Dr JP Steyn is a prosthodontist specializing in the cosmetic restoration and replacement of teeth.
What are veneers?
Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin layers of life-like porcelain that are then bonded to the surface of teeth to improve their colour, shape. Also produced in laboratories, they have enamel-like qualities, similar to natural teeth.
Veneers or crowns?
Both can be used cosmetically, but veneers usually improve the appearance of teeth by improving the shape or colour. This is done by bonding thin pieces of porcelain to the surface of the tooth. Veneers can be used over healthy teeth to improve your smile. Crowns, on the other hand are used to improve the appearance of damaged/stained teeth, where there is less tooth structure available, or when there has been a root canal, and the structure of the tooth is brittle. The crown of the damaged tooth is recontoured, so a crown can fit over top.
The major difference between them is the amount of tooth structure that needs to be removed. A good reason why veneers are so popular is that very little enamel is removed compared to crowns, which require eliminating a large portion of the tooth.
Variables affecting the decision whether to use crowns or veneers include:
Your bite (occlusion)
The amount of damage to the tooth
Your periodontal condition
The patient before treatment.
The patient after treatment.
Can you tell the difference between veneers and normal teeth?
When professionally applied, it is hard to tell the difference between them.
How durable are porcelain veneers?
Like crowns, with good dental hygiene, they will last for about 10 years. They are resistant to coffee, tea and cigarette stains.
Dental veneers instead of braces
Our patient did not want braces, preferring an instant result.
Our patient wanted to have her lower teeth straightened. She did not want braces, preferring an instant result. She also requested that the appearance of her upper teeth to be improved.
A minimal part of the tooth structure has been removed to improve the appearance of the upper teeth.
Her lower teeth have been built up with composite restoration (materials) to give her the idea of what can be achieved without braces to straighten her teeth.
Temporary clip on veneers were fabricated in the laboratory and placed to show the patient what can be achieved.
The patient was involved from the beginning of treatment, until the end. The final result is improved, natural looking teeth, without the use of braces.