Embarrassed by your stained, chipped, gap-filled and uneven teeth? Do you sometimes feel like you have to ‘control’ your smile so as not to show them? Perhaps you are constantly putting your hand over your mouth to cover up defects?
If this is you then you will be thrilled to discover that modern-day cosmetic dentistry can help restore your self-image! Yup – dental veneers are a great solution for enhancing the cosmetic appearance of your teeth.
1. What are Dental Veneers?
The best place to start is always at the beginning – right? So, let’s get to the root of our discussion (no dental pun intended)!
Dental veneers are a great way to fix cosmetic dental problems in a non-invasive way, without having to resort to full crowns or implants. Essentially, they are renowned for preserving the integrity of the remaining tooth structure while restoring your smile – and confidence.
This should give you a good picture:
Dental veneers work similar to false nails, although they last much longer. Porcelain or composite resin is manipulated to mimic the shape of your teeth. It’s then bonded to your natural teeth for, you guessed it, a natural look!
2. What is the difference between Composite Bonding and Porcelain Veneers?
In a nutshell, composite bonding relies on resin to fill, structure or reface teeth. Composite bonds are sculpted by the dentist and hardened by high-intensity light. Sometimes, many layers of resin are applied before being polished to a shine.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are thin shells of porcelain that are “glued” to the outer surface of the tooth.
Composite resin veneers are applied in one session at a dental office. Porcelain veneers, however, are carefully crafted in dental laboratories by technicians or master ceramists and it can take several weeks before they are ready for use.
To give you a better understanding of the difference, let’s look at the benefits and disadvantages of both. Here goes.
3. What are the benefits of Composite Bonding?
Apart from being a quicker and more economical solution, composite veneers have the following advantages:
- Less of the tooth structure needs to be removed during preparation
- They can be colour-matched to your natural teeth
- They are an easily reversible treatment solution
4. What are the disadvantages of Composite Bonding?
Quick and easy solutions tend to come with a few disadvantages and in this case, you might want to take note of the following:
- The resin doesn’t always form an ideal shape or cover the whole tooth
- It’s a less permanent solution
- The bonding can stain easily
- They may not be a solution for severe cases
5. What are the benefits of Porcelain Veneers?
While porcelain veneers take time to build and are a costlier alternative, their advantages do make them the better choice. They:
- Are more life-like and have natural qualities
- They are highly stain-resistant
- There are several types of porcelain veneers available
- They can be colour-matched
- They can last 10-20 years with regular dental care
6. What are the disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers?
As perfect as they sound, and at nearly double the price of composites, porcelain veneers do pose a few disadvantages:
- The application process is lengthy and can include two to three sessions over several weeks
- More of the natural tooth structure must be removed in preparation, (although this is changing with the introduction of improved bonding materials)
- They cannot be repaired but must, instead, be replaced
7. Why is the Ceramist so important in this process?
For your veneers to appear natural with an ultimate bond, much pressure is placed on the ceramicist – the person who is responsible for designing and creating your new pearly whites. From detailing the dental veneers to bonding them and ensuring that patients follow the correct maintenance procedures, a successful application requires an excellent amount of skill.
Did you know?
To become a qualified ceramist, dental technicians require an associate degree for certification and then they also need to gain additional credits[i]! It suffices to say that dental aesthetics are taken extremely seriously!
8. Which is the better option for me?
Choosing between composite bonding and porcelain veneers is a very personal choice, with emphasis placed on:
- Tooth structure;
- Budget and;
If it’s within your budget, porcelain veneers are the ideal choice – but that’s not to say that composites won’t do just the trick. Composite bonding is a quick solution that’s gentler on your natural teeth.
Just keep in mind that composite bonds can be replaced with porcelain veneers but not vice versa.
9. Think You Need Veneers?
Ask your dentist to do a ‘smile simulation’ for you. This way you can see the difference between the two types before making your final decision and forming a plan of action.
Your plan of action should also include:
- Ensuring that you view ‘before and after’ pictures of your dentist’s previous clients
- Vetting your ceramist by checking credentials, work and references
- Allowing your dentist to help you make an informed decision
There are so many things worth smiling about and with the ingenious advancements in dentistry, you’ll soon be grinning like a Cheshire cat!