Sometimes you may be asked to make a trip to the laboratory to ensure they pick the correct shade to match your teeth or enhance your smile. Your dentist may also place temporary veneers in the interim while your final veneers are being fabricated, as it can take 1-3 weeks for your veneers to be made.
The final appointment will involve your final veneers being cemented onto your teeth. This involves preparing your teeth by cleaning them as well as the veneers with a specialised solution. The veneers are then bonded to your teeth with a specialised cement, making any adjustments necessary to your bite to make it more comfortable. Once the cementing solution is dried, your veneers are complete. It may feel a bit odd at first having your veneers as you aren’t used to the new dimensions of your teeth, but this is something you will quickly get used to.
Usually, your dentist will recommend a follow-up appointment to ensure you aren’t having any issues, or to discuss any feedback and make sure your bite isn’t causing any discomfort. Any issues will be tended to with minor adjustments, and following this, you’re good to go and enjoy your new smile!
Am I a Suitable Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Most people’s teeth are suitable for this procedure, though it’s always a good idea to consult your dentist first to determine whether or not you are a good candidate. The only thing that may make you ineligible for the procedure is if your teeth are too fragile to support the veneers. As it’s a cosmetic solution, if you have foundational problems or need proper orthodontic work, this will need to be addressed first before veneers are fitted. For example, misaligned teeth, overcrowding, overbites and underbites will typically need to be sorted before veneers are placed down. Further, your teeth will need to be sufficiently healthy before you get veneers, any decay or disease will need to be eliminated before you consider this procedure.
Also, if you have bruxism – otherwise known as teeth grinding – you may not be suitable for this procedure. At Admire Dentistry, we offer treatments for bruxism such as occlusal splints (night guards) and muscle relaxant injections to reduce grinding and alleviate pain and tension.
The Pros And Alternatives
Porcelain veneers have many advantages. They provide a very natural appearance and last longer than composite veneers and fillings, and they don’t stain easily. There are, however, some disadvantages to the treatment, such as the cost which tends to be more expensive than composite resin. Further, the process is irreversible, so you need to ensure you’re certain you want to get this done. Lastly, they could be prone to fractures if not cared for properly or if you clench and grind your teeth, such as with bruxism.
Alternatives to porcelain veneers could include bleaching, orthodontics and braces, and composite veneers – depending on what you’re treating, your level of commitment, and budget. At Admire Dentistry, we can advise you about which treatment is better for your situation to ensure you’re happy with the final result. It is important to remember that porcelain veneers will not last forever and will need to be replaced at some point. While they are made to go the distance and can last upwards of a decade, you will need to redo them later in life.
Maintaining Your Porcelain Veneers
Just because your new veneers look healthy, doesn’t mean your actual teeth are – don’t let this distract you from proper oral hygiene. Because your real teeth play a very important role as the foundation for your veneers, it’s imperative that you look after them. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very involved and expensive experience maintaining your veneers.
Keep up your oral hygiene routine by brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing, and maintaining your regular dental check-ups with your dentist. It’s still very much possible for you to get cavities and decay, so maintain proper care for your teeth.
If you have any other questions about porcelain veneers, come and speak to Dr Alex Davies at Admire Dentistry to talk about your options. If you would like to schedule an appointment you can book online or call us on (07) 3064 1044.