Porcelain and composite veneers provide an excellent cosmetic option to correcting a vast array of conditions. However, as an irreversible process it requires much investigation and research as well as finding a dentist you can discuss treatment with and trust.
If you are unhappy with the colour, shape or size of your teeth and looking to do something about it, one of the most cosmetic ways to improve your smile is by investing in dental veneers.
Dental veneers are thin, hand-crafted shell-like covers that are applied to the front surface of the teeth, to improve the cosmetic appearance of your smile. Veneers are usually made of either porcelain or composite fillings like materials, and can help give you a more uniform set of white, healthy-looking teeth, and disguise common problems such as uneven or discoloured teeth, broken or worn teeth, or a crooked smile.
If you've ever wondered if dental veneers are the right choice for you, or want to find out a little bit more about the process as well as how much veneers cost, this guide will shed light on everything you need to know about dental veneers.
Veneers are thin but strong shell-like covers that are applied to the front of the teeth to improve the appearance of your smile.
Once the surface of your natural teeth have been prepared either mechanically, chemically or both the veneer is applied to the surface of the teeth with a layer of adhesive cement. Veneers can be used on as few or as many teeth as you wish, from just one or two individual teeth, to both the whole top and bottom rows.
Dental veneers are handcrafted in a dental laboratory or in surgery to fit perfectly, and are designed to produce a bright, natural looking smile.
Dental veneers are made of hard, strong but aesthetic materials that are designed to be able to withstand the rigours of daily life including eating and drinking, whilst still being very thin and feeling natural in your mouth. Dental veneers can be made of various different materials, and your dentist will be able to talk you through the options and help you to make the best choice for your own situation.
Porcelain veneers are very popular, and a range of well-known brands such as Lumineers are widely offered by dentists across the UK. Other options include veneers made from composite materials like resin filling, which tend to be less costly than porcelain veneers, and even gold, for those who are looking for their veneered teeth to make a statement!
Dental veneers are designed to make your smile look better, covering a wide range of common problems that many adults have with their teeth.
Some of the most common applications for dental veneers include:
Dental veneers are classed as a cosmetic procedure, and they are not available on the NHS. This means that your first step will be to find a private dentist who offers veneers, and schedule a consultation.
Arranging a first consultation will give you the chance to discuss your concerns and allow the dentist to examine your teeth, and help you to determine how to proceed. Dental veneers have a lot of advantages over more invasive methods of correcting and improving your smile-but they are not suitable for everyone, so your dentist should be able to suggest alternative approaches if veneer treatment is not right for you.
If you are a suitable candidate for veneers, during your first consultation, your dentist will help you to determine which teeth will need veneers, and talk you through the options on materials and colours. They may use computer aided design or similar techniques to help to demonstrate how your smile can be improved and how it will look when it is finished, so that you can get a good idea of what the end result will be before you proceed.
When you are ready to go ahead, you will be scheduled with your first of the two appointments needed to fit your veneers. During your first appointment, your natural teeth will be prepared to receive the veneers, which involves removing a tiny amount of the outer surface of the tooth enamel (1mm or even less-the same thickness as the finished veneer) to allow the veneers to fit smoothly, improve adhesion, and avoid the veneers protruding or feeling odd once they are fitted.
You may be offered a local anaesthetic for this in order to ensure that you don’t suffer from discomfort, but in many cases, this is unnecessary as the procedure should not hurt. After the teeth have been prepared, your dentist will take moulds of the inside of your mouth, which will be used by a dental laboratory or technician to make your veneers to fit your teeth perfectly.
This means that you will have to wait a week or two until your veneers are ready to be fitted-but your natural teeth will not look any different in the meantime, although they may feel a little rough, and so you will not need temporary covers to maintain the normal appearance of your teeth while you wait.
However, some dentists do offer the option of choosing temporary veneers while you wait for your permanent set to be prepared, allowing you to leave with a new smile the same day. This is a good opportunity to get used to the look, size and feel of your soon to be permanent new veneers before your fit.
When your veneers are ready, you will attend your second appointment to have them fitted and secured, after which you will be all done and ready to go!
During the second appointment, your dentist will ensure that the veneers are a perfect fit and that you are totally happy with how they look and feel before permanently applying them to your teeth. Your dentist can also make minor alterations to the veneers at this point, such as trimming them down to ensure a perfect and comfortable fit.
When you are happy with the veneers, your dentist will clean and polish your teeth, finely etching the front surface to ensure that the adhesive used forms a strong, secure bond. Specialist dental cement is then applied to the back surface of the veneer, which is then placed on the tooth and positioned carefully to ensure the correct fit. The adhesive is cured using a special light to harden it off quickly.
After your veneers are secured in place, your dentist will make any final adjustments needed, such as removing excess cement, and checking that your bite is comfortable and normal. At this stage your dentist may want to take impresions in order to create simple retainers or a mouth guard in order to protect your veneers from clenching and grinding at night. It is advisable you wear your device as often as possible to bed in order to protect your veneers long term.
Most dentists will also ask for you to attend another check-up a couple of weeks later, to ensure that you are happy and to make sure that the veneers are not irritating your gums or causing any other problems.
Image: Example of a dental veneer on the front teeth
Dental veneers are a great choice for people looking to improve various problems with their teeth and smile in a minimally invasive way. However, as is the case with any form of dental or cosmetic procedure, there are some disadvantages that you should consider too; so, make sure that you weigh up the pros and cons before making a final decision.
Here are the main advantages of dental veneers:
Dental veneers are not the only option available to you if you wish to improve your smile, so it is important to consider potential alternatives before going ahead.
If you have missing teeth, a dental bridge is an alternative option, providing a false tooth or teeth fitted to the adjoining healthy teeth, to cover the gap and allow you to eat normally. For teeth than are broken or worn down, a dental crown is another option that you might consider if the tooth or teeth have healthy roots, and a crown is designed to fit over the remaining part of the tooth in order to restore it.
Dental implants are one of the most invasive but comprehensive alternatives to correcting and replacing missing teeth, which you may wish to consider instead of veneers. Implants are made by drilling into the jawbone to insert a post, onto which a replacement tooth or teeth are attached to provide a permanent and extremely hardwearing solution.
Your dentist will be able to talk you through all of the different options available to you and their pros and cons, and help you to determine the most appropriate approach for your own situation.
After your permanent veneers have been fitted, your dentist may ask you to book a follow-up appointment within a couple of weeks, to check that your veneers are working out and that you are happy with them. You should of course also schedule regular dental check-ups every six months, to keep both your veneers and natural teeth healthy and in good condition, and to avoid problems down the line.
It is also vital to take good care of your veneers and thoroughly clean your teeth twice a day, as well as checking them over for signs of problems. While veneers are very hardwearing, they are also very thin, and so you should avoid biting down on hard foods with your veneer teeth, as this may crack or chip them. If you tend to clench or grind your teeth, this can damage your veneers and shorten their lifespan, and so you should take steps to avoid doing this and/or protect your veneers.
How long your veneers will last for will depend to a great degree on how well you care for them, how hard you are on your teeth, and the material your veneers are made from. Porcelain veneers like Lumineers have the longest average lifespan, with some patients retaining their original veneers past the twenty-year mark.
It is considered to be very uncommon for porcelain veneers to last for less than ten years, and they usually last much longer. However, composite resin veneers tend to require replacement much sooner-after around five to seven years on average.
The cost of veneer teeth depends on a wide range of variables, including how many veneers you need, what material they are made of, and the dentist that you choose. Composite resin veneers tend to be less costly than porcelain veneers like Lumineers, but they are also less hardwearing, and so can prove to be more expensive in the long run.
In the UK, composite veneers can range in price from around £150-£400 per tooth, and for porcelain veneers, the cost may be as high as £500-£1,000 per tooth. However, these prices can vary considerably, and this information is only intended as a general guide.
Your dentist should be able to give you a firm figure for the total cost of your treatment before you commit to going forwards. Many dentists also offer payment plans and finance services too, to help you to spread the cost of your treatment.
Overall, porcelain or even composite veneers provide an excellent cosmetic option to correcting a vast array of conditions. As an irreversible process it requires much investigation and research as well as finding a dentist you can discuss treatment with and trust. Using the search engine you can narrow down the providers to the practitioner who best suits you in order to have your veneer consultation. Take into consideration the health of your teeth and gums as well before making a decision and be sure to have a stable dentition prior to going ahead with treatment.
If you are looking for a dentist that specialises in dental veneers in your local area to help you achieve the perfect smile, look no further. Smileo has over 2,000 private dentists in the UK, all performing a range of dental treatments such as veneers, dental fillings, teeth bonding, dental implants, and dental crowns, teeth whitening or laser gum contouring.
Smileo registered practitioners also specialise in teeth straightening treatments including metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, removable braces such as Invisalign as well as a range of other braces and aligners inlcuding 6 Month Smiles, Inman Aligners or Damon braces. To find a dentist near you, simply enter your preferred location in the search bar below and refine your search results to find the dentist and treatment that best suits your needs.
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