Although veneers can be considered a cosmetic treatment, they are still a highly skilled dental procedure and need careful consideration before you go ahead. Veneers are created from a thin layer of material (usually porcelain) that is bonded permanently to the tooth to hide the appearance of the original tooth.
Getting veneers is a lifetime commitment, so it is important to know how they work before you proceed with treatment.
Firstly, you need a dentist that you feel comfortable with and that understands your expectations from the treatment. Our partner clinics are all highly skilled in cosmetic dentistry and will be happy to discuss your needs with you at your consultation. It is worth asking to see a portfolio of their previous work when you’re discussing your treatment as an extra layer of reassurance.
Are veneers an option for me?
Anyone can have veneers, especially if you are not happy with the cosmetic appearance of your teeth. They are good for discoloured or chipped teeth, or if teeth are slightly crooked and you don’t want braces. Everyone’s teeth are different, so your dentist will design your veneers based on what will work best for you. Your orthodontist will give you plenty of advice, but you can trial your new perfect smile by seeing a digital 3D representation of what your new teeth could look like. Also, you can veneer individual teeth. If you have just one discoloured or chipped tooth, then it’s possible have a single veneer fitted.
What happens next?
Both you and your orthodontist will decide on the colour of your new smile. Your natural teeth are always slightly yellow, so bear this in mind if you want to keep a natural look after having your veneers.
You will then have an impression taken of your teeth before they are filed down. A temporary veneer will be fitted to help you to decide whether you want to proceed with the current look or make any changes.
A layer of enamel less than the width of your fingernail will be gently filed away from each tooth that is to have a veneer. Sometimes, you will need a little more taken away if there is significant crowding or overlapping of your teeth. You are unlikely to need any local anaesthetic for this stage as there are no nerves in enamel.
Local anaesthesia may be required, however, for the actual bonding stage. It can be a lengthy process and depending on how many teeth you are having covered; you could be in the dentist’s chair for several hours. Dental cement will fix the veneer to each tooth; this effectively bonds with your tooth, and is cured with an UV light to secure it in place. You may initially experience some sensitivity, but this should be remedied by over the counter pain killers and wear off in time. Your dentist can make small changes at follow-up appointments to help with any lingering discomfort with your new bite.
Your gums may also be sore. Again, over the counter painkillers will help with any discomfort. Any remaining tenderness should disappear in a month or less, depending on other factors such as grinding (bruxism) or clenching your teeth.
Your veneers will need to be looked after. You should brush and floss just as you do for normal teeth and keep up with frequent dental appointments to look after your oral health. With proper care, your veneers should last for up to 15 years before they need replacement.