Dental veneers: pros and cons

Veneering, veneers, lumineers, tooth covering, tooth onlay. In the article, we will describe them, specifying if they are bad for health and how much they cost. Veneers are thin onlays, from 0,2 mm thick, as an eye lens (lumineers) to 0,5 mm thick (veneers), which are used for covering the outer dental surface, sometimes for covering part of the inner dental surface. Veneers are used to improve tooth appearance. Veneers cannot replace the missing tooth and cannot correct the abnormal bite, but they can disguise non-aesthetic dental defects. It is possible both to make a veneer look like a natural tooth and make it as white as in a commercial. Veneers’ main purpose is aesthetics.

The veneer manufacturing technology appeared in the late 1930s, being introduced by a US doctor Charles Pincus who treated Hollywood actors and created dazzling smiles before filming. Due to lack of proper adhesive materials, veneers could keep on teeth for several days maximum. This technology can be referred to the past. A well-known “Hollywood smile” also came from the past.

Basic indications for veneering

  • Change of colour for the tooth treated for caries complications (treatment of tooth pulp canals)
  • Taking antibiotics in the course of natural teeth formation (tetracycline), fluorosis, hypoplasia
  • Dental torsiversion (crooked or reverted teeth) or dental erosion (short teeth)
  • Tremas and diastemas (large interdental space)
  • Gingival smile (in a smile, most of the gingiva is seen) Feeble tone of skin and muscles of lower face (old man’s face). Veneers are fixed on grinding teeth to open the bite.

What is better: veneers or crowns?

Veneers and crowns are different constructions with different functions. Veneers improve the appearance of teeth and smile, while tooth crowns are fixed when a tooth is decayed due to caries and its complications. Crowns restore the tooth function and protect it from further reappearance of caries processes. The decision on what is better to use – veneers or crowns for frontal teeth – is taken by the doctor in terms of objective indications and counter-indications.

Veneer counter-indications:

  • Bruxism
  • Closed bite (abnormal bite)
  • Insufficient oral hygiene or, to be more exact, lack of hygiene.

Is it possible to place veneers if the bite is abnormal? Is it possible to place veneers if a tooth has no nerve? The final decision is taken by the doctor. However, if a patient has abnormal bite, incorrect dental prosthetics can destroy the construction and cause a maxillo-temporal joint disorder.

Veneer manufacturing

Depending on the manufacturing method and the material, veneers can be divided into direct and indirect.

Direct veneer manufacturing method

Direct veneers are made by the dentist in the patient’s oral cavity directly. The dentist uses composite materials similar to the filling materials. There are also used special composite paints to create different effects of “live” teeth. In other words, a tooth is prepared (enamel is removed) for necessary thickness of about 0,3-0,7 millimetres. Then a veneer is being formed on the tooth surface layer-by-layer, with further grinding and polishing. It is usually called tooth restoration (artistic restoration, etc.).

If it is necessary to correct aesthetics of only one tooth or correct tooth chipping, this method is ideal. Its advantage is relatively low manufacturing cost and a short period of time. The disadvantages are short lifetime, fragility of construction and imperfect aesthetics.

Indirect veneer manufacturing method

The indirect method is much more complicated – a patient will need to visit the dentist several times. But, with the emergence of 3D-scanner, a patient can see what he/she gets in the end and can always correct the shape and colour of a veneer.

In our clinic, patient’s teeth are first scanned. Then a mock-up of future teeth is modelled in advance to be transferred to the patient’s oral cavity. At this stage, we examine the shape and size of teeth and teeth preparation depth (tooth facing for veneer placing). Sometimes after this stage it is seen that teeth do not need facing at all and then it is possible to make lumineers.

This is followed by teeth preparation for veneer placement, scanning of the teeth prepared and manufacturing of temporary veneers (during the same visit) of special material poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA). The digital model is transmitted to the milling cutter that produces ceramic veneers. The next stage is removal from teeth of temporary constructions and placement of permanent ones.

Veneer manufacturing materials

Veneers can be composite, ceramic, made of zirconium oxide.

Which veneers are better?

The answer is simple – they are ceramic veneers, hybrid ceramics or feldspathic ceramics. These materials render well the colour and texture of natural teeth. They have high precision of fit to the teeth surface, what is impossible with composite veneers.

What goes on with teeth under veneers?

If a veneer is placed correctly, the teeth under it do not change. It is important to keep the oral cavity hygiene and not to forget that veneers cannot be taken off and put on again. They can be replaced only.

Can veneers be whitened?

Sadly, no. It is impossible to whiten the micro-prostheses – onlays are replaced with other constructions with a lighter shade.

Veneer lifetime

Veneer lifetime is 10-15 years. How can it be extended? Follow thorough oral hygiene. The boundary between the artificial material and tooth enamel is in the risk area where caries can develop (with lack of oral hygiene). The best assistant here is an oral irrigator and/or a dental clinic hygienist. Try not using food with high content of colouring agents and very sour food.
Veneer overload can cause chipping. One should not crack nut shells or try using teeth as a bottler opener – protect your teeth from damage.

With bruxism, it is recommended to wear for night a special mouth guard. It can also extend the lifetime of veneers.

How much are veneers?

It depends on the material used and the manufacturing technology. The cost of composite materials is from 100 Euro.
Ceramic veneers cost from 300 Euro (but their price is justified by the final result).

A separate type of veneers is lumineers.

Lumineers are ultrathin ceramic plates made by the same-name company. With these veneers, it is practically not necessary to grind a tooth and they are considered to be a Hollywood smile standard. Their main disadvantage is cost.

What do we have all in all?

Consult the dentist, take care of your teeth and we are always ready to help you get a beautiful smile. Come to our clinic.

Makarenko Maksym

Максим Макаренко Speciality: surgery, implantology, periodontology and prosthetics
Novomostytska st., 25B
Kyiv, Ukraine, 04074
Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 21:00
Sat - Sun: 09:00 - 21:00


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