I have recently had a lot of enquiries about Ceramic Veneers, and to save time, I’ve decided I write something to explain it and save you the research. It’s one of my favourite parts of cosmetic dentistry so let’s give it a go.
What is it?
Ceramic veneers are basically a ceramic cover over your teeth. That’s basically it. There’s many things involved, but bluntly speaking you are placing a cover over your existing teeth with a ceramic. You know those nail extensions you can put over your nails? Pretty similar. In many cases, the tooth is trimmed slightly, or ‘shaped’. This is to allow the veneer to sit on the tooth without making them look bucky or really large. Wiki link is here – although I find it very technical.
- It’s mostly cosmetic, sometimes you can have a ceramic veneer because you chipped your tooth in football, or from swimming and hitting that ledge.
- It gives you that white (that some people are born with naturally, some are capable with JUST bleaching)
Is it right for me?
Do you really need them? I sometimes get patients with great teeth – and they just want a small change. Consider and ask about other options. Ceramic Veneers have limitations, hence I spend most of the time planning with the patient. Some of these limitations include:
- Are your teeth looked after? Are your gums and teeth healthy? If you don’t look after your teeth, then the veneer will simply fall off. That, or your teeth will fall out, so look after them! 🙂
- Do your teeth look like they need a bit of orthodontic work (large spaces, crowding)? SOME crowding and spacing can be masked with veneers. This is very specific to each person. Tom Cruise for example had to ‘align’ his teeth first before he could put on veneers. Your dentist should run you through this!
- You are a night grinder – some people grind their teeth at night. It doesn’t mean you can’t have veneers, but you need some form of protection, otherwise you will grind the veneers off! Generally, a guard is made on top of the veneers to protect your teeth and veneers. Sometimes you can plan around it 😉
Every dentist is different, but I like to spend most my time planning.
- Discussion and Planning: we discuss and look at your teeth. We look at what you want, why you want it, and what to expect. A mould is then taken for planning. This is taken is to look at your teeth and make measurements for the ceramic veneers. If you are a good candidate a wax up is made. This is effectively a before and after – I can’t take credit for this, it’s the ceramist who will make it for me (the guy who will make the veneers!).
- Discussion with Wax Up: so now I have your wax up, I can see a before and after of your result. We go through it together, we discuss if you like the appearance, and how it may affect your lips and facial profile. For example, if you want fuller lips, we could make the veneers slightly thicker at the front. Perhaps (and yes this is sometimes asked for), you want slightly imperfect teeth, just a slight angle to the veneer to give a natural look. This discussion is super important and helps us both get to where you want.
- Colour: I will pick and assess your colour as well as my ceramist. I find that getting two view points are better and help get an idea on what you want. My tip is – if you want white – go for it. I have found that most of the time, you should err on the whiter side. I wouldn’t and I don’t think any dentist would want to put veneers in that look un-natural. It reflects us. So if you want white, say so!
Procedure: The Veneers
- Adjustments / Shaping: If your teeth require it, your teeth are shaped and adjusted to make space for the veneers. It’s a painless procedure that in most cases do not require anaesthetic. Moulds are taken for your veneers and in some cases you may have temporary veneers placed on. The adjustments are generally very minor so visibly there is barely any change. Teeth are rarely sensitive but this is dependant on your teeth.
- Veneer Placement: Lots of mirrors and discussions. If you like it, we cement them in. If you don’t we change it accordingly. It’s best you are honest at this stage – because, once they are in, it’s a hassle to take them off!
- Then… enjoy your new smile!
Caring for Ceramic Veneers
- Treat them like your own teeth. The reason most of veneers fail is because they aren’t cared for. Brush and floss.
- Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth at night and need it.
Always consult your dentist if you have questions. In the end, we just want you to have an amazing smile!