This is an aesthetic treatment used to improve the colour and shape of a patient’s teeth.
Veneers are little 0.2-0.3 mm shells of porcelain designed to cover the surface of front teeth (the part you see when you smile) which will last for between 10 and 20 years. This is only an aesthetic treatment and neither protects nor strengthens the teeth.
We mustn’t confuse veneers with crowns. Crowns cover the whole tooth surface, while veneers only cover the front surface of the tooth.
They can be used to:
- Whiten tooth colour.
- Close small spaces (diastemas)
- Rectify slightly overlapping teeth, with no need for orthodontics
- Reconstruct fractured teeth
- Change tooth shape
- Repair tooth ageing and physiological wear
They are not recommended for:
- People who grind their teeth.
- Cases where there is very little surface to bond the veneer, in which case we would fit a crown
- People with poor oral hygiene
- Pre-existing periodontal disease, when we would first of all have to treat the gingivitis or periodontitis
- People who use oral respirators or play contact sports
We start by removing a thin layer of the patient’s tooth. We then fit a provisional veneer while the permanent one is made in the laboratory. However, in cases where only very little enamel is removed, a provisional veneer is unnecessary. Finally, the last step is to fit and cement the porcelain veneer in place.
Maintenance and care of porcelain veneers
Good dental hygiene is essential. We recommend using either a soft ordinary toothbrush or an electric toothbrush with soft, rotary tufts. You can also use dental floss or interdental brushes, but not toothpicks. Gel is less abrasive than toothpaste. Although a mouthwash can be used, it is advisable to avoid those containing alcohol (which soften the resins over time) or chlorhexidine (which causes staining, although this disappears with cleaning).
Be careful with hard foods like nougat or when biting into crab claws for instance, and do not chew caramels or rib or chicken bones as these can scratch or split your veneers.
It is important to visit your dentist for a check-up at least once a year. Patients who smoke should have more frequent check-ups.