What Are Veneers?
Veneers are thin shells permanently bonded to the surfaces of teeth to improve their position, shape and shade, as well the overall aesthetics of a person’s smile.
Dental veneers are a cosmetic solution to a variety of scenarios, including:
- aged veneers needing replacement
- spaces between teeth
- broken, crooked or badly chipped or worn teeth
- Permanently stained or discoloured teeth.
They are made of either composite resin or high-strength porcelain.
Composite resin veneers can be applied to the front teeth to make small to moderate changes in shape. They are useful to reshape teeth after orthodontic work, to repair small fractures or to close gaps between teeth. The material used is tooth coloured and moderately durable. These veneers can be made and fitted during one visit to your dentist, being manufactured in-house without the involvement of a laboratory.
Porcelain or ceramic veneers are fabricated facings bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. They are highly durable and resistant to staining and chipping. Porcelain veneers are excellent for moderate to major changes in tooth shape and texture and can be made to resemble the look of a natural tooth very closely. This type of veneer is usually manufactured by a technician in a dental laboratory and fitted by your dentist.
How Long do Veneers Last?
Veneers are a very durable option to improve the aesthetics and functionality of your teeth. The average lifespan of dental veneers ranges from 10 years up to 25 years, though it can be less if decay is allowed to develop. Ceramic veneers are not easily broken but they can chip or fracture if subjected to trauma or other structural overload and just like natural tooth enamel, a veneer can still wear or become damaged if subjected to the destructive forces of a grinding or clenching habit.
Veneers should maintain their appearance indefinitely, although it might be desirable to replace them when, over time, gums have receded and the margins of the veneers have become visible at the gum edge, possibly with accumulated staining.
It’s rare for a veneer to become detached but it can happen if the veneer fails to bond to the tooth due to insufficient dental enamel.
How to Care for Veneers?
Your dental practitioner will advise you of any special care requirements for your new restorations, as well as any follow-up appointments that may be necessary to check your progress.
Keeping up a good dental hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing, combined with regular check-ups and cleans with your dentist is very important. While the porcelain or composite that makes up your veneers cannot decay, the underlying teeth still can, and the teeth are vulnerable wherever they are exposed and also where they connect with the veneers themselves. One of the benefits of dental veneers is they can protect the underlying teeth against decay.