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Veneers are restorations added to the front surface of the tooth in order to correct discolouration, minor misalignment, chips or cracks. Veneers are also used to reduce gaps between teeth and build up worn teeth to restore a natural-looking smile.
There are two types of veneers – porcelain and composite resin.
Porcelain veneers look a little like fake fingernails and are designed to be bonded to the front of the tooth. Each veneer is custom-made to a particular tooth and they look and feel very natural. Similar to most restorative dental procedures, impressions of your teeth are taken before, during, and in some cases after the final placement of the veneers.
The impressions were taken before your veneer appointment are used to make a stone replica of your teeth. This stone cast may be sent to the dental laboratory to assist the lab tech when fabricating the final veneers, or to create a wax-up — a replica of what the final veneers will look like.
The wax-up may be used to create a temporary set of veneers that you'll wear during the time when your permanent veneers are being made.
The dentist prepares the tooth, which may require some buffing of the enamel surface, to allow for the thickness of the veneer to sit flush on the tooth’s surface.
Veneers require very little removal of the enamel surface of the tooth. The prep work required will generally depend on the type of veneer used, position of the teeth, or your dentist's preferred method of preparing the tooth. Occasionally, a local anaesthetic is used during this part of the process.
Impressions of the prepared teeth are taken inside your mouth using a very precise impression material that starts out as a thick paste. The impression material is filled into a tray and placed on the teeth. The dental assistant will likely hold the impression tray in your mouth until the material sets, usually after three to five minutes.
An impression of how your teeth bite together is also taken. Impression material is applied to the biting surface of the bottom and top teeth. You will be asked to bite down into the material for one to two minutes until the material is set, depending on the brand used. If the dentist is satisfied with all of the impressions, they then are delivered to the dental laboratory.
Temporary veneers are placed over the prepared teeth. The temporary veneers will help protect the teeth from sensitivity, but keep in mind they are just as their name indicates: temporary. You should avoid the following with your temporary veneers:
- Biting into or chewing hard and food
- Gum and sticky candy should be avoided
- Using the prepared teeth to open or tear non-food items
- Biting your nails
- Food or beverage that contains deep pigments that will stain the acrylic
The veneers will return after seven to 10 business days. They will be placed on your teeth without any cement so the dentist can inspect them for any obvious flaws. Your final approval will give the go-ahead for the dentist to permanently cement the veneer to the tooth's surface with a dental resin.
If you had a local anaesthetic for the first appointment, it may be necessary for this appointment as the teeth need to be cleaned with water and prepared with a solution called acid etch that microscopically roughens the surface of the tooth. This is necessary to achieve the best adhesion of cement to your teeth.
As mentioned, your teeth will be prone to sensitivity and since the correct placement of the veneers is paramount, local anaesthesia may be a benefit to both you and the dentist.
The cement is placed on the back of the veneer and then placed onto your tooth. A bright light known as a curing light may be used to harden the cement. Any excess hardened cement is removed from the teeth.
The dentist will check how your teeth bite together to ensure you're not biting incorrectly onto the veneers. Small reductions of the opposing teeth may be necessary if the bite is not correct.
Composite resin veneers
Composite resin veneers are applied directly one layer at a time to slowly cover the existing tooth. Each layer is shaped and cured by your dentist until the final result is achieved.
Most people are suitable candidates for dental veneers but it must be remembered that it’s a cosmetic process, not an orthodontic solution. Veneers will not correct badly misaligned teeth, overbites or underbites.
Veneers also need healthy teeth on which to attach. Any decay or gum disease must be treated prior to the attachment of veneers. If you suffer from teeth grinding, called bruxism, then veneers are not a suitable option. Persistent teeth grinding can cause veneers to chip, break or even detach completely from the tooth.
Veneers can be the cosmetic solution for:
- gaps between teeth
- broken, chipped or cracked teeth
- badly stained or coloured teeth
- crooked or irregularly shaped teeth
- obvious, aesthetically-displeasing fillings.
An appointment with your dentist is required to check your suitability and to discuss treatment options.
Porcelain or composite resin?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of veneers.
Porcelain veneers are very durable and they look very life-like and natural and are resistant to staining. However, if they crack or chip, the whole veneer must be replaced.
Porcelain veneers also need to be manufactured off-site and can take a few weeks to complete. Composite resin veneers can be added to your existing teeth in one visit. Any chips or cracks to composite resin veneers can be repaired and are cheaper than porcelain veneers.
Veneers will last about 10 years and possibly much longer. It’s all about maintaining consistent and effective oral hygiene. A visit to the dentist for a check-up and clean must be scheduled at least twice a year. Most importantly, only use your teeth for eating food – don’t chew pens, crunch ice or rip open plastic bags with them!
Although veneers are designed to allow you to function normally, you may want to consider trying not to bite into hard food with your front teeth, or to use your teeth to open difficult items, because the veneers may chip or break.
Occasionally, you may have foods and beverages like red wine, tomato sauce, grape juice, and tea or coffee. But keep in mind that the porcelain material can pick up stain from deeper pigmented foods and beverages. And unlike our natural teeth, veneers cannot be whitened with tooth whitening gels.
Your dentist may recommend the use of a night guard while you're sleeping. This will protect your lower teeth from the effects of the porcelain grinding on the enamel. Even if you do not knowingly grind your teeth, porcelain is damaging to enamel during even slight grinding of the teeth.
While veneers are a dramatic improvement to a number of dental problems, it’s important to remember that they are not natural teeth. Small imperfections, discolourations and variations can happen to all veneers over time, but this is not something to obsess about. In fact, it’s these small faults that can make your veneers look even more natural and give you a life-like smile.
Sydney Dental Care Glebe offers a wide range of cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic services for patients all over Sydney. We have many patients that come from Sydney CBD, Pyrmont, Barangaroo, Inner West, North Sydney and Eastern Suburbs because since 2004, we’ve been giving them an excellent, healthy and beautiful smile.
Book a FREE appointment online with Dental Care Glebe near Sydney CBD today,
or call us on (02) 9566 2030 to discuss the best cosmetic dentistry treatment for you!
DENTAL CARE GLEBE AT 239 GLEBE POINT ROAD, GLEBE NSW 2037
5 minutes’ walk from the Broadway shops, easy parking and close to bus and train
HOURS OF OPERATION ARE:
MONDAY to FRIDAY 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
SATURDAY 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
TEL: (02) 9566 2030