Our smiles are an intrinsic part of our characters, often the first point of contact when meeting people, whether previously acquainted with you or not, so it is no wonder we can become very self-conscious about them. Confidence in a smile can create self-confidence overall, and noticeable problems with teeth can certainly play on the mind. Veneers are a dental cosmetic procedure that aims to address problems such as chipped, stained or worn down teeth as an alternative to whitening, crowns and fillings. Veneers can also be used to fill gaps between teeth to give a more uniform smile.

What Are Veneers

teeth

Dental veneers are a thin layer, usually of porcelain but sometimes composite or ceramic, that are fitted to the front surface of a tooth with a strong bonding agent. They are designed to create a natural, healthy look to your teeth and are bio-compatible to gum tissue, so should not cause any harm to the gum line. In describing veneers, dentists often compare them to fitting false fingernails.

How Are Veneers Fitted

Once a consultation with your dentist has taken place, and the procedure deemed appropriate and fully explained, the fitting of the veneers should only need two appointments, the first one for preparation, and the second for the actual fitting.

Preparation for veneers involves removing a thin layer of enamel from the tooth (or teeth if more than one veneer is being fitted). The amount removed should be equivalent to the thickness of the veneer. This is required to be able to fit the veneer, yet retain the tooth’s original size. Once this preparatory work has been done, then a cast can be made of the tooth with dental putty in order to make the veneer to the exact specifications required.

The second visit then sees the veneer fitted using a strong bonding agent, the colour having been matched using a shade guide. From then on standard dentist rules apply; regular brushing, flossing and dental check-ups. It is unlikely that a temporary veneer will be needed between appointments as so little is taken off the actual tooth, but it remains a possibility.

How Long Will Veneers Last

Most porcelain veneers can be expected to last for five to ten years, though good dental hygiene practices will help with their longevity. Veneers made of a composite material which are cheaper may only last for a year or two, and are far more prone to staining and chipping than their porcelain counterparts.

Top quality porcelain veneers such as Nobel Procera can last for around twenty five years. Ultimately though, all veneers will need replacing at some point. Simply put, opting for the best quality porcelain veneers you can afford will save you money in the long run.

There is also an ultra-thin porcelain veneer called lumineers, due to their being even thinner than standard veneers, fitting this type of veneer does not usually require any preparatory work on the tooth, meaning the process is reversible. Lumineers are not really widely available in the UK, since dentists need to be registered with the manufacturer who makes them. Eventually, lumineers will also need replacing, though they can last up to around 20 years.

How Much Will Veneers Cost?

The cost of fitting veneers will vary between dental practices. Other factors will also come in to this including how much preparatory work is required, whether it is a veneer for a single tooth or more, and as mentioned above, the type of veneer chosen. Before settling for any procedure, ensure that all costs have been fully explained by your dentist. If you have health insurance that covers dental care, you may even be covered against the cost of this type of cosmetic dentistry.

About the author: This article was written by Nick Davison for MapleLeaf Dental, Nick writes about a range of health related topics, including cosmetic dentistry, and the development of new medical treatments.

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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