A Veneer is a thin layer of porcelain used to cover the front of a tooth. They are considered for several reasons such as when the enamel has become worn, chipped or discoloured or the teeth have become misaligned.
Veneers are extremely thin but once bonded to the tooth are unbelievably strong. They are able to block out undesirable colours, such as from a very dark underlying tooth and allow the beauty of the veneers to shine through. They can be used to create a smile that is natural and beautiful.
With modern white filling materials, it is possible to create highly aesthetic restorations for your front teeth. These are using the same types of materials as used for normal “white” fillings, however, they are more sophisticated and “layered” to recreate the natural dental anatomy.
What can it be used for?
These materials can be used to restore worn teeth, broken edges or as a “Veneer” placed directly on the tooth with only minimal or sometimes no preparation of your tooth..
What are they?
Resin composites are made of a fine glass-ceramic powder mixed with light-curing resin, to allow the material to be applied, shaped and hardened directly on the tooth, whose surface has been previously treated with a special adhesive system. The latest composite materials offer a wear resistance similar to natural enamel, a range of shades which fit any tooth colour and excellent long-term colour stability.
Resin vs Ceramic
Ceramic veneers almost always require preparation of the tooth. This is irreversible. They can chip and as a result need replacement. Resin, whilst longevity of polish may be less, can be refurbished and repaired if damage occurs. They require almost no tooth reduction and are thus considered reversible.
In the event of a veneer cracking, ceramic is difficult to repair, usually, a new ceramic veneer needs to be made (although the ceramic can occasionally be repaired with composite resin but the match will not be perfect). With direct composite resin an invisible repair can be conducted on the spot. It is cheap and simple compared to the repair of glass.
Once we have created a new smile in direct composite resin, we can then proceed to customisation of the smile in relation to the contours of the veneers, length, shape and bite. Composite resin lends itself to easy adjustments, this allows us to deliver a cosmetic result that is as close as possible to your ideal smile. With ceramic veneers, we are relying on the interpretation of the dental technician to deliver a result that is close to your ideal smile, this is because there is less adjustment available for ceramic veneers.
Because direct composite resin veneers do not require the use of a dental laboratory, they can be completed in ONE VISIT and at a reduced cost to you (compared to ceramic veneers). This also means no need for temporary veneers while the ceramic veneers are being made up by the lab. Because there is no lab involved in the direct composite resin veneers, we can pass that cost saving on to you.
All restorative reconstruction has a lifespan. We believe that the direct resin veneers will start to look tired in 5-10 years. In this time frame, there will be surface deterioration of the resin but the bond to tooth structure should still be good. They will likely need a little re polishing throughout this time. If the patient has been happy with resin and would like to stick with resin veneers, the composite resin veneers can be renewed, again without the loss of tooth structure. If not, a transition to ceramic could be discussed. The key consideration throughout this restorative progression is that by saving tooth tissue all options remain open.
How long does it take?
To place these highly aesthetic restorations takes time. It is quicker to prepare and take impressions for a veneer, however, you need to come back for the fit appointment. The appointment for a direct veneer is longer, however the tooth is finished in the same visit. The cost is largely for the time involved.
These composites are essentially the same as those used for standard fillings, however they tend to be split into Enamel and Dentine shades, the two layers of natural tooth. This requires skill to choose and adapt the shade to your tooth. The materials are very sophisticated in colour matching, we have experience with two systems in use, Amaris (Voco) and Miris (Coltene Whaledent).
Where are these techniques used?
These techniques are incredibly useful for making minor changes or for treating teeth that “stand back” from the arch, bringing them forward to align with other teeth, mini orthodontics!
As an alternative to ceramic veneers to mask discolouration.
Minor corrections in shape.
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
These fillings may not be suitable for everyone, we can advise what teeth can and cannot be treated.
As you may have gathered, all composite restorations at some stage will need to be replaced. Having good oral hygiene will be a real boost though to helping keep your veneers in good condition, lasting longer and looking great.