Your smile is one of the most important parts of a good first impression, so it’s definitely worth investing in. In today’s world, attractive appearances and smiles are considered to be a very valuable asset.

Dental veneers are an innovative and popular type of cosmetic dentistry treatment that is designed to enhance the overall appearance of your teeth and smile. Veneers are able to change the way your teeth look and make you feel more confident and happy when you smile.

We often recommend veneers for our patients who are unhappy with their smile and want straighter and whiter teeth.

How Do Veneers Work?

Dental veneers are tooth-coloured “shells” that cover the front of a tooth. They’re made out of wafer-thin porcelain or resin composite materials that mimic the look and feel of natural teeth.

Each veneer is customised to be bonded over the patient’s natural tooth – with the purpose of changing its shape, size, colour or length. They are individually designed to create a perfectly shaped, natural smile with whiter and stronger teeth.

Recent advancements have allowed veneers to possess the same translucent quality as real teeth, so even brilliant white smiles can appear more natural, beautiful and strong.

Are Dental Veneers Right for You?

Anyone with healthy teeth and gums is a suitable candidate for dental veneers. This cosmetic solution enables people to hide their dental imperfections and enjoy confident smiles with whiter and straighter teeth. People are motivated by the desire to improve the aesthetics of their mouth.

Veneers can be used to correct a number of dental concerns, such as:

  • Chipped, cracked or broken teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Stained or discoloured teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Fillings that look obvious
  • Irregularly shaped or eroded teeth
  • Teeth that look too short, small or uneven
  • Minor crowding in the mouth

Even though veneers are one of the least invasive cosmetic dental procedures available today, there are some factors that can prevent you from being a strong candidate. These include:

  • Habitual grinding of teeth and jaw clenching
  • Significant structural tooth damage
  • Active or recurrent gum disease
  • Poor oral hygiene or excessive cavities
  • Crossbite or underbite
  • Severe tooth crowding

We don’t recommend veneers for anyone with active gum disease. However, speak to your dentist about options that treat the condition and support optimum gum health which may enable you to get veneers in the future.

What veneer is best for you?

Dental veneers, or laminates, come in different types and are made differently. Veneers are typically made out of porcelain or resin composite materials. Porcelain laminate veneers are thin “shells” of porcelain that are bonded to the front of the tooth. Composite veneers are made from a synthetic mix of resin (plastic) with glass and they’re applied to the tooth one layer at a time.

Each type of veneer has its own advantages that make it the choice option for certain patients, but there is a clear-cut difference between one type of veneer and the other.

Types of Veneers

Composite resin veneers are added to each tooth in single layers, which are sculpted in place by the dentist. This only takes a single session to complete.

  • The veneers are colour-matched to blend with biological teeth
  • A light is used to harden each layer before the next one is applied
  • Finally, the veneers are polished to create a natural look

Porcelain laminate veneers are customised in a laboratory to perfectly match the individual’s colour, shape and size requirements. The entire process usually takes three sessions, including the consultation.

  • First the tooth is prepared to remove a thin layer of the enamel, to create a perfect fit
  • The patient wears temporary veneers until the porcelain veneers arrive (this usually takes a few weeks)
  • Another appointment is made to bond the veneers in place

Both composite and porcelain laminate veneers have their benefits, as well as possible drawbacks. Mona Vale Dental recommends porcelain veneers for longer lasting results and superior cosmetic results.

Choosing The Right Shaped Teeth for your face

Dental veneers are not a one-size-fits all solution, and the shape and shade that looks best on one patient, may not look right on another.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right veneer shape and shade for you.

  • When choosing the right shape it is important to consider the shape of your face, your age and your gender.
  • Veneers should compliment your face shape. For example, longer and thinner veneers can visibly slim a rounder face. But if you have a long face, then shorter and wider veneers may be perfect for you.
  • If you are wanting your smile to look more feminine you could opt for softer, more rounded veneers. Masculine smiles tend to suit more square veneers.
  • As you age, teeth naturally lose length, so lengthening your veneers can help you look younger. Also, bulking up your teeth can help smooth wrinkles around the mouth area. Thicker front veneers can also give you the appearance of fuller lips.

Choosing Your Right Shade of White

There are many different variations to choose from when picking out the right color for your veneers. You want to pick a shade that makes your teeth look bright, healthy and natural. If you go too white there is a chance your new smile will look unnatural and not as aesthetically pleasing.

How Long Do Veneers Last?

The lifespan of veneers depends on whether you have porcelain or composite veneers, and how well you care for them. Porcelain laminate veneers can last from 10 to 12 years. Composite resin veneers need to be replaced sooner, since they last for around 4 to 8 years.

If your dental veneers crack or get damaged somehow, contact your dentist immediately. Broken veneers can harm the tooth enamel or even the root of the tooth underneath, so it is important to get any issues resolved right away. Veneers can be replaced individually.

What happens at a veneer appointment 

Clinical Examination of your gums and teeth

The process begins with an initial clinical examination of your gums and teeth. A digital x-ray will be taken to detect if any of the teeth to be veneered has any form of infection or periodontal disease. If the gums bleed, a trip to the hygienist or for more advanced cases, treatment by a periodontist, is essential.

Your dentist will evaluate your smile, determine whether you’re a good candidate, and discuss the plan for moving ahead. If you need any fillings or dental implants, these will have to be taken care of first. If you are thinking about whitening your teeth it is important to have it done before you get your temporary veneers to ensure that your dentist can match the colour perfectly.

If you have any concerns, we create a digital mock-up of your new smile, so you can preview the results and suggest alterations, before we make any physical changes. This process is called Digital Smile Design.

Composite resin veneers

Composite resin veneers are added to each tooth in single layers, which are sculpted in place by the dentist. This only takes a single session to complete.

  • The veneers are colour-matched to blend with biological teeth
  • A light is used to harden each layer before the next one is applied
  • Finally, the veneers are polished to create a natural look

Porcelain laminate veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers are customised in a laboratory to perfectly match the individual’s colour, shape and size requirements. The entire process usually takes three sessions, including the consultation.

  • First the tooth is prepared to remove some of the enamel, to create a perfect fit
  • The patient has the option to wear temporary veneers until the porcelain veneers arrive (this usually takes a few weeks)
  • Another appointment is made to bond the veneers in place

At the second visit your dentist will prepare your teeth for veneers by shaving a very thin layer of enamel (less than the thickness of your fingernail) off the front of your teeth. Then an impression of your new smile will be taken to create a set of temporary veneers that will stay on until the permanent ones arrive. This trial period allows you to decide whether you want to make changes, the dentist can make slight changes to the shape i.e. squarer, rounder, more pointy etc or to the color. It’s effectively a “test drive” for your new teeth.

The final porcelain veneers will be sculpted to replicate the agreed upon temporary veneer shape and colour.

At the next visit, the temporary veneers will be removed and the customised porcelain veneers will be bonded or glued onto your teeth, completing the transformation of your smile. Your new smile is ready to go!

How to look after dental veneers?

You can extend the lifespan of your veneers by taking good care of them. This involves carefully brushing and flossing twice a day. Be sure to brush for two minutes each time. An electric toothbrush can make this process more effective.

Other steps you can take:

  • Don’t chew on hard items or put pressure on your teeth by using your mouth to open bottles, chewing on ice or biting our nails.
  • Try to avoid brittle foods, such as hard candy. If you can’t resist, make sure you chew carefully.
  • Rinse your mouth well or brush your teeth after consuming foods and drinks that stain teeth.
  • Always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports and wear a retainer or splint at night to protect your veneers, especially if you grind your teeth.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning session that removes tartar from hard-to-reach places.

How much do veneers cost?

This depends on multiple factors. Typically, porcelain laminate veneers cost around $1,700 to $1,900 per tooth. Composite veneers cost around $450 to $700 per tooth. We offer interest-free and flexible payment plans for those who can’t afford to pay the full cost upfront. Contact our team if you’d like more detailed information about pricing.

Your private medical insurer might cover part of the treatment. We can give you the health insurance item number for the treatment you have in mind, so you can ask your provider if it’s covered by your health policy.

An experienced dentist makes all the difference

Make sure you do your research and understand all your options. Remember, no one single smile fits all solutions.

Dr Alistair Graham is highly experienced in the field of cosmetic dentistry and will customise your veneers to suit your face, your preferences, and your aesthetic goals for your appearance.

Mona Vale Dental’s experienced team has been providing high-quality, cosmetic dentistry to the Northern Beaches for over a decade. We understand the importance of beautiful and healthy teeth, which is why we offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services which include veneers, implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign to help you get the beautiful, white smile you’ve always wanted.

If you’re thinking of improving your smile, want to know more about veneers or have other questions about your oral health call us on 02 9997 1100 or book an appointment online