What Are Dental Veneers

A veneer in dentistry is a custom-made thin layer of porcelain material that is glued over the tooth to either improve the aesthetics of a tooth or to protect the tooth’s surface from damage. They are sometimes called dental porcelain laminates or simply porcelain veneers.

There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer. They are resin composite and porcelain.

A composite veneer can be placed directly on the tooth (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly by having it fabricated by a dental technician in a laboratory and later bonded to the tooth. In contrast, dental porcelain can only be fabricated at the laboratory.

Porcelain veneers resists stains better than resin veneers, and they also mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth better. Resin veneers however, are thinner and thus require removal of less of the tooth surface before placement. To decide what the best choice of veneer material to choose for your unique case, discuss it with your dentist.

Why choose veneers?

Veneers are often chosen to fix teeth that are discoloured, either because of a root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discoloured the tooth.

Teeth that are worn down, chipped, or broken can be covered by veneers to restore your smile. If your teeth are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them), placing porcelain veneers over them can be a viable cosmetic fix. They are also often used to close gaps in between teeth.

How long do veneers last?

The longevity of veneers can vary from patient to patient. The short answer is that properly done porcelain veneers can last a very long time. Things like maintenance, type of veneer chosen, and the conditions in which they work under, all can affect the lifespan of a veneer. Sort of like the purchase of a car. How long the car can last will depend on the make of your car (is it reliable?), how well it is maintained, did you follow manufacturer’s routine maintenance schedule, in what conditions you typically drive in, how many miles do you drive every year, and did you get into any automobile accidents.

Which type of veneer did you choose to go with? How good was the material used to fabricate the veneer? How good was the dentist who placed the veneer? Do you grind or clench your teeth? If so, do you wear a night guard?

Nowadays, with better materials and techniques, many porcelain veneers are expected to last much longer. However, there is no dentist who can guarantee that the veneers they placed will last a lifetime. Again, the short and simple answer would be that they can last a very long time provided they were properly done, and that you do not have an accident with them.

If a porcelain veneer fails within just a few years after placement, we would ask the question of why it failed. The most common reason is that the patient bit down on something very hard. Second most common reason is that they grind or clench their teeth, which puts a much larger load on the veneers. Another reason could be the material used. Even quality of porcelain can make a difference, however this will also impact on the price.