Veneers are thin shells made of tooth coloured materials (either from porcelain or tooth-coloured plastic filling materials) that are custom made and bonded to your teeth to improve their appearance (changing the colour, shape, size or length).
If there is damage such as cracks, chips or gaps, porcelain veneers are the perfect solution to cosmetically and structurally improving the teeth. Porcelain veneers are usually made in the lab and are more resistant to staining compared to veneers made of tooth coloured filling material.
Frequently asked question
How much time does it take from start to finish?
Porcelain veneers can be completed in two visits spaced one to two weeks apart. The first visit includes a lengthy consultation where the dental plan is formed based on what the patient wants to achieve. Then the teeth are shaped and prepared for the veneers. An impression is taken of the teeth and temporary veneers are placed.
During the second visit, the veneers prepared by the lab are permanently placed. Before they are bonded, patients have an opportunity to have further adjustments made to colour or shape as after they are bonded, they are permanently affixed.
What kind of anaesthetic is used?
Most patients are comfortable having the usual local anaesthetic commonly used for dental procedures. During the shaping and preparation procedures approximately 0.5 mm of the surface of the teeth is removed. Depending on the amount of preparation work that will be done, an anaesthetic may not be needed at all.
Is the process reversible?
Because a very thin layer of tooth enamel must be removed to accommodate the thickness of the veneer, the process isn’t considered reversible.
How do I take care of my teeth after veneers are placed?
Once veneers are permanently bonded to the teeth they are essentially your teeth, only stronger! Normal hygiene practices of brushing and flossing and regular visits for cleaning are essential to maintain dental health.
Will having veneers make my teeth more prone to cavities?
No. The veneer makes the teeth more impervious to decay since the veneer is bonded to the natural tooth. There is no greater incidence of decay. However, teeth must be cared for to avoid cavities forming in the non-bonded natural teeth.
Will my teeth be sensitive to hot and cold?
There will likely be some sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages for a short time due to having a thin layer of enamel removed. This should disappear in a few days. Avoiding hot and cold foods is recommended for the first few days to allow the veneers to settle.
Can only the top or bottom of the teeth be treated with veneers?
The goal of the finished product is to ensure everything in the mouth matches, whether a full set of veneers is placed or just a few teeth are treated. Patients are advised to have the untreated teeth whitened before placement of the veneers to ensure uniformity of colour.
How strong are veneers? Are there restrictions on what I can eat?
Porcelain veneers are very strong. However porcelain is a glass and can crack if very strong forces are applied. It is advised to avoid chewing ice, hard nuts, candy apples, popcorn kernels as well as avoiding using the teeth to open packages, etc.
The natural teeth are often damaged by these same foods and practices and while porcelain veneers are very strong, they aren’t invincible.
I grind my teeth at night. Will this damage my porcelain veneers?
Yes this will eventually damage your veneers just as this behaviour will grind down natural teeth. In such situations, we at Zen Orthodontic & Dental Care will provide you with a protective bite guard to wear at night to reduce the stress on your teeth while you sleep.
How long will porcelain veneers last?
Porcelain veneers last a long time. Most patients get ten to twenty years use from their veneers before they need to be replaced. The aging is derived from the natural teeth as gums recede and teeth become brittle. If a veneer comes off, we at Zen Orthodontic & Dental Care can re-bond it to the tooth or replace it if it has been damaged.
*Note: Do not try to re-bond the veneer yourself. If you are away from home, your best option is to find a qualified dentist who is specialised in Veneers, who can properly re-bond your veneer.
Do veneers stain?
No, they should never stain. If you have natural teeth without veneers you will need to maintain regular dental cleanings and take measures to avoid staining if drinking red wine, coffee etc.