Porcelain veneers are worn by many people in order to improve the appearance of their teeth. They are an ideal way of hiding less than perfect teeth which have become chipped, crooked or misshapen due to an accident or injury.
They are a good choice if you have teeth which have become stained or discoloured over the years and want a nice white smile.
What are veneers?
Veneers or to use their other name – ‘laminates’ – are a thin shell like covering which resembles the shape of a natural tooth and is made from a range of materials.
These include ceramic, porcelain and composite bonding, but the most popular type of veneer is porcelain.
Another type of veneer is what is known as the ‘no-prep veneer’ which means little or no preparation. There are two types of this veneer: lumineers and thineers which are discussed separately.
Advantages of porcelain veneers
The main advantage of porcelain veneers is their longevity: porcelain veneers last longer than any other type of veneer which makes them very attractive for a number of reasons. All the veneers are tough and durable but porcelain veneers tend to last for that bit longer.
Other advantages include:
- Natural looking (similar to your natural teeth)
- Less likely to become stained or discoloured
- Maintain the natural structure of a tooth
- Straighten crooked teeth without the need for a brace
- Hide teeth which have become worn down due to teeth grinding.
- Cover a crack or chipped tooth
Plus porcelain veneers can last for up to 10 years which is another good reason to consider having one fitted.
Disadvantages of porcelain veneers
There are practically none: porcelain veneers remain fixed in place for several years and because of this, are very popular with a great many people.
There have been a few incidences where a veneer has become loose and slipped off the tooth but this tends to be rare.
How is a porcelain veneer fitted?
These veneers are attached to the affected teeth by means of special dental cement which helps to keep them in place.
A veneer can be fitted in a single session but this is the exception rather than the norm. The usual procedure is for them to be fitted in two stages.
The first stage involves the dentist checking the health of your teeth before administering a local anaesthetic. This will numb the area within your mouth to be treated.
The dentist will reshape the tooth which will be fitted with a veneer. He or she will then take an impression of your teeth which is used to make a mould, which acts as a cast for the production of your veneer/s. These will take a few weeks to prepare.
Stage 2 involves the actual fitting of the porcelain veneer: your dentist will clean the tooth (or teeth) before engraving the surface of the tooth with acid which helps to fix the veneer to the tooth.
The veneer is fixed into position with the cement before being given a final clean and polish.