Dental veneers are extremely thin, custom-made shells of porcelain or resin usually attached to the front surface of your teeth. This can alter the appearance of your original teeth by changing their shape, size, length, surface texture and/or colour.
Veneers can also help to rebuild teeth that are severely worn down, cracked or broken.
Multiple dental veneers placed simultaneously for the upper front six to 10 teeth in a “Smile Makeover” can drastically improve a person’s smile and confidence.
Dental veneers are usually made from:
Generally preferred because it is strong and stain resistant. Porcelain is brittle so sufficient thickness (0.3-0.5mm) is required to avoid chipping.
Composite Resin (plastic)
Can be made thinner than porcelain so less or even no trimming of the tooth surface is required. Plastic is more high maintenance because it tends to stain and wear down more easily.
Dental veneers can help with:
Step 1: Consultation
Before any dental treatment can proceed, it is extremely important to first consult us to assess if veneers are suitable for you. The health and angulation of the supporting tooth/teeth need to be assessed. Your bite patterns and habits (for eg: sleep bruxism) are also important in determining the lifespan of the veneers.
Digital Smile Design or DSD is a useful tool for deciding on the nuances of tooth proportions, shape, surface texture and overall tooth arrangement. A virtual prototype of the DSD can be superimposed on to a digital photo of your smile for a trial run. This can be transferred to your mouth to evaluate how the proposed design will function in real life.
DSD ensures that you and the whole team (your dentist, ceramic artist and other specialists) are working off the same blueprint. The DSD and the prototype can be easily customised at this stage to suit your preferences.
The blueprint is your treatment roadmap, allowing us to identify the steps needed to reach the final result. For complex cases, this may require a combination of minor orthodontics (tooth alignment), gum reshaping, bleaching and veneers. For simple cases, merely bleaching and then adding composite to the edges of your teeth (edge bonding) may be sufficient.
Step 2: Preparing your teeth
The preparation begins by placing the veneer blueprint on to the surfaces of your teeth. The required material thickness is removed from the blueprint and the required margins are refined. With careful planning, minimal or even no enamel removal may be required.
If only edge bonding or a space closure is to be done with composite, then no trimming of the teeth may be needed. Your teeth are cleaned, sharp edges are smoothed and the tooth surface is chemically prepared to receive the porcelain or resin material.
Some patients choose to have this stage done with local anaesthetic since we will be working close to the gum line.
A mould or digital scan of your prepared teeth is then made and transferred to the dental laboratory. Temporary plastic veneers may be attached to the prepared teeth in the meantime.
Step 3: Fitting the Veneers
If you are receiving resin veneers, we may choose to make the veneer directly in your mouth. The resin is layered on to the tooth surface and the material is hardened with a special light. Further adjustments and fine polishing are completed at a subsequent appointment.
Once your lab-made final veneers are ready, the temporary veneers are then removed. The colour, shape and fit of your new veneers will be checked against the prototype and blueprint. The new veneers are then carefully bonded to your teeth using a very strong dental adhesive.
We work closely with our team of ceramic artists to match porcelain veneers to your own teeth.
Photographs and moulds of your teeth record fine anatomical details that will be reproduced in porcelain or resin.
If you are planning to bleach your teeth, this should be completed at least 2 weeks prior to having veneers done. Bleaching will need to be maintained once every 3 months after the veneers are completed to ensure your teeth continue to match the veneers.
Porcelain veneers can last approximately 10-15 years.
Composite veneers last approximately 5-7 years. The composite needs regular repolishing (every 9-12 months) to maintain surface gloss and to remove stains.
Veneers may fail due to material chipping/cracking/fracturing (from biting into hard foods) and debonding (due to decay).
For maximum longevity, retainers should be worn at night.
You may have seen ads on social media for “nano” veneers done by beauty therapists at a fraction of the cost. The testimonials claim that the veneers do not harm your teeth and that the veneers can be easily removed by a dentist. This all seems too good to be true.
Unlike dentists, these therapists have no verifiable training, the equipment used may not be properly sterilized/disinfected and the veneer materials used may not be HSA-certified as safe for use in the mouth. You may be risking your health and irreversible damage to your teeth by undergoing treatment at a facility offering healthcare services that is NOT accredited by MOH.
Here are some articles covering veneers and other dental treatments performed by non-dental professionals.