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New surfaces for your teeth provide the perfect smile
If you want whiter teeth than bleaching can give you, if you want to hide unsightly gaps between your teeth or if you have cramped, overlapping teeth that need sorting out then dental veneers can provide the solution.
“I considered bleaching,” said one woman in her 30s, “but I realised that I needed more than whitening, I required a complete makeover! So, after discussing it with my dentist, I opted for porcelain veneers, which provided the perfect smile I had desired.”
A dental equivalent to false fingernails, veneers have become increasingly common since the mid-1980s. With surfaces like the natural enamel of your teeth, a veneer is securely glued in place over the surface of each tooth to cover it with a thin layer of porcelain or composite plastic.
Porcelain or composite plastic?
Composite veneers can be created in the dental surgery making the process quick and simple. They are ideally suited to fixing small chips in teeth and they can even be colour matched to your desired level of whiteness. They are also easy to shape, allowing a seamless integration amongst your other teeth. The main disadvantage of composites is that they wear more easily and are more prone to staining than porcelain.
Porcelain veneers are the most popular type. They are stronger and more durable than composites and they provide a more natural looking appearance. Although porcelain veneers are more costly than composites, they last longer making them more cost-effective in the long run.
What can veneers do for your smile?
There are a diverse range of possible problems with your teeth that may lead you to opt for dental veneers:
Obtaining dental veneers
During an initial consultation and examination, your dentist will explain what is possible and answer any of your questions. The next stage involves preparing the front surfaces of your teeth so that the veneers can adhere to them. Your teeth and gums will be numbed with a local anaesthetic injection for this procedure, which involves shaving off a very small amount (equivalent to the thickness of the veneer) off the front surface of your teeth. A mould of your teeth will be taken using dental putty. The mould is then sent to a dental laboratory where an accurate model of your teeth can be produced. This can take between one and three weeks. During this time you may receive temporary veneers to protect your prepared teeth until the actual ones are available.
On your next appointment your teeth will then be thoroughly cleaned and the front surfaces carefully roughened using an acid gel so that they provide a good surface for the dental cement to stick to. The veneers will then be cemented into place. Any excess cement will be removed before a special light source is used to activate the dental cement so that it provides a rock-solid bond.
As one patient commented, “I was delighted with how my veneers felt inside my mouth – completely natural. There was no sensation of having a false ‘plate’ over them.”
Porcelain veneers typically last between 5 and 10 years; composite veneers last 1 year or possibly 2. So, whichever type you choose, your veneers will need replacing at some point in the future. To help them to last longer it is important to pursue good oral hygiene and visit your dentist for check ups on a regular basis.
Who should fit your veneers?
Choose a dentist that specialises in cosmetic dental work to fit your veneers. Composite veneers cost around £150 per tooth; porcelain veneers cost from £300 to £1,500 per tooth depending on the type used. If you are considering having dental veneers fitted, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a cosmetic dentist.
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