A dental veneer is a restoration that covers the front of a tooth in order to alter its appearance. Veneers are commonly used to make cosmetic changes to the teeth. They may also be used to repair chipped or damaged teeth.
Veneers can be made of dental ceramic (porcelain) or dental plastic (composite resin).
Composite Resin (Direct) Veneers
Composite resin veneers are also called direct veneers because a tooth-coloured filling material is directly bonded onto the front surface of the tooth. Composite resin is available in a broad range of shades and opacities, so it’s possible to achieve results that look beautiful and natural.
Direct veneers tend to not be as strong as ceramic veneers and may stain. If chips, cracks or wear occurs, repairs can often be made in a single visit. Stains can generally be polished away.
Composite veneers are a viable option for most, and work well in many cases.
Porcelain (Indirect) Dental Veneers
Porcelain veneers are also called Indirect Veneers. This is because they are made using a two-step procedure, rather than being built directly onto the tooth or teeth.
In the first appointment, the teeth are lightly prepared (trimmed) to create space for the veneer. The veneer itself is made in a dental laboratory; a dental ceramist uses high-quality porcelain to build bespoke veneers on a model of the patient’s prepared teeth. The veneers are then bonded onto the patient’s teeth at their next dental appointment.
Porcelain veneers can be crafted to be virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. When aesthetics is the primary focus of treatment, porcelain veneers are the treatment of choice.
Porcelain veneers are stronger and more resistant to wear than their composite counterparts, but they can still chip or break. Repair is sometimes possible, but often a damaged veneer needs to be replaced. This can be an involved exercise; one which Dr Teo would prefer to prevent. If veneers are likely to be damaged by stress-related clenching or grinding or by a sports-related injury, Dr Teo will recommend the appropriate preventative dental treatment.
The Longevity of Dental Veneers
Porcelain veneers have good longevity if they are well looked after and not damaged by accident. Composite veneers can also last for many years, although they are more likely to chip or stain.
Excellent home care keeps the veneers, underlying teeth, and gums clean and healthy. Dr Teo will inspect your veneers at every check-up. In this way, problems may either be prevented or identified and treated early, and ongoing advice about the care for your teeth, gums and veneers will be provided.