The Ultimate Guide to Veneers: What to Expect and How to Care for Them

There’s no style or accessory more on-trend than a uniform white smile, and one of the most popular ways to achieve this look is with dental veneers. You’ve no doubt seen the surge of smile makeover photos on social media in recent years, and maybe even thought about getting veneers yourself – but do you know what the process involves, and whether veneers would suit you?

Veneers London - The Dental Centre London

Whatever your cosmetic dental concern may be, if you’re researching veneers to find out whether they would be a good fit to resolve your smile issues, this guide to veneers explains everything you should know to help you make a decision. Keep reading to learn all about what veneers are, how the treatment works, the different types available, the cost, aftercare requirements, and more.

What Are Veneers?

Do you have a chipped tooth, whether it’s a tiny flaw or a large missing piece? Maybe your teeth are irregularly shaped, or there’s a gap between them? Perhaps your teeth are otherwise fine, but have severe stains or discolouration?

These are the kinds of cosmetic dental issues that veneers are designed to fix – from covering discoloured teeth to restoring chips and filling gaps. The end result of applying veneers is a symmetrical smile with teeth that are uniform in colour and even in shape and size.

How Do Veneers Work?

Dental veneers are typically made of a porcelain ceramic material, shaped from a mould of the prepared tooth and colour-matched to the surrounding teeth. Like a false nail glued to a fingernail, but much stronger, porcelain veneers are bonded to the front of the affected tooth to improve its appearance. Veneers can also be made from a resin composite applied directly to the tooth.

Veneers are individually fitted to one tooth at a time, so you can have a single veneer to restore just one tooth, or multiple veneers to improve several different teeth at the same time. They’re usually only applied to the teeth at the front of the mouth that are visible when you smile, laugh, or talk, so it’s not necessary to get a full mouth of veneers, even if you want to cover multiple teeth. 

Who Can Get Veneers?

When it comes to restorative cosmetic dentistry, veneers offer some of the most straightforward methods for dramatically changing the way teeth look without removing a significant amount of the natural tooth. This requires having otherwise healthy teeth underneath.

This means that you must have good oral health, with your teeth and gums in healthy condition, for a cosmetic dentist to approve you as a viable candidate for dental veneers. If you have a cavity or mild gum disease, for example, it must be treated first.

Before you can proceed with getting veneers, you must attend a cosmetic dentistry consultation at a qualified practice that offers the procedure, like The Dental Centre London – where the dentist can assess your teeth to make sure they’re suitable for veneers.  

As long as your teeth don’t have severe structural damage, and the problem is primarily cosmetic, you should be approved for veneers. You can discuss the best type of veneers for your needs with your dentist, to achieve the look you want within budget.

Types of Veneers

Of course, the decision isn’t just as simple as choosing whether to get veneers or not – you also need to consider the different kinds of veneers available to choose from, because one type may be more suitable than another to achieve the new look you’re hoping for.

There are two main types of dental veneers, made from different materials and applied using different methods. The traditional and premium quality choice is porcelain, while those with a lower budget may be more interested in the composite option.

Composite Veneers

If you have a chipped, broken, or slightly misshapen tooth, the quickest and most affordable way to repair it is with composite resin. Rather than fixing a pre-moulded ‘shell’ to the front of the tooth, the colour-matched composite is applied onto the tooth surface.

There are multiple ways to do this – ‘edge bonding’ moulds the composite around the edges of a tooth to fill out chips and restore a uniform shape, while ‘composite veneers’ use the resin material to cover the front of the tooth like a traditional veneer does.

This makes composite bonding a better choice for covering cosmetic problems like worn, chipped, and uneven tooth edges. Composite veneers can offer a cost-effective alternative to porcelain veneers when the whole tooth surface needs covering.

Composite veneers are less invasive than conventional veneers because the natural tooth requires less preparation, and they can be fitted in one appointment. It’s important to note, though, that composite is not as durable and stain-resistant as porcelain.

Porcelain Veneers

The more well-known style of veneers is porcelain. They use a strong ceramic material to create a thin shell from a mould of the teeth, that is then bonded to the front surface of the specific tooth. This is typically more expensive, because the veneers have to be crafted in a specialist dental lab before the patient can return to their dentist to have them applied, often requiring a temporary veneer.

Porcelain veneers are also more costly because they’re long-lasting and have the translucency and colour of natural tooth enamel. However, within the category of porcelain veneers, there are further choices – for example, between classic feldspathic veneers and newer Emax veneers, both of which are available at The Dental Centre.

Porcelain veneers

Feldspathic Veneers

The name for these veneers comes from the mineral feldspar, which is used to create the glassy ceramic that feldspathic veneers are made from. Its translucent look mimics the colour gradient of teeth so well that it appears just like natural enamel.

Very little enamel needs to be removed to apply feldspar veneers, but these porcelain veneers have to be hand-crafted by highly skilled dental technicians, building up the feldspar resin in very thin layers and hardening it in a special oven to create the contoured veneer. 

Emax Veneers

As a newer form of ceramic veneers, Emax veneers are made from lithium disilicate, a stronger material that’s used to make dental crowns as well. They are pressed veneers created by bonding layers together under high pressure, but they’re less translucent than feldspar.

Emax veneers also don’t require too much enamel removal, but this depends on the required thickness of the veneer to achieve the coverage needed for the desired final look – which is likely to be more opaque than feldspathic veneers, but will last longer.

Benefits of Veneers

If you’re looking for confirmation that getting veneers is worth it and can transform your smile the way you want, here are some of the major benefits of choosing veneers – whether porcelain or composite – as your cosmetic dentistry solution.

Restore Your Confidence

Many people who seek cosmetic dental treatment do so because they are insecure about the way their teeth look, which prevents them from smiling, speaking, or eating with confidence. Veneers can give you a brand new smile and boost your self-esteem.

From discoloured teeth to chipped teeth, from teeth with jagged edges to teeth with unsightly gaps or uneven shapes, veneers can disguise all manner of cosmetic imperfections to give you the confident, attractive smile you’ve always wished you had.

Fast Smile Makeover

If you’re searching for a quick fix for minor cosmetic flaws with your front teeth, there’s a reason veneers are such a popular form of cosmetic dentistry – they can make quick, subtle changes to your smile that drastically improve its aesthetic appearance.

Usually taking two to three visits to the dentist to plan and complete the treatment, veneer preparation and application doesn’t take too long and involves little to no discomfort or recovery – so, after the final visit, your new smile will be ready to go.

Natural Look and Feel

Both composite and porcelain veneers are matched to the colour of your real teeth, which can be whitened beforehand if you want them to be a lighter shade. The finished veneers will blend in completely and look just like the surrounding natural teeth.

Once bonded to the teeth, veneers are totally secure and comfortable, allowing you to eat as normal without worrying about having to change your diet (though dentists do advise patients with veneers to avoid biting directly into hard foods with a veneer).

Long-lasting Results

If you’re investing money into your smile, you’ll want to know that the results will last as long as possible. Good news – when you take care of them along with your natural teeth, porcelain veneers can last for up to 10–15 years before they need to be replaced.

Composite bonding isn’t quite as durable, typically lasting for around half the time, but it’s also cheaper and easier to replace when needed. In either case, carefully crafted veneers that are well-applied by professionals like ourselves should last many years.

Treatment Time, Cost, & Maintenance

As with any dental procedure, getting veneers of any kind is a big commitment, and there are plenty of factors that you should consider before deciding that veneers are definitely the right choice for you out of all the cosmetic dentistry options. 

For example, the process does require shaving some enamel away, which means that you will need veneers for the rest of your life, because the teeth underneath will be too sensitive and vulnerable if the veneers are removed and not replaced.

To help you understand what you can expect when getting veneers, here’s a summary of the process, costs, and maintenance:

The Veneer Procedure

If you’re pursuing dental veneers, you’ll first attend an initial consultation with a cosmetic dentist to determine which type of veneers would be best to meet your aesthetic and financial requirements, or whether another treatment would be more suitable.

Composite Veneers Process

Should you opt for composite veneers, this is the fastest and simplest procedure, which can be completed in just one appointment. The dentist will prepare the teeth with an etching gel, then sculpt the colour-matched resin over the tooth. When you’re satisfied with how it looks, the dentist will cure and polish the composite to cement it in place and give the surface a natural-looking shine.