A Guide to Dental Veneers

Now and again, we’ve all smiled into the mirror and thought that our teeth just aren’t what they could be. Maybe they’ve become stained. Maybe you’ve chipped one or two. Or perhaps they are slightly crooked or you’ve got some big gaps. But what can you do about it?

If your teeth are stained, then you could try whitening. However, whitening does not always produce the results that people want or hope for. Maybe if you have crooked teeth, you can look into the possibility of orthodontic work. But using orthodontics to straighten your teeth can be a long process and, of course, not everyone is comfortable wearing braces unless they really, really need to.

So what you need is an option that can make a visible difference to your teeth without being too much of a major treatment – and this is the point where many people opt for dental veneers.

Veneers are a purely cosmetic treatment that, pure and simply, gives you a better smile. Veneers are often favoured by Hollywood celebrities as they can create the impression of perfect teeth – without the laborious process of wearing a brace for a long period of time. So when you get snapped unexpectedly by lurking paparazzi, you know that your smile will always look great in the magazines the next day.

Veneers do not address the underlying problems with your teeth, they simply cover them. Therefore, they are not right for everyone. If you are seriously thinking about improving your smile, your first step must be a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to examine your teeth and give you a professional opinion on what the best (and most cost-effective) treatment might be. Your priority should always be looking after your natural teeth and ensuring that they remain healthy for the long term.

However, if the issue with your smile is primarily aesthetic, your dentist may agree that veneers are a good option. Normally, veneers will take two visits to the dentist to be fitted. On the first visit, your dentist will prepare your teeth using a ‘burr’, which roughens the surface of the teeth so that the veneers can adhere to them. During this visit, your dentist will also take a moulding of your teeth which is then sent to a laboratory, where the veneers are prepared to an exacting standard.

Your second appointment will normally be arranged for two to four weeks time. By this time, your veneers will have been prepared by the laboratory so your dentist can cement them in place. However, they will only be cemented in once you and your dentist are entirely happy with how they look and fit.

There are new developments in the area of dental veneers all the time. Dentists and patients now have a number of brand, products and materials to choose from, depending on their requirements and their budget.

Porcelain is one of the most widely used materials for veneers, as it is easily shaped and it is very durable. Porcelain veneers will often last up to ten years. Veneers can also be made from composite materials, which are a cheaper alternative. Composite veneers may only last two years.

Advances in technology means that there are now some veneers, under the brand name Cerec, that can literally be produced while you wait. Therefore, you will only require one trip to the dentist. Other brand name and materials have different characteristics and properties, so it is important to ask your dentist what they are recommending. Good quality materials are important, yet at the same time, we don’t all have a Hollywood celebrity’s budget!

If you want your veneers to last as long as possible, then you need to make sure that you look after. Your dentist will be able to give you advice on caring for them. The most important thing to remember is that your teeth only look better. In reality, it’s still your natural teeth underneath those veneers and they are still as likely to be attracting bacteria and plaque as they used to be. Cleaning your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist for check-ups are still important.