What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are a useful treatment in the armoury of the cosmetic dentist to help improve the look of your smile. They also have their place in general restorative dentistry for repairing fractured or unaesthetic teeth.
As with all treatments there are advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of when considering your options…
What are the Advantages of Porcelain Veneers?
- Natural looking results
Porcelain veneers provide a very natural tooth appearance. They mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth and characteristics of tooth enamel incredibly well. They can be made very thin and translucent.
- Very durable material Long lasting solution
In suitable cases that are executed well by the dentist and well looked after by you, porcelain veneers can be expected to give 10 -15 years service. There is of course risks and complications to veneers -they could chip, come off or be damaged and need to be repaired or replaced.
- Match existing teeth
The colour of the porcelain veneer can be made to match your natural teeth very closely. In most cases it is not necessary to veneer all your teeth as part of a Hollywood style makeover, unless that is what you want.
- Dramatic and quick results
That said, multiple veneers can produce very dramatic and almost instant improvements in your smile- as ‘before and after’ photos clearly demonstrate. Just be fully aware of the process and what you are actually having done.
- Correct multiple flaws
Porcelain veneers can improve shape, colour and position (if minor) all at once. Therefore if you have a range of cosmetic flaws such as spaces, discolouration, staining, chipped or fractured teeth, these can all be dealt with at the same time. A combined approach using other treatments may be needed depending on the situation (see below).
- Conservative (…ish)
This type of veneer requires the removal of less tooth structure than a full crown– providing a conservative alternative. Because of this they are much less likely to affect the nerve inside the tooth than a porcelain crown. That said, they are more destructive to your natural teeth than tooth bonding or composite veneers.
- Combined with other cosmetic treatments.
The porcelain of a veneer will blend exactly with the porcelain of crowns, implants and bridges if they are made at the same time (i.e. from the same mix of porcelain) to give a perfectly uniform colour to your teeth. Assuming of course, that the tooth underneath isn’t so dark it influences the colour.
Veneers can be used to fix just a few teeth, all the teeth or to mix and match with other treatments to meet your cosmetic goals. For example, after whitening your teeth, you may find that it’s only the gap between your front teeth that you wish to fix and just two veneers can give you a great outcome instead of the expense and destruction of a 6 or 8 veneers.
- Relatively quick
Once the decision to have veneers has been made, it’s normally just two or three appointments spaced out over a couple of weeks. If your dentist has cad-cam technology sometimes it can be completed the same day- though the results from an experienced ceramicist (technician) tend to be superior and noticeably more natural.
- Little recovery time
After your veneers have been placed and the anaesthetic has worn off (if it was needed) you are pretty much good to go. The veneers are set firmly to your teeth so you are good to resume normal function almost immediately. Check out our veneer aftercare instructions for a few precautions to help you protect your new teeth.
- Stain resistant
Porcelain resists the classic stains of coffee, tea, smoking and soft drinks very well and can look as good as the day they were put in for years to come. Gums also respond well to porcelain margins making them (when done correctly) very well tolerated and easy to keep clean.
- Strengthen teeth and restore function
They can help strengthen fractured teeth and restore them to normal function. Remember that porcelain veneers are not as strong as untouched natural teeth and as such need to be treated with a bit of r.e.s.p.e.c.t. and extra care. That said, they are not too far away and bonding technology is advancing all the time.
- No additional maintenance
- Customized for you
The shape, colour and size of the veneers can be chosen within the limits of your mouth to give you the personal smile that you have always wanted.
What are the Disadvantages?
- The colour or shape cannot be altered once they have been cemented in place.
- They are not particularly good for people with grinding or clenching habits or whose teeth are very worn and now meet edge to edge, since the extra pressure can cause them to chip and fracture. A preventative night splint is definitelyrequired!
- Veneers cost much more than composite resin bonding.
- If they break, the whole veneer often has to be replaced.
- If the preparation for the veneer goes into the dentine layer of the tooth, the bond is weakened considerably and you are more likely to have problems.
- They are best on relatively healthy teeth and not a good choice for teeth with a lot of decay, multiple fillings, very large fractures or any situation where there is not a good amount of enamel for bonding to.
- They are not the best treatment option for very crooked or misaligned teeth.
- They will probably need replacing in 10-20 years either due to failure, or maybe due to compromised aesthetics if your gums have shrunk.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold may be a side effect because enamel has been removed, however this is normally only temporary.
- Veneers are not as strong as crowns.
Like any restoration… Veneers could fail and the natural tooth around the veneers can still decay. Your oral hygiene becomes even more important after you have them!