What Are Dental Veneers?
A dental veneer is a thin layer of material, usually porcelain or resin composite, placed over a tooth. They can be thought of like fake nails for your teeth and can be used to dramatically change the look of your smile quickly and affordably. From restoring chipped teeth to their proper shape, to straightening and whitening, dental veneers are incredibly versatile tools.
Like many treatments, there’s a lot of variation when it comes to veneers. From the material they’re made out of, to the way they’re bonded to the teeth, veneers come in a range of shapes and styles.
Common Veneer Materials
Dental veneers are commonly made out of one of two materials: dental composite, or dental porcelain.
Dental composite, also known as composite resin, is a mix of plastic and ground glass. It has many applications in dentistry and is quick and affordable to apply. It can be easily coloured to match natural tooth colour, giving excellent aesthetic results. Composite is commonly used for veneers and to make tooth coloured fillings.
Dental porcelain is a popular material for sturdy, durable mouth restorations. It’s not only tough but has a very similar appearance to natural tooth enamel. It’s used for veneers, crowns, bridges, and even to make the fake teeth on a set of dentures.
Veneer Bonding Methods
Placing a veneer on a tooth is known as bonding. Like with veneer materials, there are two main options for bonding veneers: direct and indirect.
Direct bonding refers to creating the veneer directly on your tooth. Indirect bonding means the veneers are made in a lab first, then placed on the tooth.
Only composite veneers can be directly bonded to teeth. The composite resin is applied directly to the tooth as a paste which is then hardened with a special light. This process is repeated in several layers for the desired effect. With direct bonding, you can have veneers placed on your teeth in a single dental appointment.
Porcelain veneers can only be indirect-bonded, as they need to be made in a lab first. It’s also possible to make indirect bonding composite veneers, but this is less common.
What Problems Can Be Treated With Veneers?
Veneers are commonly used as a cosmetic treatment to enhance smiles and boost confidence.
Veneers can treat a wide range of issues, such as:
- Discoloured teeth. Veneers can be used as an alternative to teeth whitening, especially for patients who have very sensitive teeth.
- Worn down teeth.
- Chipped or broken teeth.
- Misaligned or awkwardly shaped teeth.
- Gaps between teeth, by reshaping the teeth either side of the gap to close the apparent distance.
What are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers give patients the following advantages:
Natural tooth appearance
This makes them ideal for cosmetic applications and prevents patients from feeling self-conscious about overly obvious dental work having been performed.
Porcelain and dental composite don’t create inflammation or irritation in the gum.
Porcelain is a stain-resistant material. Porcelain veneers will maintain your ideal tooth colour longer than your natural teeth.
Select your own colour
Porcelain and composite veneers can be coloured to suit your taste, so you can have the exact shade of teeth you want.
Maintain natural teeth
Veneers allow you to restore or reshape your teeth without drastically affecting the underlying natural tooth. Porcelain veneers require some level of enamel to be removed to make space, but composite veneers go directly on top of your natural teeth without alteration.
Disadvantages of Dental Veneers
There is really no disadvantage to getting veneers. The different materials have different properties, which we’ll outline below. Porcelain veneers may require shaving down of some tooth enamel, as mentioned above. This is very minor and doesn’t actually affect the tooth.
Do Veneers Require Special Care?
Veneers do not require any special care as long as you continue to follow good oral hygiene practices. This obviously includes brushing and flossing as you normally would. While porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may still recommend that you avoid stain causing foods and beverages (coffee, tea, red wine and etc.).
Composite Veneers Vs Porcelain Veneers
Composite and porcelain veneers have their strengths and weaknesses.
Pros of Composite Veneers:
- More affordable.
- Can be applied in a single dental appointment in-chair with your dentist, rather than requiring multiple trips.
Cons of Composite Veneers:
- Not as long-lasting as porcelain.
- Not as durable or strong as porcelain.
- Stain more easily than your natural teeth, so will become noticeable more quickly than porcelain veneers.
Pros of Porcelain Veneers:
- Stain resistant, so won’t lose their colour.
- More durable than composite veneers.
- Superior aesthetic quality, as porcelain is a very close match for tooth enamel.
- Last almost twice as long as composite veneers
Cons of Porcelain Veneers:
- More expensive than composite veneers.
- Cannot be directly bonded to teeth.
- Stain resistance means they can start to stand out by not discolouring at the same rate as your natural teeth!
Porcelain veneers are the more expensive option, but their quality and longevity can actually make them a more cost-effective solution in the long run. Composite veneers are more likely to chip, discolour, or break down, needing replacement more frequently.
Using composite resin veneers as temporary veneers is a common and popular choice amongst patients. While waiting for the full porcelain restorations to be made, patients can enjoy the look of their restored mouth using composite veneers. When the porcelain restorations are available, they can be swapped out.
Dental Veneers FAQ
Are dental veneers purely cosmetic?
Not entirely. Veneers can also be used in a restorative manner, fixing chipped and cracked teeth to prevent further damage.
If I get teeth whitening and veneers, which should I do first?
Always get teeth whitening done before anything is placed on teeth. Veneers don’t respond to teeth whitening, so if you whiten your teeth first you can set the veneer to that colour; if you get the veneer first and then whiten your teeth, your natural teeth will look brighter than your veneer.
Do veneers stain?
Porcelain veneers are stain resistant. They get glossed as part of the manufacturing process to remove any pores on the surface. Staining particles simply don’t have much to hold onto.
Composite, on the other hand, is a fairly porous material and will stain quite readily.
In either case, it’s always best to avoid staining foods and drinks, such as tea, coffee, and red wine if you want to maintain a white and healthy looking smile.
Who can’t get veneers?
Veneers are appropriate for patients of all ages with permanent teeth. Teeth that are too damaged to save won’t benefit from veneers, or any other treatment other than extraction and replacement.
Are veneers painful to get?
Not at all. There may be some discomfort if your teeth need to be shaved down for a porcelain veneer, but there should never be any pain associated with the process.
Which is better, composite or porcelain?
Porcelain is the superior option for aesthetics and durability but does come at a cost. Composite is an excellent choice for people who need a cost-effective treatment or who want a temporary solution while their porcelain veneers are made.
The next step is to find out more about our Dental Veneer Service by making an appointment with our dental team to assess and provide you with tailored advice. Please contact us directly on (07) 3841 6641 or email us at [email protected]