Teeth may be small in size, but perfecting them requires quite a lot of technical work. For example, crooked teeth can be corrected with braces or clear aligners, yellowed teeth can be improved with teeth whitening, and decays can be fixed with fillings.
However, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution to perfecting the overall appearance of your smile by addressing alignment, colour, as well as the size of your teeth in one hit, then you may want to consider veneers. Cosmetic dentist, Dr Luke Cronin of Quality Dental North Sydney, gives us the lowdown on the professional treatment.
What are veneers?
Usually made of porcelain, veneers are artificial attachments that are placed in front of your teeth. “Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that are precisely and seamlessly bonded to the front surface of your natural teeth,” explains Dr. Cronin. “The porcelain material mimics the light reflection of natural teeth creating a very natural-looking smile.”
How long do veneers last for?
Having veneers is definitely a long-term decision. “You need to look after your veneers the same way you would look after your natural teeth,” says Dr. Cronin. "If you follow a daily oral health routine of brushing twice daily and flossing once a day, you can expect 10 or more years from your porcelain veneers.”
Do you have to have veneers for the rest of your life if you get them once?
Turns out, veneers are a lifelong commitment. “The short answer is yes,” says Dr. Cronin. “The reason people get veneers is because they are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth. Veneers provide a permanent solution to address their concerns with how their teeth look.”
Do your teeth have to be altered before getting veneers?
As veneers are a permanent solution for your teeth, they do need to be altered. “Porcelain veneers require minimal preparation of your natural teeth. We prepare the teeth with less than 0.5mm of the tooth structure removed in order to hide the join line between your natural tooth and the ultra thin porcelain shell. This means that the natural enamel of the tooth is still present giving the tooth the same biological properties that it had prior to preparation. Put simply, porcelain veneers are designed to mimic nature.”
Can the end result of veneers by predicted? How so?
The newest technology actually allows you to see what veneers would look like on your own teeth, before going ahead with the procedure. “With the latest cosmetic smile design technology we can now provide patients with a realistic photographic preview of how their smile will look with porcelain veneers in around five minutes. Being able to see how your smile will look transformed with veneers enables the less imaginative of us to see exactly how good our smile can look. This creates confidence in the process and the patient’s relationship with their cosmetic dentist.
From this, using a combination of digital photos and scans, the 3Shape smile design technology generates a 3D model of the patient’s teeth with veneers, and a 3D mock-up of the veneers that patients can try on over their existing teeth at their second appointment. This allows patients to ‘wear’ their new smile, look at themselves in the mirror smiling from different angles, and really see what their teeth will look like.
From the patient’s perspective the technology streamlines the treatment making it a more interactive and comfortable experience. With digital records 3Shape have eliminated the need to take time-consuming and uncomfortable moulds of the patient’s teeth. The computer modeling software enables the dentist to individually design the shape and size of the patient’s veneers to create balanced beautiful and personalised smiles that are in proportion to the patient’s facial features and lip line.”
What can’t you eat when you have veneers?
If you’ve ever heard a rumour about not eating certain foods when you have dental veneers, then Dr. Cronin would like to set things straight. “Porcelain veneers are incredibly durable and you are not restricted with the foods you can eat once you have porcelain veneers.”
Do veneers yellow over time?
Unlike natural teeth, veneers don’t yellow over time. “One of the advantages of porcelain veneers over composite veneers is that they don’t yellow over time. Composite veneers are made up of a combination of less durable materials that will discolour over time and have a significantly shorter lifespan of three to five years.”
Can veneers be whitened like normal teeth?
Just because you have veneers doesn’t mean that you can’t go ahead with professional teeth whitening, or even whiten them at home. “Yes it is safe to have your teeth whitened if you have veneers. We would generally recommend having your teeth whitened prior to having your porcelain veneers treatment as this will lift the colour of your natural teeth allowing us to best select the shade of your veneers.”
Are veneers good for people who grind their teeth?
Those who usually grind their teeth shouldn’t be deterred to get veneers. “A large percentage of the population grind their teeth when they sleep at night. One way we protect teeth, natural or veneers, from the effects of grinding is to provide patients with a night-guard (similar to a mouth guard) that is worn at night when sleeping.”
Are veneers expensive?
At Dr. Cronin’s practice, pricing for porcelain veneers start from $1,200 through to $3,000.
We asked a dental expert for fast, easy ways to fix your biggest teeth woes. Here are four ways to anti-age your teeth.
Are veneers something you would consider investing in? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.
Main image credit: Getty
Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and previously in SHOP Til You Drop and Cosmopolitan.