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 means 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 patients tooth and the thin ceramic veneer. Which then bond to the tubules in the tooth structure, creating an incredible strength of adhesion.

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 JS

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 persons 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 does 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.

veneers - example

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 they way your veneers look. We can make any final adjustments if necessary including making any final adjustments to the veneer.

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 a 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 check ups 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, just like your natural teeth, veneers can also be damaged.

Find out more

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

About the author


Martin Docking is the Founder of Revitalise Dental Centre. Widely recognised as a leading Clinical Dental Technician Martin has a passion for embracing new skills, techniques and materials to deliver the best products, service and patient care.

Connect with Martin Docking on LinkedIn.

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