If you are considering a smile makeover with dental veneers, then you’re not alone. Dental prosthetics like veneers are among the most common and fastest-growing segments within cosmetic dentistry. This is driven in part by the ‘selfie’ generation but also by social media celebs who need to look good for their target audience. In fact, it’s become so popular that you probably know someone, or know of someone, who has undergone porcelain veneers or composite veneers, and it has spurred you on to undergo treatment. Nevertheless, one thing’s for certain, modern dental veneers do a great job of transforming a jaded smile. But how do veneers work? Let’s take a closer look.

How veneers work and what to expect

For those of you who don’t know, dental veneers are lifelike, tooth-coloured coverings that sit over the front surface of your natural teeth. Patients can opt for two different types – composite veneers and porcelain veneers. Once applied both work by hiding many sins, including intrinsic tooth discolouration or staining, small chips, cracks, and even unevenly shaped or spaced teeth. But while they have the same common goal of providing a dramatically changed smile, they are two different entities.

Composites, for example, are made from a tooth-coloured composite paste, the same material used in white fillings. The paste-like material is applied directly to the front surface of the teeth by your dentist and is hardened and polished off to create a new artificial tooth surface. 

On the other hand, porcelain veneers are custom-designed porcelain shells bonded to the front surface of the teeth to create a robust, durable, and lifelike finish. 

how dental veneers work st marysBoth work in the same way in that they allow you to cosmetically change your smile. However, composite veneers are less invasive, cheaper, and quicker to fit (typically in just one sitting). On the contrary, because porcelain dental veneers are fabricated to fit your individual teeth, they are more expensive and are completed over two dental visits.

But while that sounds like composites have the advantage over their more expensive counterparts, they are also far less durable and can be prone to staining, so they will need replacing more frequently. So when considering how veneers work, you really need to juggle cost vs durability.

How strong are dental veneers really?

Cosmetic veneers work by being super strong. By this, we mean that they can handle pretty much any foods that you would normally put in your mouth. So you should be able to happily crunch down on a juicy apple or chew a succulent piece of steak without issue. However, just like your natural teeth, dental veneers are not built to be ice crushers, pen top chewers, or fingernail biters, nor should they be used as bottle opening implements. Doing so may cause them to chip or crack – again – just like natural teeth. You could say that dental veneers work as well as natural teeth, so long as you play by the rules.

How veneers work – Things you should know

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to composite and porcelain veneers is that while getting composite veneers is a reversible process, undergoing porcelain veneers isn’t.  

So why is that?

In order for porcelain veneers to sit flush in the mouth, a small amount of tooth enamel needs to be removed. Typically this is only around half a millimetre. However, once the enamel is removed, it doesn’t grow back. Therefore, you will always need veneers in order to protect your teeth in the long term. There are some types of veneer that don’t require the removal of enamel but typically, that’s how it works. So if you are thinking of getting porcelain veneers, this is something you need to bear in mind.  

Dental veneers – The key takeaway

When considering cosmetic dental veneers, there are many things to consider, and an understanding of how composite and porcelain veneers work will help you make the right choice.

While composites are less invasive and considerably cheaper, they are also more susceptible to staining and less durable. 

On the other hand, porcelain varieties are an irreversible process involving several dental visits. However, the end results are typically more lifelike and should last for many years – around 15-20 years instead of 5-7 years for composites.   

If you would like to find out more information about how veneers work or you are ready to take the plunge, book a consultation with the team at Pearl Dental Care to discuss your options. We’re a St Mary’s family dentist who excels in cosmetic dentistry, including the latest teeth veneers to improve your smile. We use only the very latest, ultra-thin veneers that are guaranteed to make a dramatic difference to your smile. We’re also adept at colour-matching your veneers to your smile to create a truly natural look. 

If you aren’t happy with your current smile because of staining, cracking, chipping, or other blemishes, get in touch today and see exactly what our team can do for you.  


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