What is a Dental Veneer?
A dental veneer is a thin layer or shell of material that covers the front visible part of your tooth. It is similar in concept to how fake nails are stuck onto your real ones.
They can change the colour, shape, length and size of your teeth to give you a great improvement in appearance.
They are sometimes called ‘Porcelain veneers’ or ‘dental laminates‘ and are an important part of the expanding world of cosmetic dentistry.
What are the Basic Types of Dental Veneer?
Dental veneers can be made from either porcelain or composite material, and may be used for a single fractured or discoloured tooth, as part of the Hollywood style makeover and anything in between.
Composite veneers are placed directly (built-up in the mouth), where as porcelain veneers are made outside of the mouth by a dental technician and bonded in at a later appointment.
There are a number of slightly different types, brands and materials available for porcelain veneers and these will be discussed later.
Because they produce dramatic results they are a favourite of dentists for before and after pictures and are largely associated with the cosmetic side of dentistry. They have become more and more popular with advances in bonding technology and now provide a popular, durable and natural looking (most of the time) solution to getting a big bright white smile… but as with all treatments, they are not without their downside.
They are responsible for the majority of the dazzling white smiles we see on movie stars and celebrities today. If it looks too perfect to be natural, then it probably is. Celebs who are famous for having this done include Nicholas Cage, Demi Moore, Celine Dion and Miley Cirus- just in case you are wondering.
Interesting fact: They were originally invented by a California dentist named Charles Pincus to change the appearance of actors’ teeth.
How Long do Dental Veneers Last?
First up let me say, there are no definite answers to this questions- there are many variables that will influence not only how good your veneers look, but how long they will last and how long they will stay looking good. We discuss all of these in our veneer success factors article so I highly suggest you have a read!
A composite veneer or tooth bonding would probably look good for 5-7 years. It will look best when it is first done and will weather a little over time depending on your lifestyle and habits. During this time it may need touching up or re-polishing more frequently since composite is more prone to picking up stain than its porcelain counterpart. However, if you do have a problem (maybe a chip), it is generally easier to repair and less damaging to your natural tooth.
Porcelain Veneers on the other hand tend to last longer and keep their looks a little better. Problems can occur with veneers but upwards of 10 years service, sometimes considerably longer would be the aim.