Nowadays in dentistry, the options for improving your teeth are close to limitless. Whether it’s fixing a chipped tooth or adjusting the length of your gums, it can be done. In this article, I will talk about dental veneers since they are gaining in popularity.
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells bonded onto the surface of your teeth. These shells improve the colour, shape, size and length of your teeth. They are commonly used to fix dental issues including:
- Discoloured teeth from stains, old age or other procedures
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Irregular-shaped teeth
- Gapped teeth
Types of veneers
There are various kinds of veneers in the market including:
There are a few types of porcelain veneers but essentially they are relatively strong and more expensive compared to other veneers. They also look the closest to natural teeth. At our clinic, we prefer porcelain veneers and hand-select ceramics from Norway and Sweden. We chose them because they resemble young teeth — a natural fluorescence and inner glow!
Composite veneers are usually used for small chips or gaps between the teeth. They are made from a similar material as cavity fillings. They tend to discolour over time and have a dull appearance. As they usually last between 5-7 years, Dentists tend to use them as a semi-permanent treatment prior to having porcelain veneers done.
As its name suggests, stock veneers can be applied without any preparation. This is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any anaesthesia. These “instant veneers” are no different from regular veneers in terms of success rate, except they are premade and cannot be matched with your natural teeth. However, as they are not custom-made, these veneers tend to be ill-fitting which may lead to tooth decay and gum problems in the future. Furthermore, they can look artificial and due to the lack of ideal proportions and monochromatic tone.
No Prep Veneers
No prep veneers are essentially porcelain veneers that are custom-fitted to your teeth. As the name suggests, it is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any anaesthesia. They can only be used in selected cases such as in teeth with a lot of spaces in between them.
Advantages of veneers
In a smile makeover situation, veneers are a viable option for improving one’s smile. Here are some of my favourite benefits about veneers:
1. Aesthetics and realistic appearance
One of the features that contribute to veneers’ popularity is their optic properties. This is especially so for porcelain veneers. Porcelain is a ceramic that replicates many properties of enamel. For example, enamel possesses a property called translucency, where light can enter and reflect back out. Porcelain has this same characteristic and can be adjusted accordingly by the ceramist to blend in with surrounding teeth.
Most dental clinics in Singapore order their veneers from a lab, but for us, we have an in-house lab with our very own ceramist. No two veneers are the same; we design, hand stain and polish them individually before inserting them on patients.
Porcelain is essentially a glass-ceramic, so its surface is extremely smooth and impervious, which makes it resistant to stains. This means, unlike natural teeth, your veneers won’t change colour from staining agents like coffee, wine and tobacco.
Veneers are bonded to your underlying tooth structure, which makes them relatively long-lasting. On average, they last about 15 years and up to 30 years with good care. I’ve seen some patients maintain their veneers even longer than that!
Now, you may ask how is it possible for veneers to be so strong and durable if they are so small? Well, this is because veneers, when bonded onto enamel takes on the mechanical properties of enamel and dentine. When you combine them together, your tooth now has the toughness to withstand forces from biting.
4. Versatility and ease of creating
Compared to crowns, veneers do not really require extensive shaping. Some ultra-thin veneers do not need the shaping of the teeth as well. But you can trust us to be as precise as possible — we use a specialised Carl Zeiss microscope with a magnification of up to 15 times. Also, the colour of veneers can be customised such that it makes stained teeth appear whiter.
5. Low maintenance
This is probably the favourite of all patients. With veneers, you only need to brush and floss regularly as you would with regular teeth. The installation process is also relatively non-invasive; veneers can be bonded without any drilling or shaping.
Disadvantages of veneers
Nothing in dentistry is perfect — that includes veneers. Here are some drawbacks of veneers.
1. High cost
Veneers —especially porcelain ones— are expensive. Each veneer can range from $1000-$1500. It will be a costly investment if you have a few teeth that require veneering.
2. Not stronger than enamel
As strong and durable veneers are, they will never be able to replicate the strength of enamel. So anything that could break or chip a natural tooth will do the same for veneers. To protect your veneers, we recommend wearing a nightguard especially if you tend to grind your teeth when you sleep.
3. Teeth sensitivity
Some patients might experience added sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages since veneers require the removal of enamel.
There you have it — the pros and cons of veneers. Hopefully, this article helped you understand veneers better. If you still have questions or doubts, feel free to drop our team a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
- Gresnigt, M., Sugii, M. M., Johanns, K., & van der Made, S. (2021). Comparison of conventional ceramic laminate veneers, partial laminate veneers and direct composite resin restorations in fracture strength after aging. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 114, 104172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104172
- Gresnigt, M. M., Kalk, W., & Ozcan, M. (2013). Randomized clinical trial of indirect resin composite and ceramic veneers: up to 3-year follow-up. The journal of adhesive dentistry, 15(2), 181–190. https://doi.org/10.3290/j.jad.a28883