Porcelain Dental Veneers: 5 Common Questions
Are you self conscious about your smile? Years of drinking coffee, red wine or smoking can take their toll, leaving you with stained or discoloured teeth. Or maybe you’ve got chipped, crooked or gappy teeth that have needed fixing for a while? Here we explore the answers to 5 common questions, to help you decide if porcelain veneers are the right option for you.
1. What are veneers?
We often associate veneers with the idea of a ‘Hollywood smile’ but actually they’re one of the most common ways to treat stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth. Veneers are thin porcelain covers, custom made to fit over the front of your teeth. They’re carefully created to match the natural colour of your teeth and are strong and long lasting.
2. Are veneers a suitable option for me?
Most people with healthy gums and good oral hygiene can consider veneers. The first step is to talk to your dentist and discuss what you hope to achieve with your new smile, and together you can then decide if veneers will be right for you.
They could be a good solution if you have:
- a minor orthodontic problem – such as crooked teeth or gaps – and you want to avoid wearing braces
- stained or discoloured teeth and conventional whitening hasn’t worked
- chipped front teeth
- minor enamel erosion due to acid reflux or eating highly acidic foods
3. Are veneers permanent?
With good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, porcelain veneers can last a long time – around 10 years or more. After this it’s important to remember they may need to be replaced.
4. What is the procedure for getting veneers?
It’s a relatively simple process. Typically, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to get precise measurements and create a model of your teeth. Using digital imaging technology, they will also show you what your finished smile will look like. Your dentist can then help you decide which teeth need treating and how many veneers you will need.
When your veneers are ready (this usually takes around 2 weeks), you will be able to check that you are happy with the appearance of them before they are fitted – at this stage you can discuss any changes you might want with your dentist.
Once you are ready to have your veneers fitted, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from your natural teeth, before bonding the new veneers to your teeth.
Afterwards, you can go about your day pretty much as normal. If you have been given anaesthetic, it may take a little time for this to wear off, so you should eat and chew with caution.
5. What are some of the pros and cons of veneers?
Veneers are an excellent way to transform your smile, but it’s important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages before you get them, as obviously any replacement for your own natural teeth will rarely be as strong.
The most obvious benefit is, of course, that having a great smile can give you a huge boost in confidence. Other advantages are that very little of your tooth structure is lost and once fitted, porcelain veneers generally last for many years. The porcelain used to make them is also stain resistant – more so than your natural teeth - so you shouldn’t have to worry about discolouration or needing to have your teeth whitened.
One of the disadvantages for some is that veneers are permanent. Your dentist will need to slightly change the structure of your natural teeth to fix them, and you will have to make sure you replace your veneers once they show wear and tear. This can be costly and it’s a good idea to factor this in when you are making your decision. They can also get damaged – so it’s important to avoid habits such as biting your fingernails, or using your teeth to open packages.
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If you would like to find out more about veneers or any other cosmetic dental treatments, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.