The ultimate guide to dental veneers

If you’ve got teeth that are discoloured, crooked or chipped, which may be due to an accident in childhood or as an adult, one option to consider is dental veneers in Essex. With a choice of porcelain or composite veneers and different types, they are becoming more and more popular as an affordable choice for a better smile.

What are dental veneers?

A dental veneer is a thin cover that is attached to the front of your teeth with a bonding formulation. Porcelain dental veneers give a more natural look and have better stain resistance, whilst composite materials are cheaper.

Dentists can apply a veneer to just one tooth, several teeth and even a full set of visible teeth – the ones you see when you smile. They are bespoke to your teeth – your dentist will make a mould of your teeth to create the veneer – and are designed to be as close a match as possible to your natural tooth colour.

How are dental veneers applied?

Your dentist will take X-rays and/or a scan of your teeth and once this is done, the process is as follows:

  • A wafer-thin later of enamel is trimmed from your teeth to make space for the veneer to be bonded to the front. This is then used to make your custom veneers.
  • When the veneers are prepared, your teeth are given a thorough clean and the surface of your teeth is lightly ‘roughed off’, which increases the successful bonding (dentists use a specialised cement) of the veneer onto the tooth. Ultra-violet light is then focused on the tooth veneer to harden the cement and improve the bonding process more quickly.

You will need to return to your dentist 3-4 weeks after treatment to ensure the veneers are in the right place.

Composite veneers can be made more quickly; your dentist will prepare your teeth and then add very thin layers of the composite material directly onto the tooth, shaping it at the same time. At each stage, the ultra-violet light is used to harden the paste. Once finished, the surface of the veneer is polished.

Porcelain veneers take 2-3 weeks to be individually made in a laboratory from a detailed mould of your tooth or teeth before being applied with a bonding cement. Again, ultra-violet light is used to harden the cement. In some cases, your dentist may apply temporary veneers to protect the tooth preparation.

The whole veneer application process takes up to 2 hours, depending on the type of veneer and the number of teeth being treated.

How long will dental veneers last?

On average, dental veneers can last up to 20 years, depending on the type of material used. Once the veneer has been bonded to your tooth or teeth, you will be able to continue with regular tooth brushing without the need for any specialist maintenance.

What are the benefits of dental veneers?

Opting for dental veneers can be of benefit for:

  • Discolouration of teeth, i.e. from staining.
  • Crooked or misaligned teeth.
  • Worn teeth or those that have been damaged by jaw clenching and/or teeth grinding.
  • Chipped and damaged teeth.
  • Reduce or cover gaps between teeth.

Dental veneers only change the cosmetic appearance of teeth and shouldn’t be used where teeth need to be professionally straightened, strengthened or repaired. The procedure is irreversible so make sure you consult with a dentist prior to any treatment, but they are a cost-effective way of improving your smile and boosting your confidence.

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