What are veneers and how do they work?

Modern dentistry provides a range of treatment options to anyone looking to transform their smile. From replacing missing teeth with implants, bridges or dentures. Right through to brightening your smile with teeth whitening and straightening teeth with orthodontics.
The technology and knowledge we have today mean there is a solution for almost anyone who is not completely happy with the way their teeth look.

In this post, we will be looking at Ceramic Veneers.

  • What are they?
  • How do they work?

Continue reading to find out if veneers are the right treatment option for you.


What are Veneers?

Veneers are mainly used for cosmetic purposes, to improve the shape, size and colour of patients’ teeth. Usually the front ones. This can be achieved by reshaping, improving the structure or the colour of a tooth, and closing small spaces. Veneers have been used for almost 50 years and although the techniques have changed, the purpose remains very similar.

Early veneers were used by Dr. Charles Pincus to improve the smile of Hollywood actors during photoshoots and filming. These veneers were a removable cap which had to be taken out during meals and sleeping. They were not originally a permanent solution.

This is no longer the case and veneers today are designed to be a long term solution to improving the look of a person’s smile. Using thin shells of ceramic they are bonded to the front of the teeth. You might be wondering what do we mean by bonding? Bonding is the process of applying a tooth coloured luting resin to the patient’s tooth and the thin ceramic veneer. Which then bond to the tubules in the tooth structure, creating an incredible strength of adhesion.

veneers - Revitalise Dental Centre

When would a veneer be used?

As we have mentioned veneers are commonly used for cosmetic purposes but can also be used to treat a damaged tooth. In many cases, a chipped tooth can be repaired in the mouth with direct bonding of composite but sometimes a ceramic veneer is a better option.

Veneers will be used to achieve the following:

  • Repair a broken or chipped tooth – A chipped tooth is unlikely to cause any medical complications however, it can knock a person’s confidence.
  • Change the shape of a tooth – Sometimes a single tooth or even multiple ones can look different from the rest found in a person’s mouth. It’s not uncommon for a person to have misshapen lateral incisors.
  • Improve tooth structure – Did you know it’s possible to give the illusion of straight teeth with veneers, improving alignment and closing gaps.
  • Change the colour of the teeth – Teeth that are yellowish in colour do not necessarily indicate poor oral hygiene. Discolouring can be masked with ceramic veneers.


What’s the process of making and fitting a veneer?

The process is quite simple and can usually be achieved in a few sessions.

We will start with a planning phase which involves a member of the clinical team assessing your teeth, smile and taking x-rays. This will help us determine if veneers are the best treatment option for you. However, we will never force you into a treatment you are not comfortable with, you are in full control.

Your smile will be accessed by our expert cosmetic clinicians and diagnostic planning of tooth shape, size and overall smile. When you have had a chance to see and approve your new smile, your teeth are carefully and minimally prepared. This is done by removing a small amount of enamel from the tooth surface.

We will then take a digital impression of your teeth and send it to our “on site” laboratory where our expert technicians will carefully construct your new ceramic veneers.

Once we have the veneers made it will be time to bond to your natural teeth. We will first clean, polish and roughen the tooth surface. This ensures a reliable and strong bond will be made. We then apply a special adhesive combined with a high-intensity light which hardens the adhesive quickly. Finally, we will assess your bite and make sure you are happy with the way your veneers look. We can make any final adjustments if necessary including making any final adjustments to the veneer.

Before vs After Veneers - Revitalise Dental Centre

How long do veneers last and how do I care for them?

Veneers are permanent and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. You will need to look after them the same way you would with your natural teeth, with one exception. It’s important to use non-abrasive toothpaste as this can damage the veneers. You should continue to brush your teeth twice a day, including daily flossing and ensure you continue to have regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist.

Are there any long-term risks with veneers?

Long-term complications as a result of veneers are extremely uncommon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the treatment is non-reversible. This is because the natural tooth’s enamel needs to be removed. Although this is only a small amount it is permanent. Keep in mind, that just like your natural teeth, veneers can also be damaged.


What are the disadvantages of veneers?

Although dental veneers are a go-to solution for so many patients, in certain cases they may not be the most suitable option. The process of getting dental veneers is an invasive one, and they cannot properly be secured without the original tooth being prepped. Typically, this prep work includes removing a thin layer of the tooth’s surface enamel, which can in some cases lead to increased sensitivity.

It’s also worth noting that the prep work done in order to get veneers is irreversible, and so if you don’t like how your new veneers look or feel, there’s little you can do to change it.

Other patients who may benefit from something other than veneers include:

  • Patients who grind their teeth
  • Anyone who has poor oral hygiene as tooth decay can still occur
  • Those with existing tooth sensitivity

Your dentist will be more than happy to discuss the pros and cons of dental veneers and help you to find the best solution to meet your needs.

What are veneers - Revitalise Dental Centre

Is it painful to get veneers?

Although the process of getting dental veneers fitted is an invasive one, it shouldn’t be a painful procedure. Here at Revitalise Dental Centre, we offer the very best in patient care, ensuring you’re confident and comfortable from start to finish. 

It is important to note that discomfort and some mild swelling is absolutely normal for the days and weeks following your procedure, but this should be easily managed with over-the-counter medication. If you are really struggling with pain, you should contact your dentist who will be able to take a look and see if there are any issues.

Find out more

If you would like to discuss treatment around veneers or how we can transform your smile, please come in for a consultation to discuss your options.

View our other cosmetic treatments performed by our Cornwall cosmetic dentists.

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    About the author


    Jason Smithson is an internationally renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist formerly of London’s Harley Street Medical District, he is now based in St Agnes, Cornwall where he offers dentistry, dental-education and medico-legal expert witness services. World-class crowns, veneers and direct composite resin artistry are delivered with uncompromising standards bespoke to the patient’s individual requirements. He is considered to be the ‘Dentist’s Dentist’ and regularly treats other dentists; many of whom travel from throughout the UK to see him. Dr Smithson is an ‘In Demand’ presenter and is perhaps the most prolific in the UK. He is considered by his peers to be an authority on aesthetic dentistry and has presented to audiences on every continent over the past 10 years. He is a true innovator and pioneered the use of Dental Operating Microscope in teaching Direct Resin Artistry to other dentists in the UK; he is the author of numerous articles and a book on crowns in aesthetic dentistry. Visit Jason's Website

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    What our Clients say

    Marion visited Revitalise to reclaim her smile with a complete implant treatment. In this video, she explains how the staff at the practice put her at ease and why she recommends Revitalise to everyone she meets.

    Client: Marion
    Treatment: Complete mouth secured with implants

    “The minute I met Martin, I just knew he was so calm and relaxing. So then we had a discussion and Martin said what he could do and it had to be what our pocket could afford as well and we went ahead with it. The experience I had at this dentist was unbelievable, it was a journey I loved every minute of.”

    Client: Dee
    Treatment: Dental Implants

    “There’s always smiling, handshakes, hugs and plenty of tea and coffee. They looked after my husband who was there for the day. They do the sedation and Hayley looked after me. Obviously I was unaware of exactly what they were doing, but they always make you feel so comfortable. Although you’re nervous, I don’t think I could’ve gone and got the same treatment anywhere else.”

    Client: Carolyn
    Treatment: Dental Implants

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