What are veneers?
Veneers are thin shells of porcelain which are bonded to the front of the teeth - similar to false fingernails, but much harder and more durable. Because so little tooth material is removed, often we can do veneers without anesthetic. Veneers are often the most conservative and effective way to improve the appearance of front teeth.
Veneers have a multitude of uses. They can be used to: cover up discolorations, brighten teeth, change the shape or position of teeth or fill in spaces. Unlike bonding material, veneers are highly resistant to coffee, tea, and cigarette staining. Because the veneer is so thin, light can pass through the tooth and give them a very natural look which is often unattainable with the treatment methods. Veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations.
Veneers are often referred to as "instant braces" because they can be used to quickly and easily correct the alignment of front teeth. Patients who only need minor tooth alignment problems corrected with veneers. However, they are not always a substitute for braces. Patients with very crooked teeth should consider braces first.
Who can get veneers?
Patients of any age can get veneers. But not every patient is a good candidate. The teeth to be veneered need to be strong, with a lot of healthy tooth structure. Teeth that are highly decayed or already have large fillings are seldom suited for veneers and are often better treated with full crown restorations. Patients who clench or grind their teeth, especially in their sleep, can fracture veneers or chip the edges and should have a protective mouthguard made for sleeping.
How long do they last?
Most veneers will last for many years. Dr. Coles has had his veneers for 20 years now. The technique has been refined and improved so that their life span is very predictable. If properly cared for, there is no reason veneers couldn't last 25 years or more. Veneers look so much like teeth that even if ageing causes gum recession, cosmetically the edge of the veneer may not even be detectable. Where as with crowns, a black line can become obvious if gums recede.
How do I take care of veneers?
Brush and floss just as you would do for your own natural teeth. At first the new shape and position of the teeth may take a little getting used to but very quickly the veneers will feel like your own, natural teeth. Avoid doing anything with your veneers that you shouldn't do with your own teeth. Biting your nails, chewing on pens or ice can fracture veneers just as it could damage your on natural teeth. If properly taken care of, you veneers will give you many years of attractive use. Veneers are THE most popular way to dramatically enhance a smile.