How Do Veneers Work? A Quick Guide To Porcelain Veneers

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If you’re looking for dramatic results and a fast and effective way to transform your smile due to discolouration, cracks or chips, then dental veneers could be just right for you. Veneers are designed to enhance the appearance of healthy teeth to give you a smile to be proud of.

So how do veneers work?

They are thin covers or shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth to improve their appearance.

They can be used to transform an entire smile or individual teeth depending on your smile goals. As dental veneers are designed to fit over the front of the teeth, the bulk of the tooth structure remains intact, so they can be regarded as a minimally invasive treatment. The amount of tooth enamel that needs to be removed varies according to your teeth and the structure of your mouth and this will be determined during an initial consultation.

Types of dental veneers

It helps to be aware of the different types of dental veneers before you and your cosmetic dentist in Sydney decide what is the best option for you.

The most popular and common type of veneer is porcelain. These utilise a material similar to glass often referred to as ‘ceramic’. Typically, porcelain veneers are the most durable and natural-looking because they contain similar light-reflecting properties to tooth enamel that make natural teeth sparkle.

Another material commonly used as an alternative to porcelain dental veneers is composite resin. This is coloured to match your existing tooth colour for a seamless finish. The resin is applied directly to the tooth surface and moulded and shaped to achieve the desired effect.

Choosing the right type of dental veneer can be a bit of a puzzle, but understanding the different options will help you make an informed decision for your perfect smile! Here’s a rundown of the most common veneer types:

1. Porcelain Veneers:

  • The gold standard for natural-looking and durable veneers.
  • Made from thin, strong porcelain shells customized to match your teeth.
  • Highly resistant to stains and chipping, with minimal tooth preparation needed.
  • Generally the most expensive option.

2. Composite Veneers:

  • A more affordable alternative to porcelain veneers.
  • Made from a resin material directly applied to your teeth in a single appointment.
  • Less durable than porcelain and more prone to staining, often requiring touch-ups.
  • Can be a good choice for minor corrections or temporary veneers.

3. Lumineers:

  • A brand of ultra-thin porcelain veneers known for their minimal tooth preparation.
  • Often require little to no anesthesia and can be reversible.
  • Less durable than traditional porcelain veneers and may not be suitable for major corrections.

4. Palatal Veneers:

  • Placed on the back of your front teeth to address cosmetic concerns like internal staining or gaps.
  • Less visible than traditional veneers and often used for specific issues.
  • May require more specialized care and monitoring.

5. Zirconia Veneers:

  • Made from a strong, biocompatible material like zirconium dioxide.
  • Highly resistant to wear and tear, even more than porcelain veneers.
  • A good choice for patients with bruxism (teeth grinding) or severe dental issues.
  • Can be more expensive than porcelain veneers.

What problems can dental veneers address?

What problems can they correct or cover? How do they work to change the appearance of your smile?

It’s a common misconception that porcelain materials are used solely for cosmetic purposes and you may be surprised to learn that they can target several dental issues. Sometimes the improved aesthetic is a bonus.

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Issues that they commonly address include:

  • Gaps in between the teeth
  • Heavily stained teeth that do not respond to teeth whitening
  • Teeth that are worn down
  • Misaligned teeth or teeth that are uneven or irregularly shaped
  • Teeth that are broken or chipped

How do veneers work? – The procedure 

Getting porcelain veneers usually involves 3 trips to the dentist – one for an initial consultation and two to design and fit the veneers. A single tooth or several teeth can undergo the veneering procedure at the same time.

Diagnosis and treatment planning

The initial consultation is your opportunity to tell how the cosmetic dentist what you dislike about your smile and how you would like it to look. He or she will examine your teeth to ensure that porcelain ones are the right treatment for you, discuss the procedure, and explain its limitations.

1st appointment 

During this appointment, your teeth will be prepared. If you are getting porcelain veneers this usually means having a thin layer of enamel removed to ensure that they are the same thickness as your teeth and sit flush within the smile. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used to numb your mouth to ensure you are comfortable throughout this part of the dental veneers procedure.

This done, a digital scanner is used to create impressions of your mouth and teeth from which your custom porcelain veneers will be made in a dental lab. Temporary veneers will be placed to protect your prepared tooth or teeth while you wait for the permanent veneers to be created.

2nd appointment 

Once the porcelain ones are back from the dental lab, a second appointment is required to fit them. Your dentist will ‘dry’ try them on for size and fit making any necessary tweaks or adjustments.

Next, the teeth are cleaned and etched. This roughens the tooth surface to create a strong bonding process. A special dental cement is then applied to the veneer before it is placed onto the tooth. Once it’s correctly positioned, a high-density light is used to quickly harden the cement. Finally, your bite is checked and any last-minute adjustments made. And voilà, check out that glamorous smile!

So now we’ve answered the question how do veneers work?” let’s take a quick look at the benefits of them.

  • They provide a natural-looking smile
  • Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant
  • They can make a tooth darkened following a root canal appear whiter
  • Gums tolerate veneers well
  • They are not such an invasive treatment as dental crowns yet are equally as strong and attractive

The main downside of porcelain veneers is that, unlike composite bonding, the process cannot be reversed. They also cost more than composite bonding.

If you’re unhappy with how your smile looks why not come and talk to our experienced team about veneers and whether they’re right for you. We’re happy to answer any further questions about how veneers work.

Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner