If you like those ‘before-they-were-famous’ celebrity stories, you will have seen plenty of evidence of the popularity of veneers in Hollywood. There are many A-list celebrities flashing smiles that are a testament to the cosmetic effect of dental veneers.
Designed to cover the surface of teeth to improve appearance, veneers are bespoke shells of tooth-coloured materials that are bonded to the front of teeth to alter size, shape, colour and length.
Why get dental veneers?
Commonly used on discoloured teeth where traditional bleaching methods have not been successful, dental veneers are used by dental professionals to produce nice, even, white-looking enamel.
In certain circumstances—for example, for those whose teeth are slightly malpositioned or where patients would prefer not to engage in orthodontic work—veneers can be used as an alternative method to straighten the alignment of teeth.
Yet while many people know what a veneer and the practice of veneering is, few have a true understanding of how they work.
Why they brighten your smile
The way the human mouth is constructed means that when we smile, dark shadowing appears down under our cheeks in an area known as the buccal corridor.
Most people believe their smile consists of just their six front teeth and forget about the area down the side. Yet if only these half dozen specified are given veneers, the wattage of your smile is likely impacted because of the existence of this shadowing.
To achieve the so-called ideal Hollywood grin, I recommend getting veneers attached to the ten teeth at the sides of your mouth, rather than just the front six. This fills out the buccal corridor, and gives you a wide, even smile.
Different types of dental veneers
Currently there are two different types of veneers on the market—resin or ceramic.
The resin version is most commonly used in patients who have white fillings. The resin veneer is glued to the tooth without any drilling.
While they may require more maintenance than the other variation, and will over time attract a little staining which will then have to be buffed, resin veneers tend to last between five and ten years.
Ceramic veneers offer a more permanent solution.
Similar to a false fingernail, ceramic veneers are also glued to the original tooth but are built in a laboratory.
Personally, the only downside I see to this version of veneer is that as dentists, we have to cut away tooth structure to provide space for them.
Which veneer is best for you?
Being a conservative dentist, I tend to steer my patients towards resin veneers for the simple reason that it allows my patients the chance to try out this type of technology and confirm whether it works for them.
Ceramic veneers are a much more permanent fixture where up to 10 teeth are cut away. As a result, they are also more costly.