Dental Veneers – Your Ticket to a Hollywood Smile

In recent years, dental veneers have become popular thanks to their gleaming, beautiful appearance and the ease with which they are applied. Cosmetic dentists regularly perform this procedure as more and more patients are discovering that a bright, beautiful smile is within their reach.

Dental veneers had a bad reputation several years ago, as they appeared unnatural and were often too long or bright to match natural teeth. As cosmetic dentistry has evolved and improved, so too have dental veneers. Now constructed of a translucent ceramic material, they are bright and natural and can be shaped to fit well with natural teeth.

Who Can Use Veneers?

Veneers are used to cover teeth that are worn, cracked, dulled or uneven beyond repair. They are not appropriate in all situations, because the preparation for bonding the veneer to the natural tooth damages it permanently. Therefore, it is not recommended for those who could whiten their teeth, undergo orthodontic alignment procedures, or have cracks filled with composite white resin filling and achieve desirable results.

Veneers cannot be used on teeth that are badly broken or damaged because there must be a good bond between the tooth and the veneer. Therefore, crowns are better for badly damaged teeth.

Veneer placement is best for those with:

  • Enamel worn beyond repair – The hard enamel tooth coating can be damaged by dietary habits, genetics and medications. If the damage or discolouration is so substantial that laser whitening will not restore the tooth to its natural beauty, veneers are a good option.
  • Uneven or unaligned teeth – Uneven teeth are a cause of embarrassment and low self-esteem for some. Braces can be used to align teeth, but are not suitable in all situations. Your cosmetic dentist will determine whether orthodontic alignment or veneers are a better choice for you.
  • Chipped teeth – Chipped or deeply cracked teeth respond well to veneers. The veneer can actually prevent further damage by protecting the tooth with it’s hard coating.
  • Spreading teeth – As we age, genetics cause the spacing between our teeth to grow further apart. This can cause embarrassing gaps between the teeth. Since the veneer is placed over the natural tooth, it is often a good option and negates the need for more invasive techniques such as implants.
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Veneers Solve Many Cosmetic Issues

Whether your problem is spacing, chipped teeth or discolouration (or a combination of several factors), veneers quickly and easily disguise the unsightly damaged teeth. Because they can be shaped and coloured to match your existing teeth, they are natural looking and attractive.

Depending on your budget and your cosmetic dentist’s recommendation, you have two choices: porcelain or composite resin veneers. Composite veneers can be fabricated inside your mouth at the dentist’s office and typically last 5 to 7 years. Porcelain veneers are more expensive but last from 10 to 15 years. They are fabricated by a dental technician after the cosmetic dentist has prepared your natural teeth and taken an impression or mold for the technician to work from.

How Do I Get Dental Veneers?

Search the listings for a cosmetic dentist, or ask friends and relatives for referrals. Always ask your dentist for references or view samples of their work. Ensure that they guarantee the procedure – a reputable cosmetic dentist will not promise to do work they cannot guarantee and will fix any mistakes they make.

Once you have found a cosmetic dentist experienced in the application of veneers, you will have a consultation to determine if they are a good solution for your oral problems. Ask questions to ensure that you understand the procedure and the type of results you can expect.

At the preparation appointment, the cosmetic dentist will shave a fine layer, about 0.5mm thick, from your natural tooth enamel. This gives the veneer a good surface for bonding. Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and may fit temporary veneers until the permanent ones are ready. This can take anywhere from one to two weeks.

Once the custom-made veneers are ready, they are bonded to the teeth using a special type of glue. Because they are so thin and were designed specifically for your mouth, there is typically very little reshaping required. The results are instant; after the fitting appointment, your new, natural looking smile is finished!

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Keep Your Veneers Gleaming

The life of your veneers depends greatly on how well you take care of your teeth and gums. Drinking coffee, smoking and playing contact sports can all damage your veneers and reduce their life.

Brush your teeth for two minutes, three times per day and floss regularly. See your dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning. If you drink coffee, tea or soda, use a straw to prevent staining your beautiful (and expensive!) veneers. Avoid extremely hard foods such as candy to prevent chipping.

When playing sports, use a mouth-guard to prevent chipping or breakage. If you notice any damage or cracking, visit your cosmetic dentist immediately to see if the veneer can be repaired or replaced.

Veneers – Getting Your Money’s Worth

Dental veneers cost anywhere from £200 to £1200 per tooth, depending on the material from which they are constructed and the dentist applying them. If this seems steep, consider using veneers in combination with other treatments. For example, you may be able to use laser whitening to brighten many of your teeth, leaving you requiring only one or two veneers for badly stained teeth. Or you might find that dental implants are a more sensible option if you are young and will have to pay to have your veneers replaced several times throughout your life.

Consult with your cosmetic dentist to formulate a teeth whitening, implant and veneer treatment plan that best suits your needs, budget and lifestyle. Many cosmetic dentists now offer financing and payment plans to accommodate patients with needs greater than their budgets allow. Considering the embarrassment and poor self-esteem that accompanies many people’s oral health problems, cosmetic dentistry is a worthwhile investment!

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by James A. Wagner