Dental veneers are thin, tooth coloured shells that are custom made to fit over teeth to improve its colour, shape and size. In the hands of a skilled dentist, dental veneers can dramatically improve your appearance, confidence and oral health.
Common reasons for the placement of dental veneers are malformed, damaged, discoloured, or small teeth. In some cases, multiple dental veneers can be used to treat minor misalignment of the front teeth.
Choosing the right type of dental veneers to fit your lifestyle is important as dental veneers can be fabricated using different materials and methods.
Composite dental veneers are usually fabricated chairside by painting multiple layers of tooth-coloured resin material directly onto the surface of a tooth. This method allows the dentist a very high degree of control over the shade and translucency of the resin material being used in each layer of the veneer. Once layering is complete, the surface of the dental veneer is polished to achieve a natural lustre.
Composite resin material possess good shear resistance and does not fracture easily. This allows for a thinner construction and keeps enamel removal to a minimum. The procedure can be accomplished within a single visit and is more affordable compared to ceramic veneers. Another benefit of having composite dental veneers is that it is easier to remove, repair and replace when required.
Ceramic dental veneers are made by bonding a thin ceramic laminate onto the surface of a tooth. Traditionally, the ceramic laminates are made by layering fine porcelain paste and firing at high temperatures in a furnace, creating highly translucent laminates with a fine surface glaze. Porcelain material possess physical properties that is rather similar to glass, it is hard and yet a little brittle.
Over the years, different types of ceramic material have been successfully introduced to enhance its fracture resistance. Today, some types of dental ceramics are so tough that it can be precision milled from a block using CADCAM technology, such as the CEREC system to save patient visits.
Dental ceramics are very good at mimicking the way natural teeth plays with light, providing a high degree of depth and colour perception. The firing process creates an impervious and smooth surface glaze which makes it extremely stain and fracture resistant.
Ceramic dental veneers often require the support of a skilled dental laboratory technician and may require more than one visit to complete. The tooth enamel thickness is often reduced by up to 0.7mm in order to accommodate the ceramic laminate.
Will I benefit from dental veneer treatment?
Most people who embark on dental veneer treatment are interested in restoring function and aesthetics. Long term success can only be possible with proper assessment and planning at the start.
The ideal candidate should have…
- Good dental awareness and motivated to care for his/her teeth.
- Healthy oral tissues. All active decay and gum disease should have already been brought under control.
- Few or no missing teeth.
- Fairly aligned dentition.
- A stable bite.
- Teeth that still possess most of its enamel layer.
- Absence of grinding or clenching habits. People with such habits will need to wear a dental guard when they sleep if they decide to embark on veneer treatment.
How do I maintain my dental veneers?
Dental veneers are cared for in the same way as you would care for your natural teeth. Consistent good personal oral hygiene coupled with regular, professional preventive care with your dentist is vital. Like natural teeth, dental veneers can crack or chip when you abuse them. It is best not use them to crack the shell of a crab, open the cap of a bottle or chew on ice if you want them to last.
What are the alternatives to dental veneers?
People who are not comfortable with dental veneer treatment or have less than an ideal dentition which precludes the use of dental veneers can often be treated differently. For example, a person with minor spacing between their teeth can be successfully treated using dental braces or Invisalign. As these conditions may vary between patients, it is always best share your concerns with a trusted professional so that we can advise you better.