Today’s topic will be on porcelain veneers. I have already stressed that I enjoy emulating nature and try to provide the least invasive treatment options where feasible, however with the correct patient selection, veneers can provide a beautiful, natural smile and takes a matter of couple of weeks to carry out.

What exactly is a porcelain veneer ?

Veneers are facings which are constructed from porcelain. There is no single veneer which is identical; indeed they are always made bespoke to match a person’s face, character, persona, age, etc. They are then bonded (glued) to the surfaces of the teeth once the patient and the dentist is happy with the appearance.

How do I know if I qualify for veneers?

Often patients come in telling me what they need; whitening, braces, veneers. The best person to help make the decision is your dentist. The dentist can go over the multitude of options with you. However very broadly speaking, veneers may be suitable for.

  • Gappy teeth
  • Cases with mild crowding.
  • Teeth that have colour impairments.
  • Worn down teeth
  • Teeth with a gummy smile.

As I keep stressing, I will always go over all the options with my patient to ensure that they make an informed decision of their choices.

How do I know that I will like what I have signed up for?

In our consumer society, it is rare that we do not freely talk about what we like and dislike and what we want. I always take my time to really understand a person’s needs and desires before embarking on treatment, this is at the consultation phase. We take several photographs and together discuss the patient’s needs and wants. Once we have ruled out all the options, if veneers are indicated,  a mould would be taken of the teeth and all diagnostic information sent to my better half; the technician. Veneer production is really an art.  I would get what is known as a wax up back, which basically shows us what the teeth will look like if they were to be prepared. There are seemingly different veneer shapes available, such as triangular, circular, feminine, and masculine and these shapes would have been ascertained before the wax up. When the wax up is back, before preparing the teeth I then carry out a trial simulation in the mouth. Using a temporary material, the patient can envisage what their teeth will look like before preparing the teeth. The patient can now see how a whiter, fuller smile will look. We can then remove the temporaries and either rebook for the preparation or if time is scheduled do the preparations. The teeth are prepared minimally using techniques to ensure that we only cut tooth tissue that is necessary. The mould created from the wax up is then used to be placed over the prepped teeth so that the patient can see their new smile. The patient is reviewed to have anything adjusted and tweaked if necessary (on top of the temporaries). As these are only temporary, any adjustments are possible. Once the patient is happy, I take a mould of the temporaries to send to the technician. Precision is key in veneer creation, so I often get the patient and the technician to meet with one another at the practice to allow the technician to assess and discuss how he will emulate the natural colours of the teeth and create the smile that you desire.

Do veneers fall off, how often do I need to have them replaced?

Veneers can be a long lasting treatment solution, indeed if done correctly, using the finest materials, an experienced dentist and lab technician; they can last up to 10-15 years. Indeed the bite and techniques used must be verified properly. Veneers do however need to be maintained just like natural teeth. In fact oral hygiene must be adhered to stringently. Regular hygiene visits are imperative to ensure optimum gum health around the teeth. I often make a night guard for the patient to wear at night, to protect the teeth and veneers from the effects of grinding.

My Smile Design fascination

My journey to achieving predictable, safe and beautiful treatment began when I did my training at one the UK’s leading cosmetic academies. I brought one of my patients to the academy, and was overseen by cosmetic dentist Rahul Doshi at his academy in Herts. The week of intense theory and practical training opened my eyes to a world that I had never been to before. Dentists were not only providing smiles, they were changing lives. I have illustrated a few stories of my patient’s gaining confidence through having their teeth addressed and it is amazing how that smile can impact your life. I plan to pursue my continuing professional development for years to come and hone in my skills even further. My passion for dentistry is always compelling me to do more.