What are the Reasons you may Wish to Consider Veneers?
If your natural teeth look fine and function well, veneers may not be the best choice because (most of the time) they involve permanent removal of some of your natural tooth structure. This depends of course on what you want to achieve- they may be the ideal treatment for you.
There are a number of alternatives to dental veneers that exist and these should all be carefully considered and discussed with your dentist before making this decision.
It is always sensible to consider more minimally invasive (less destructive) ways to improve your appearance first. They can save you time, money and most importantly, keep and protect your natural teeth. Veneers may be the right choice for you, but no-one would argue that making a true informed decision after considering all the options is the best thing you can do.
Veneers are a bit of a paradox.
The most ideal candidates have healthy teeth and gums, and are looking to improve the appearance of their smile. Yet, obviously the more discoloured, out of position and broken down a set of teeth are- the greater the perceived need to have cosmetic treatment and the more dramatic the finished result will be.
These more significant case can sometimes require a combined approach, involving teeth whitening, veneers and crowns, maybe even implants and dental bridges. It depends what the dentist has to start with and what you want to achieve.
Veneers tend to be a way to get a great result for more minor cosmetic problems, or in combination with other treatments for more major ones.
What Problems can be corrected by Veneers?
The sorts of problems that may be corrected by veneers include:
- Mildly discoloured teeth
Teeth staining is divided by dentists into ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’ staining- meaning the source of the stain is either external to the tooth such as diet, smoking etc or internal, inside the tooth such as tetracycline staining or darkness from a root canal treatment. Discolouration can also come from decay, exposed roots, old composite resin fillings, amalgam fillings, fluoride (too much or too little) or teeth that haven’t formed properly. Bleaching first is always a sensible idea- teeth whitening may help to not only improve the cosmetic appearance itself, but also help or reduce the amount of extra treatment needed or the thickness of porcelain required helping to preserve more natural tooth.
As we age, teeth change in colour as the amount of dentine (the second layer of the tooth under enamel) thickens, causing a yellowing of your teeth. Add to this, everyday staining from food and drink such as coffee, tea and smoking and we can see a noticeable darkening of our teeth over the years. Small cracks, chips and general wear and tear also add to a deterioration in the appearance of your teeth.
- Chipped or fractured teeth
Porcelain veneers can be used to cover the whole front surface of a damaged tooth and where a section of the tooth has been lost- this piece can simply be incorporated into the veneer.
Your teeth may be asymmetrical; the middle (centre line) of front top teeth could be off to one side like Tom Cruise or one tooth could be different in shape or position to the other side.
- Worn enamel edge
This gives a premature aged appearance. Over time the thin layer of enamel on the outside of your teeth can wear down and become dulled or discoloured. The thinner it gets the more the yellow dentine layer underneath shines through and the darker your teeth appear. If you grind your teeth you accelerate the wear of your teeth dramatically and increase the chance of breaking your fillings or restorations such as veneers. Preventative measures are a must!
- Irregular teeth
Aside from size, teeth may have uneven surfaces, colours, blemishes, little pits or bulges- all sorts of cosmetic issues which may be of concern to you.
This is the term for a space between your upper central incisors… like Madonna. It has become more accepted and popular in recent years with an increase in models such as ‘Sea Folly’ sporting this look. Veneers can help to effectively close this gap, if preferred to the use orthodontic procedures.
- Failed fillings
Teeth with multiple different fillings which have been put in over a number of years and have discoloured from day to day wear, may no longer be acceptable to you. Or you may be tired of a filling that keeps coming out, or of a small chip that the dentist can’t seem to get material to bond to which is failing repeatedly.
- Small teeth
Sometimes you may have a tooth that doesn’t form properly. The most common example is a peg shaped lateral where in place of a regular sized lateral incisor, you have a funny little tooth. These are an ideal candidate for veneers as often they don’t even need preparing and a veneer can be bonded onto the front to give a great improvement in aesthetics. Gaps left by other small teeth can be hard to close via orthodontics and the resulting smile not ideal; veneers can be very useful in these cases.
- Crowded or crooked teeth
Veneers can change a whole smile without the need for braces. This is comparatively quick to do compared to orthodontic treatment, but there are limitations on what veneers can do and you need to be aware of the long term consequences (as we keep mentioning). Each case is different and must be treated as such. If one tooth is slightly out of position (further back not forward) then a veneer can often be used to bring it back in line easily. Teeth that are heavily discoloured and out of position on the other hand, may be bought back into position first with orthodontic treatment, then whitened and finally veneered to give the best possible and least destructive cosmetic result.
- Uneven teeth
Veneers can help restore teeth that are too short or too long compared to their neighbours. Maybe they were just formed that way, have fractured or just worn down over time from wear, age or grinding.
What are the Signs and Symptoms That I Might Need Dental Veneers?
There are no signs and symptoms that you need dental veneers. They are a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of your teeth.
If you are unhappy with your smile you may want to investigate cosmetic dental options further which will include the possibility of veneers.