Veneers are coverings that are placed on the front surfaces of (usually) the front teeth. They can be very effective in creating a lighter, straighter, and more beautiful smile. They are made of either porcelain or tooth coloured filling material (composite resin).
Veneers may be used to treat:
- Discoloured teeth
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Worn-down teeth, usually a result of grinding when asleep
- Misaligned teeth
- Teeth with poor shape e.g. ‘peg’ lateral incisor
- Teeth with gaps between them
The teeth on the photo below were severely worn and damaged by night-time tooth-grinding (bruxism). Veneers have restored her beautiful smile!
In most cases, porcelain veneers require some reduction of the front surface of the tooth (approximately half a millimetre). Although the veneers are very thin porcelain, once they are bonded to the teeth they are extremely strong. They will withstand the normal forces of day-to-day eating, but a little extra care should be taken to avoid overloading them by activities such as undoing knots with your teeth, chewing pens, etc. (these should be avoided even with your natural teeth). For patients who grind their teeth, we often provide a splint to be worn when sleeping, to protect the veneers from the excessive forces that can be generated.
There can be circumstances where it is not necessary to do any reduction of the teeth, usually when the veneers are made out of composite resin.
Traditionally, impressions are taken and sent to the laboratory. The technician makes the veneers according to our prescription. Photography is a great aid in our communication with the laboratory. Approximately two weeks later, the porcelain veneers are bonded to the teeth.
With CAD-CAM technology (Cerec) we are now often able to provide the veneers in a single visit. No impressions, temporaries or second visits to bond the veneers. This might not be possible for all veneer cases.