Dental veneers are one of the treatments with the highest demand in the specialty of aesthetic dentistry. And it is not surprising, because it allows us to substantially improve the appearance of the teeth very quickly and effectively. In this way, the person does not need to undergo a treatment that requires more time and achieves the dental aesthetics they want to have.
What are dental veneers and in what cases are they used?
Dental veneers are thin sheets of porcelain or composite that adhere to the visible face of the tooth to improve its aesthetic appearance. Due to their aesthetic purpose, these sheets are placed on the vestibular face of the front teeth, as they are the most visible when we smile. Therefore, its objective is not to improve the functionality of dental pieces, only to give them a more harmonious appearance.
They are elements that are created to suit each patient in order to be as natural as possible when placed next to the rest of the teeth. As we have already said, the function of these thin sheets is to beautify the smile. That is, improve the dental pieces with which we are not completely satisfied due to their color, shape, size or position.
Therefore, dental veneers are used to correct defects as common as crooked, broken, separated (diastema), stained, irregular or worn teeth. For example, veneers may be an alternative to orthodontics in case a person wants to slightly change the shape of their teeth. They can also be very effective in teeth that have calcified or darkened after having undergone endodontics. In these cases, the tooth would only regain its color through internal whitening.
Types of veneers and their materials
There are different materials with which dental veneers are made, although they all respond to the same need: improve dental aesthetics.
They are the ones that offer the most quality and durability. That is why it is the material that has more demand in dental clinics. The resistance of ultrafine veneers is due to the injected porcelain used for its manufacture. Within the veneers, two commercial brands that are currently on the market stand out: the Lumineers veneers and the e.max.
These sheets have a thickness similar to that of a lens, its thickness ranging between 0.3 and 1 millimeters so that as a general rule it is not necessary to file or alter the shape of the natural tooth. Depending on how the piece is placed on which the veneer is placed, perhaps a minimum contour of it is required, although not in all cases.
Although zirconium is a very resistant material that offers highly aesthetic results, it is used in very specific circumstances in the case of veneers. This is because their thickness is greater and they are more opaque than ultra-thin veneers.
It is common for the dentist to recommend the use of zirconium veneers if a patient has a metal bolt in their dental piece that cannot be removed. However, it is a material widely used to make dental crowns, as we have said, precisely because of its natural appearance.
Composite veneers also offer a good aesthetic result for the patient’s oral cavity, but the material with which they are made makes them less durable than porcelain. For this reason, our specialists recommend composite veneers in two very specific cases: when the correction is especially simple or when the patients are very young.
The latter is due to the fact that the treatment with porcelain veneers is best carried out once the growth has been completed, starting at age 18. However, in younger patients, it is advisable to place composite veneers, since they are reversible since they do not need a dental contour in any case. Thus, if they wish, the dentist can remove them in the future in a very simple way and then adhere to the porcelain ones.
The composite offers very real results when it is necessary to slightly modify the size, shape or color of the tooth, and also to close embrasures (small black triangles that appear between teeth). Advantages and disadvantages of porcelain and composite veneers
Since the most used dental veneers are those of porcelain and composite, we will detail the benefits and disadvantages that each of them present. As you will see below, the fundamental characteristics vary depending on the material with which they are manufactured:
Duration and resistance
Porcelain veneers have a longer duration than composite veneers, being able to resist in perfect conditions up to 15 years, and also do not lose their color or stain. This duration depends largely on the patient following the instructions of his dentist regarding maintenance and care. However, the idea that veneers are forever becoming more and more important, as there are several studies that state that these veneers can last between 25 or 30 years.
In contrast, the duration of composite veneers is a maximum of approximately five years. To reach this deadline, it is necessary to go to maintenance reviews and have the dentist polish the veneers. In addition, it will be easier for the veneers to last five years in good condition if the patient follows good habits in terms of hygiene and diet. Being the composite material that stains over time, food and drinks with a lot of colors (red wine, coffee, red fruits, dark chocolate …) as well as tobacco do not help keep it in good condition.
It is very unlikely that a ceramic or porcelain veneer will suffer any fractures. However, the patient can rest assured that any damage or damage will be repaired quickly. Composite veneers can be easily rebuilt in the dental clinic, while porcelain veneers are made in the laboratory.
It is not surprising that due to the virtues it presents in terms of strength and aesthetics, porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite ones. However, in case a patient wishes to obtain greater long-term benefits, it is advisable to opt for porcelain veneers.
This recommendation is based, fundamentally, on the duration and the result obtained with these veneers. Although the initial cost is higher, we can have them almost permanently and with a much more aesthetic result over the years.
In contrast, composite ones are cheaper but need to be replaced in less time.
How dental veneers are placed?
Whether porcelain or composite, the veneers are attached to the natural tooth of the person through a cement.
What does vary is the manufacturing process.
Although in all cases they are made entirely to measure and their shape is, therefore, personalized, the placement of composite veneers is faster and easier. It is common for the dentist to mold the material directly on the patient’s dental piece, while the ceramic ones are created in the laboratory.