Dental veneers

Veneers are used to enhance, improve or change the appearance of your teeth. Veneers cover only the single, outside portion of the tooth; the part which shows when you smile or talk. Veneers are prepared and placed on the teeth in a similar way that an acrylic nail is adhered to a natural nail. Veneers are generally made from 2 types of materials; porcelain and composite resin.

Porcelain and resin veneers are placed in order to correct slight or severe defects in tooth alignment, shape, or colour. They are also placed when teeth have been moderately restored and been weakened. This is done when there is still enough enamel left for the bonding to be successful. If the teeth are in very poor alignment or there is insufficient enamel remaining, bonding to improve the appearance is not possible. At that point orthodontics or full-coverage crowns must be considered.

The most common use for bonding veneers, either porcelain or resin, is to improve the cosmetic appearance of the smile.

Without question, porcelain veneers look the best and last the longest. They are advised when the teeth are in fair to good alignment or when a more pleasing tooth colour is desired. They are not usually placed in a patient under 16 years of age.

The veneers procedure

The procedure usually requires some slight to moderate tooth preparation (drilling) to achieve the best possible contour and natural appearance of the veneers. Local anaesthesia is administered if required. The procedure requires two separate appointments approximately 10 days apart to complete because the veneers are constructed in an offsite laboratory. Once bonded into place, the porcelain veneers become very strong and can last up to 12 or more years. Anything which could break your natural teeth can break the porcelain veneers; for example, hard lollies, corn on the cob and ice cubes.

Veneers are highly stain resistant. They are a good treatment choice when all the front teeth are being restored. While they are more expensive than resin veneers, they last longer and look better than resin. Porcelain biting surfaces can cause more rapid wear of opposing natural teeth. Porcelain veneers cannot be repaired easily if it’s damaged or if the gum shrinks away from the top edge.

Composite resin veneers are made of the tooth-coloured filling materials. They are placed by the dentist in one visit and require minimal tooth preparation (drilling). Local anaesthetic may be required. Resin veneers are used in similar situations to porcelain veneers however they last only half as long before requiring repair or replacement. They are advised for patients who are still growing and can look very good, but are not as good as porcelain. While repairs to the resin veneers are not too difficult, they have a tendency to chip more than porcelain veneers.

Basically, porcelain looks better, lasts longer, is stronger, more expensive, and requires two dental appointments to complete. Resin veneers are less expensive, easier to repair, and better for children. For both types of veneers (but especially porcelain veneers), we generally recommend the use of a nightguard. Nightguards are worn at night while sleeping to prevent excessive grinding forces from damaging the veneers and are also good got preventing excessive tooth wear from nocturnal tooth grinding. This is a separate cost to the veneers.

It is very important to come in for regular (6 monthly) check-ups and cleans if either type of veneer is placed. This way, we will be better able to quickly correct any problems that develop.

If you have any questions about porcelain and resin veneers, please feel free to ask us. Phone (07) 5576 4900


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