Veneers are handmade pieces of porcelain that are bonded on to the front part of your teeth, to improve the appearance of your smile. They are beautifully crafted to ensure they mimic the natural appearance of teeth. If done well, a veneer should be indistinguishable to the naked eye and should seamlessly blend in with your teeth.
What can veneers help with? Veneers can help to improve:
- The colour of your teeth
- The alignment of your teeth
- Straighten crooked teeth
- Change the size and shape of your teeth
- Eliminate gaps in your smile
- Replace worn or loss of enamel
The price of veneers can differ substantially, but in general will range from £500 to £1500 per tooth. When you visit a dentist be sure you understand the differences between what result you are going to get as there can be vast disparities.
At Sensational Smiles, our fees start at £735 per veneer. Generally, for a full set of upper veneers (10), you are looking at around £8000. But, if it is only the first 4 front teeth, this can be as low as £3000.
Do not just go on price alone. Here are some of the things to look out for:
Good dentists will often have decent reviews from many different platforms. Do not just go to the dentist will good reviews on one platform alone.
2. Check out before and after photos
Good dentists will be able to show you plenty of before and after photos so you can see the quality of their work.
3. Ask what material will be used
Ask the dentist which material they will be using. Porcelain is the best material to use, however, some dentists use cheaper materials like composite. This is fine to use but do discuss the pros and cons of each option. Composite is great in one respect because it is cheaper and it is more conservative of tooth structure, but it does not last as long and can pick up stain quicker than porcelain. Porcelain generally will look more tooth-like as well.
Dentists will all have their own offering when it comes to veneers and there can be a vast difference between these offerings which we will explore further throughout this article as we go through the process.
The dental veneer process
1) Discuss your wishes with your dentist
The first step in the veneer process is a discussion with your dentist about your concerns and what result you are hoping to achieve. This will help to determine:
- The treatment plan.
- If veneers are the right choice for you. There are other options available like bonding, tooth whitening or Invisalign which may be better. Sometimes a combination of different options may be the right choice for you.
- The costs involved.
- The end result. Everyone is different, some people may want a ‘Hollywood smile’, whereas others prefer a more subtle natural look. It is important to determine what result you are hoping to achieve. Generally, our dentists prefer to give you the natural look where you have a perfect smile, but it does not look fake. Mimicking natural is ideal.
Once we discuss the various options, the next step would be a full examination to ensure your mouth is healthy and veneers are the appropriate treatment option for you. We would never do veneers on anyone that has underlying issues like gum disease, so it is important to get these things checked.
3) Scanning and planning
The next step is to record the starting position. Nowadays, we do this be taking a digital scan of your teeth. We will also take some high-quality images so we can assess your case properly. From this information we can design your smile accordingly using the latest CAD-CAM technology.
4) Trial smile
The next step is to show you the potential end result. We can place some temporary veneers on your teeth by simply attaching them to your teeth without having to bond them in place. This involves no drilling or major work which is great. We then take notes of everything you like about the smile and any further points you would want to improve upon. Photographs and further scans are taken if needed.
The above image shows an example of a trial smile. As you can see there are bits we can improve. We take note of everything we want to improve on, so the final veneers turn out to be exceptional.
5) Preparing teeth
The next step is to prepare your teeth for the veneers. This can involve removal of some tooth structure. Why do we need to do this? Well, this depends upon what your teeth are currently like and where we want them to be like. A veneer will cover the tooth to make it look better, so if the teeth are sticking out and you want to bring them back, we will need to remove a small portion of the teeth that are sticking out.
However, if your teeth are in a good position and you just want them looking better, they do not require any preparation whatsoever.
Are veneers bad for teeth?
If the teeth need a lot of preparation because they stick out so much, or are severely overlapped, then yes, veneers can be bad for your teeth. In a case like this we may advise you to go for Invisalign or tooth straightening. In some cases, it is best to straighten your teeth first to get the desired position and then finish off with veneers.
The damage aspect also comes down to whether veneers are placed using traditional old school techniques or modern techniques. A long time ago, the strength of porcelain was not that good, and the technician would have needed to make them thick to give them the added strength. If we cemented these onto the front portion of your teeth, they would not look great as it would make your teeth look too bulky and prominent. To counteract this, the dentist would have needed to cut your teeth back prior to cementing the veneers on, to achieve a good cosmetic result. This way is bad for two reasons. Firstly, removing enamel can damage your teeth and make them more vulnerable to fractures and decay. Once enamel is gone, it can never come back. The second big issue with the traditional technique is that the bond strength is severely weakened. Veneers bond very well to enamel but not to dentine. With the traditional technique, all of the enamel would have been removed.
With newer materials, like emax, we can make the veneers super thin – sometimes as thin as 0.3mm thick which means half the time we do not need to cut your teeth back at all. This gives the added benefit of bonding to enamel which has a much higher bond strength, meaning veneers can last over a decade and sometimes much longer. Furthermore, if you do get an issue with a veneer later, it is more than likely, a simply debond which is easy to fix. If you use the traditional technique failures of result in more complex restorative procedures.
How long do veneers last?
With traditional techniques veneers are likely to last less than 10 years. With newer techniques, stronger ceramic and better bonding, veneers can last well over a decade.
So, when you are picking a dentist, it is important to ensure they follow the latest techniques as there are big differences in the quality of work you are getting.
How do you get veneers to look natural?
One of the biggest fears about getting veneers is that people do not want them to look fake. Don’t get me wrong, some people like the fake look where the teeth look big, bright, white, and false but, most people want a discrete look that achieves a perfect, natural-looking smile – here is how we achieve it:
1. The Colour
Depending on your age, the colour of your natural teeth and skin colour we would recommend using a shade between B1 – A2 and certainly no higher than OM3.
2. Translucency vs opacity
When a material is opaque it blocks light shining through it. Translucency is the ability of light to shine through the material.
If you look at natural teeth, they will have some degree of translucency where light shines through them nicely. In order to mimic nature, we plan to allow some degree of translucency with the veneers. When veneers look fake, they are probably too opaque. If your teeth are too dark in colour, it is always best to whiten them first, then we can make the veneers a little bit more translucent. If we did not whiten them first, it would mean we would have to use opaque veneers to mask the discolouration. This can lead to a poorer aesthetic outcome.
The morphology of the teeth must be spot on to make the veneers look natural. A skilled laboratory technician will know exactly how to do this.
If you look very closely at natural teeth, you will see that they have some degree of microtexture and leaving this off veneers is a tale tail sign that your teeth are made from porcelain. Microtexture is important, more for younger patients but also if you are matching one or two veneers with natural adjacent teeth.
As you can see there is a lot involved in designing your perfect smile, so it is best not to always go for the cheapest option. Ask your dentist questions to see how much confidence they have in discussing the various types of veneers and you will be able to see if they have the confidence to discuss the fine details with you. If you are interested in improving your smile, call us on 020 8629 1433 and we would be happy to help.