What should every patient know about before getting veneers?

Doctor's Answers (2)

Dr Jaclyn Toh
5.0

"Dentist with an interest in comprehensive dentistry."

Veneers are a thin coating of either porcelain or composite (plastic) glued to the enamel surface of the teeth to improve appearance (by changing the shape, size or colour).

Here are some important considerations that should be made before choosing to have a veneer/multiple veneers:

1) What material will be used: composite tends to stain more easily but is much easier to repair than porcelain. Porcelain will be more suitable for patients with a highly staining diet (lots of tea, coffee, red wine, cigarettes).

2) Some tooth preparation (trimming) may be required: very few cases of veneers can be done "no prep" because purely adding material to the tooth may make the tooth too bulky.

3) Veneers will need replacing: if you like to chew on very hard food (bones, ice, shellfish) then your veneers will chip or break much more frequently. The veneer may have to be completely removed from the tooth and redone.

As you age, the veneers done in your 20s for example, may no longer suit a more mature face in your 50s. This may be another reason for veneer replacement.

4) Consider having orthodontic retainers after the veneer/veneers are completed: the underlying teeth can migrate and cause misalignment of the veneers as time goes by.

5) Less than ideal results: the final veneers may not be what you have envisioned (in terms of colour, position, shape, size or alignment) if proper pre-planning has not been carried out.

6) You may need other treatment (braces, gum alteration or teeth whitening) prior to having veneers for the best result.

Veneers are a wonderful treatment modality to repair or beautify teeth in what is termed as minimally-invasive dentistry [1].

Before exploring this treatment, we would first advise patients to understand their overall goals they want achieved.

Finding the right dentist is tricky. Taking advice from friends who have had veneers done, checking on reputable reviews can also be helpful.

When consulting your dentist, discuss your goals and ask the dentist for advice on his recommendations. The choice between composite or porcelain veneers can have an effect on the possible changes, the reliability and longevity of veneers.

Find out more on:

  • the process,
  • maintenance,
  • reliability and
  • the longevity of the dentist's veneers.

It may be prudent to find out options should there be any breakage or dislodging of the veneers over time. The dentist may also have photographs of his veneers after 5, 10 or more years of use.

Ask to see examples of the dentist's own work (not pictures off the internet) especially similar cases to your own. Beware of digital designs as they do not fully account for the position of your teeth and may not be reliably reproduced in your mouth. A physical mock-up on a model of your own teeth can be a much more accurate representation.

You may also like to know that veneers can be used to change tooth position, not only to change tooth size, shape and colour. This may be an alternative to traditional braces. This is how many celebrities have beautified their smiles(as seen on TV's "Extreme Makeover").

References:

1. Burçin Akoğlu Vanlıoğlu B, Kulak Özkan Y. Minimally invasive veneers: current state of the art. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry. November 2014:101. doi:10.2147/ccide.s53209
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All content posted is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This Q&A is not a patient consultation and any information provided herein is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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