In the domain of dentistry, dental veneers are a layer of material placed over a tooth, either to improve its aesthetics, or protect the tooth’s surface from damage. They present a fast and cost-effective treatment to cover a wide variety of restorative and cosmetic needs.
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There’s a lot of variation in veneers. They can be made out of different materials, applied to the tooth differently, and serve slightly different functions.
Composite and Porcelain Veneers
There are two main types of materials used to manufacture a veneer: composite and dental porcelain.
Composite, also known as composite resin, is a mix of plastic and ground glass that has many applications in dentistry. It’s quick and affordable and provides good cosmetic results, fast. Composite is also used in some crown work and as an alternative to amalgam fillings.
Dental porcelain is a popular material for sturdy, long-lived mouth restorations which look like real teeth. It’s also used in crowns, bridges, and to form the teeth of dentures in many cases.
The act of attaching a veneer to the tooth is referred to as bonding. There are two types of bonding methods for veneers: direct, and indirect.
Direct bonding refers to creating the veneer directly to your tooth. Indirect bonding means the veneers is first fabricated in a lab before being cemented in place.
Only composite veneers can be directly bonded to teeth. The composite resin starts off as a paste that’s applied and dried in layers to your tooth. This allows you to have veneers placed on every tooth within a single appointment if so desired.
It’s also possible to make indirect composite veneers.
In contrast, porcelain veneers can only be created in a laboratory before being fused to the tooth.
Other types of Veneers
Additional, although less common, types of veneers also include full veneer crowns, as well as laminate veneers. While a full veneer crown is a restoration that covers all coronal tooth surfaces, and re-establishes the tooth’s functionality, a laminate veneer consists of a thin layer that covers only the tooth’s surface, and is generally used solely for aesthetic purposes.
What Types of Problems do Dental Veneers Fix?
Veneers are routinely used to fix both cosmetic and restorative concerns in patients. This makes them one of the more versatile treatments available in dentistry.
Problems that veneers are used for include:
- Teeth that are discoloured, either because of a root canal treatment, stains from tetracycline /or other drugs, excessive fluoride, the presence of large resin fillings, as well as a large range of other causes.
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven or irregularly shaped, such as having craters or bulges in them
- Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)
What are the Advantages of Dental Veneers?
Veneers offer the following advantages:
They provide a natural tooth appearance
This makes them ideal for cosmetic applications and prevents patients feeling self conscious about overly obvious dental work having been performed.
Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well
Porcelain won’t create inflammation or irritation at the gum.
Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
Porcelain veneers will stay at your ideal tooth color longer than your normal teeth.
The colour of a porcelain veneer can be selected to make dark teeth appear whiter.
Veneers allow you to pick the shade you want your teeth to be, making a lasting cosmetic overhaul of your teeth color possible.
Maintain your original teeth.
Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s colour and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do; yet offering a stronger more aesthetic alternative.
Are there any disadvantages?
There is really no disadvantage to getting veneers. Porcelain veneers may require shaving down of some tooth enamel, but this is very minor and doesn’t actually affect the tooth.
Do Dental Veneers Require Special Care?
Dental veneers do not require any special care as long as you continue to follow good oral hygiene practices including brushing and flossing as you normally would. Even though porcelain veneers resist stains, your dentist may recommend that you avoid stain causing foods and beverages (coffee, tea, red wine and etc.).
Composite Veneers Vs Porcelain Veneers
When it comes to veneers, porcelain is the superior choice. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, but overall porcelain is the better option if you can afford it.
Pros of Composite Veneers:
- Can be directly bonded to teeth, allowing a full mouth to be fit with veneers in a single sitting.
Cons of Composite Veneers:
- Don’t last as long as porcelain veneers.
- Are susceptible to chipping and cracking.
- Stain more easily than your teeth, so they’ll become noticeably discolored fairly quickly.
Pros of Porcelain Veneers:
- Stain resistant
- Less likely to chip and crack.
- More durable
- Last almost twice as long as composite veneers
Cons of Porcelain Veneers:
- Considerably more expensive
- Cannot be directly bonded to teeth.
While porcelain veneers are a more expensive option, their quality and longevity can actually make them the more cost-effective choice in the long run. Composite veneers will more readily chip and crack than porcelain ones, requiring maintenance or replacement more frequently.
Combining the two together is often an attractive option for many, however. Because composite veneers can be applied quickly and don’t require any shaving of the tooth enamel, they can be used as effective temporary veneers while the full porcelain veneers are being made in a lab.
This allows patients to get a full, bright, healthy looking smile from their first appointment, without needing to wait a week or two for their final bonding appointment.
Are dental veneers just a cosmetic treatment?
No. Veneers can be used in a restorative function, to fix chipped and cracked teeth to prevent further damage.
I want teeth whitening and veneers, which should I get first?
Always get the teeth whitening first. You can then set the color of the veneers to the new shade of your whitened teeth.
Will my veneers stain?
This will depend on the material. Porcelain is stain resistant, as it gets glossed to remove any pores on the surface. Staining particles simply don’t have much to hold onto.
Composite, on the other hand, is fairly porous and will stain quite readily.
In either case it’s always best to avoid staining foods and drinks, such as tea, coffee, and red whine, if you want to maintain a white and healthy looking smile.
Is there anyone who can’t get veneers?
No. Veneers are appropriate for patients of all ages. The only thing that would stop you getting veneers is if a tooth is too far damaged to be saved. In this case, the tooth might need extracting instead.
Alternatively, rear molars are typically better suited to dental crowns rather than veneers.
Does getting a veneer hurt?
No. The whole process is generally painless, although having someone working in your mouth is always slightly uncomfortable. You might feel some discomfort if your teeth need to be shaved down for a porcelain veneer, but there should never be any pain.
Which is better, composite or porcelain?
Porcelain is by far the superior option. Composite is an excellent choice for people who need a cost-effective treatment or who want a temporary solution while their porcelain veneers are made. Otherwise, get porcelain veneers if you can afford it.
For more information on Dental Veneers NW Calgary and to find out if this option is right for you, give us a call.