Beautiful, wafer thin and incredibly lifelike, porcelain veneers are an excellent cosmetic dentistry option and take little time to organise. Here’s what’s involved in the procedure.
Some people can improve the cosmetic results of their smile by tooth whitening, a touch of bonding, white fillings or perhaps a new dental crown. But for others, porcelain veneers (a.k.a. dental veneers) may be a better option. Veneers can do several things at once – closing gaps, improving the colour and surface of your teeth, concealing chips, cracks or irregularities and improving alignment.
Today’s porcelain veneers are incredibly beautiful – and most importantly, stay looking beautiful and keeping their lustre for years to come. Veneers cost more than other cosmetic options, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone that was unhappy with their decision to have them.
First, you’ll have to book in for an initial consultation and have an in-depth discussion with your dentist regarding your dental history, health and what you’d like to achieve. Your dentist will then create a treatment plan based on your needs and objectives.
During your initial consultation, your dentist will take impressions of the teeth along with clinical photographs. A wax replica of your mouth can also be created, allowing you to visualise the outcome and approve the result before having the veneers applied.
During your second visit, the teeth to be veneered will be prepared. In most cases, your dentist will trim around 0.5mm of enamel from the surface of your teeth to allow the veneer to sit snugly against the tooth without protruding.
You may also receive temporary veneers to act as a provisional restoration while your final veneers are being prepared.
TRYING ON YOUR VENEERS AND BONDING
During your next visit, your temporary veneers will be removed, and you will try on your final veneers for fit and comfort. Occasionally, this may require several visits to perfect the fit, bite, shape, colour and contours of your final veneers.
Once you are completely happy with the appearance, fit and feel of your veneers, they will be permanently bonded to your teeth. Bonding is a painless procedure where etching gel is applied to the surface of the tooth. This is then rinsed off thoroughly before applying a bonding adhesive.
After the bonding process, your new smile will be complete.
How to care for your veneers
Now that you have your beautiful new porcelain veneers, it’s essential you take care of them. This involves adhering to regular oral hygiene protocols, much as you would with your normal teeth, such as brushing and flossing regularly and having regular professional dental cleans.
Your dentist will also instruct you on how to care for your veneers to keep them looking beautiful and in top condition for as long as possible.
Although dental veneers are very strong, it’s essential that you avoid anything that may chip them such as forcefully biting into extremely hard foods, biting your nails, chewing on pencils or ice, using your teeth to open bottle tops or grinding your teeth.
To keep your veneers well maintained and your teeth in optimal health, it’s important that you adhere to a regular oral hygiene regime. Your dentist will give you instructions on how to care for your veneers – and these should be followed carefully – if you want your veneers to look their best for as long as possible.
Porcelain veneers: more information
If you’re interested in porcelain veneers, your dentist will go through the pros and cons with you. In the meantime, you may find the following information useful.
Porcelain veneers are not reversible – Once you have had veneers, you will always need a veneer of some sort to cover your teeth, as a layer of enamel has been removed.
Veneers are not easily repairable – If you develop a tiny chip in your veneers, often your dentist may be able to perform a quick fix by repairing with composite resin. This will not be a long-term solution, or you may find you would need to replace the entire veneer for that particular tooth.
Teeth veneers can still become decayed – It’s essential you maintain good oral hygiene.
Veneers may stain a little over time – Although today’s veneers maintain their colour and are difficult to stain, they may stain a little over time. Therefore, where possible, try to eliminate excessive consumption of stain-forming foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, red wine – and of course – avoid smoking.
Veneers are not the best solution for everybody – Porcelain veneers are not a good choice for people with unhealthy or decaying teeth, gum disease, weakened teeth due to fractures, large fillings or decay or for those with an inadequate amount of enamel on the tooth surface.
Health insurance – if you have dental health insurance cover, you may receive some rebate. However, the amount may not be as high as you would like. Consequently, some people have their veneers placed, where possible, over two years. For example, some veneers would be placed in December (receiving full rebate for that calendar year), and the remaining veneers placed in the New Year (to receive the next year’s full rebate).