Ever wonder how to get that perfect celebrity smile with those highly coveted, evenly straight, white teeth? The secret behind that smile? Dental veneers.

Veneers and Their Benefits

A dental veneer is a thin layer of material that’s attached over the front of your teeth. It improves the aesthetic appearance of your teeth and protects them from damage. Dentists usually recommend it for teeth that are:

  • permanently or badly discoloured
  • broken or chipped
  • crooked, oddly-shaped or severely misaligned
  • smaller-than-average, resulting in unwanted gaps

young woman smiling behind white flowers

Types of Dental Veneers

There are three types of dental veneers:

1. Composite veneers are made of resin material that is directly placed over the tooth to get the desired length, shape and colour, before it is hardened using a ‘Bluephase’ LED light. In some cases, they are indirectly fabricated by a dental technician and then bonded with the tooth using the same method. The process doesn’t involve scraping the surface of your tooth’s enamel. They are perfect for correcting minor imperfections such as a small chip, spaces between teeth and a bit of discolouration.

2. Traditional porcelain veneers, as the name suggests, are thin shells made of porcelain customised to uniquely fit your dental condition. These are best for more serious cosmetic problems such as broken, crooked or misaligned, and severely discoloured teeth. Highly durable, they are stain and chip-resistant.

Applying traditional porcelain veneers usually involves a lot of preparation work, including assessment of your tooth (sometimes using X-rays), removing a surface level of your enamel or sometimes layers of your tooth past the enamel, and then roughening the exposed area for better adhesion. You will most likely need local anaesthesia during the session. Traditional porcelain veneers are usually fabricated in a laboratory, so you will need to come back for another dental visit after a couple of weeks for fitting.

3. ‘No-prep’ veneers are also made of porcelain but fitting them is less invasive, requiring removal of only the surface level of your enamel or none at all. In some cases, a digital impression of your tooth is used to create the veneer, which is then fitted on the same day. However, they are more translucent than their traditional counterparts, so they don’t make a good option for badly discoloured teeth.

A Comparison of Pros and Cons

It is good to understand the pros and cons of different types of veneers and discuss them with your dentist and oral health therapist before making a decision. It will ultimately boil down to what’s best for your dental condition, given the time and costs.

Type Pros Cons
  • Quick procedure, usually done in one visit
  • Minimally invasive
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be easily repaired
  • Higher risk for fracture
  • Susceptible to discolouration and loss of lustre as resin is a slightly porous material
  • Will require repolishing and replacement making it potentially expensive in the long term

Traditional Porcelain

  • Most durable lasting for at least 10 -15 years
  • More natural-looking
  • Less maintenance as they don’t lose their colour and shine
  • Expensive, but could be cost-effective in the long run
  • Invasive
  • Will take at least 3 weeks and multiple dental visits
  • Irreversible and permanent 
  • Can still fracture and would require complex repair if it occurs
  • More difficult to clean and increasing gum disease risk

‘Non-Prep’ Porcelain 

  • Durable, lasting for approximately at least 5-7 years
  • Quick procedure
  • Less prep-work and minimally invasive
  • Reversible and semi-permanent
  • More natural-looking 
  • Less maintenance as they don’t lose their colour and shine
  • Moderately expensive 
  • Not the best option for extensively damaged or badly discoloured teeth
  • Can increase risk of gum disease

Caring for Your Veneers

Whatever dental veneer you decide to have, they will need maintenance through good oral hygiene. Veneers only cover the front of your tooth, so bacteria-causing tartar could still build up on the back or sides of the tooth and on your gumlines. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning in between teeth such as interdental brushing and flossing are essential. It is also recommended to visit your dentist and oral health therapist between 1-4 times a year for general scaling and cleaning and to check for potential dental problems.

To learn more about dental veneers, make an appointment to discuss with our team of dentists and oral health therapists at Coburg Hill Oral Care by calling (03) 9041 5301.