Veneers can be used to mask staining and discolouration (including white spots), fill in “gaps” for a more even smile, restore fractured teeth or to reshape teeth (cosmetic contouring)
There are two ways in which teeth can be veneered:
- Direct composite bonding
- Indirect porcelain laminates
Composite Veneers / Bonding
Bonding composite resin material to the facial (front) surface of the teeth is a relatively simple procedure. The surfaces of the teeth are etched first to roughen the surface and increase the strength of the bond. Composite is then moulded on to the tooth and set with a curing light. There are many different shades of composite material available, which allow more natural colouration- including opaque shades to mask discoloured areas.
Composite veneers generally last from five to eight years- during which time they can be repaired if necessary. How long they will last is affected by a number of factors including the stress which they are under in the bite- a heavy bite or habits such as tooth grinding, finger nail chewing, using the bonded teeth as “tools”(to open or hold items) will greatly reduce their life-span. Home care is also very important. You should brush and floss daily and see the hygienist regularly.
Composite veneers can be placed in a single appointment with minimal discomfort; they require little or no preparation of tooth and are less expensive than porcelain laminates. They can be an excellent way of “trying out” a new smile prior to placing laminate veneers.
As the material is “added” to the surface of the tooth- the tooth will appear and feel slightly thicker-should discolouration be present additional thickness will be required to allow for a layer of opaque composite.
Teeth with composite veneers are more susceptible to stains than normal. To prevent staining try to avoid or keep to a minimum coffee, tea, colas and red wine. The use of an electric toothbrush will also help as they are proven to reduce the build-up of staining.
Laminating involves applying a thin veneer of pre-formed porcelain to a tooth. This technique requires two separate appointments. At the first appointment the tooth is reduced to allow space for the veneer, approximately 1mm is removed from the incisal (biting) edge of the tooth and 0.7mm is removed from the facial surface.