Porcelain veneers are becoming an increasingly popular dental treatment option for those who have small, discoloured, chipped, gapped or slightly crooked teeth. Veneers are a thin, porcelain shell (like a fingernail) that are attached to the front of the teeth which can significantly improve their appearance and give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of!
Your dentist is the best person to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of veneers as well as your suitability, but chances are you’ve probably also done your own research into this treatment. There’s a lot of information out there, which is why it’s important to understand the truths versus the misconceptions about veneers.
We’ve debunked some of the most common veneers myths below to help you understand what to expect during and after this treatment and determine if it’s right for you!
- Myth 1: My teeth will need to be filed right down
- Myth 2: Veneers don’t look natural
- Myth 3: Veneers make your teeth weak
- Myth 4: Veneers are painful
- Myth 5: Veneers are fragile
- Myth 6: Veneers will fall off easily
- Myth 7: Veneers are only for aesthetic purposes
- Myth 8: Veneers are suitable for everyone
Myth 1: My teeth will need to be filed right down
The first and most common myth surrounding porcelain veneers is that you’ll need to have your teeth shaved right down beforehand. You’ve probably seen photos online of people with pointy little stumps that look like something you’d see in Jaws, BUT we can gladly report that this isn’t reality!
Sometimes a very small amount of enamel (less than 1mm) may need to be removed from the front of the tooth to allow the veneers to fit perfectly without sticking out, but there are also many cases where we can do “prepless veneers” instead. This means your teeth won’t be filed down at all, but instead the front surface will be roughened slightly with a tool so the porcelain veneers can easily attach. This ensures that minimal to no damage is done to your teeth, when done in the correct way.
Non-prep veneers require significant planning and the expertise of an experienced dentist. They will need to take moulds and/or scans of your teeth before creating custom mock-ups of your new veneers to plan the best fit and avoid the need for removing the tooth structure before the final veneers are handcrafted.
Myth 2: Veneers don’t look natural
Although in the past veneers looked fake, big and overly white, these days they’re designed to look as natural as possible and indiscernible from real teeth. They’re custom crafted to make sure they fit perfectly over your teeth, and colour matched to those surrounding. Natural results rely on the experience of a highly qualified dentist to plan the appearance of your veneers and a skilled ceramist who will handcraft them.
Porcelain veneers have a translucent, reflective surface similar to actual tooth enamel and are very resistant to stains. The key is to ensure that you follow a good oral hygiene routine after your veneers are placed, because if your real teeth become stained and darker, your veneers may become more noticeable as they will remain the same colour, and can’t be changed after being inserted. You can also restore your teeth to their brighter colour with in-chair teeth whitening or a take-home teeth whitening kit from your dentist so they continue to match your veneers.
In cases where you may still see overly white and noticeable veneers, this is often at the specific request of the patient for this style, or may be the signature style of the dentist who caters for these patients. This is why it’s important to do your research and look at many before and after photos to see if the dentist’s style aligns with your smile goals.
Myth 3: Veneers make your teeth weak
As mentioned above, modern veneers can often be placed with minimal preparation of the existing tooth structure, therefore not causing weakness in the tooth. Veneers are extremely strong and can actually provide a protective layer to the teeth.
Myth 4: Veneers are painful
The placement of porcelain veneers can be completed using local anaesthetic so it will be as comfortable as any other standard dental appointment.
If a small amount of enamel needs to be removed prior to placement, this can cause sensitivity to temperature for some patients, but your dentist will make you aware of this beforehand if they believe this could be the case. Veneers which aren’t fitted correctly can result in jaw pain, but doing your research to find a highly experienced dentist who you trust will help avoid this.
Myth 5: Veneers are fragile
Porcelain veneers are actually very durable (moreso than composite veneers), and can be just as strong as your actual tooth enamel. They are designed to function just like your teeth, with the positive of being stain-resistant.
Despite their durability, it’s still important to take care of your veneers as you would your real teeth by not biting hard objects like fingernails, or some very solid foods which can chip veneers and your actual teeth.
Veneers aren’t recommended for patients with bruxism (teeth grinding), as it can put excessive pressure on the veneers and damage them. Also, if you have temporary veneers placed while your final veneers are being handcrafted, these are considerably more fragile so extra care should be taken.
Myth 6: Veneers will fall off easily
Some people assume that veneers will easily become loose and fall off, which isn’t the case when placed carefully by an experienced dentist. Cementing the veneers on with care and precision can keep them in place for as long as 20 years when they’re well looked after.
Myth 7: Veneers are only for aesthetic purposes
Although the main reason for getting veneers is usually to enhance the appearance of your smile, veneers can also be an effective option for repairing broken teeth or those with cracks and chips.
Restoring teeth that are further damaged or decayed though may instead require another type of dental treatment, such as a dental crown.
Myth 8: Veneers are suitable for everyone
It’s often assumed that veneers are an instant, fix-all solution for every patient who wants to improve the appearance of their smile. Although they’re a fantastic option in many cases, for patients with active gum disease or tooth decay, these issues will first need to be treated by your dentist before placing veneers.
Healthy teeth and gums are very important prior to undergoing cosmetic dental treatments, as it’s crucial that you don’t cause these issues to become worse by completing another treatment. By visiting one of our Gold Coast dentists for a complimentary cosmetic consultation, we can determine if porcelain veneers are a suitable option for your unique needs and smile goals.
Best alternatives to porcelain veneers
Often, depending on your desired result and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may offer you alternative options to veneers for specific concerns such as for:
- Whiter teeth: In-chair teeth whitening or a take-home whitening kit if you’d like to change the shade of your teeth but don’t need to alter the shape
- Fixing small chips or cracks: Composite bonding on the edges or surface of the teeth as a more affordable way to fix these minor issues
- Weaker teeth: If you want to change the appearance of your teeth but don’t have enough tooth enamel left to support veneers, a dental crown could be a better alternative.
Gold Coast Veneers
To find out which cosmetic dental treatment is most suitable for your needs, it’s best to make an appointment with our Gold Coast dentists so we can examine your teeth and create a customised treatment plan together for the best outcome for your oral health!