Whiter Teeth - Are Veneers the Answer?

In the world of today appearance is everything.

Whether it’s postings on social media, or online dating, we now have an engrained ‘see-first’ culture.

Men are reacting to this new paradigm by upping the ante on their appearance, and getting the perfect smile is at the top of the list.

In recent years, a core growth area of the cosmetic dentistry market has been veneers. Dental veneers are robust slivers of tooth-coloured material that are fitted to the front surface of a tooth to create the impression that it is whole and healthy.

Veneers are intricately sculpted from porcelain or sometimes composite resin. They are created to match the colour of the existing teeth and line of smile so that no one can tell the difference between a man made and a natural tooth.

Veneers are used for a variety of reasons; to fix broken or chipped teeth, to brighten teeth discoloured from fillings and root canals, to shape teeth and to fix gaps between teeth. A porcelain veneer can last up to 15 years before needing to be replaced.

Veneers are certainly popular amongst A-grade celebrities. Those known to have veneers include Tom Cruise, known for his million-dollar smile, as well as George Clooney and Ben Affleck. You can always guarantee that the cast of Love Island will include someone who can vouch for them too.

So are they for you?

Here we layout the main pros and cons so you can make a more informed decision…

The Main Pros

  1. Natural appearance: Porcelain is a ceramic that has many similar properties to enamel, the natural covering of teeth. Porcelain veneers are popular as they look natural and realistic.
  2. Stain-resistance: As porcelain is a ceramic, it is glass-like and has a surface which is smooth and impervious. This makes it resistant to permanent stains.
  3. Durability: Porcelain veneers are relatively long-lasting at up to 20 years (longer than plastic (composite) veneers which last up to up to 7 years).
  4. Colour versatility: The colour of porcelain veneers can be selected so that it whitens your teeth and enhances your smile.
  5. Easily shaped: Compared to crowns, porcelain veneers do not require extensive shaping prior to the procedure. Ultra-thin veneers often need no shaping of the underlying tooth.
  6. Better appearancePorcelain veneers help men with teeth that are crooked, discoloured or have small gaps between them. Veneers can dramatically change a smile, and, in the process, help improve self-confidence.

The Main Cons

  1. Permanence: Veneers are usually an irreversible process because it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell.
  2. Artificiality: Although they look realistic, porcelain veneers are artificial teeth, which may be a problem for those desiring a more natural solution.
  3. Fixed Colouring: Once you select the shade you want, veneers will not change colour. This means your natural teeth will change colour over time so you might have an uneven smile.
  4. Cost: Veneers, especially porcelain veneers, are expensive. The cost of each veneer can range anywhere from £500 to £1,000. When that gets multiplied by the number of teeth that needs veneering, it becomes a costly investment.
  5. Fragility: Porcelain veneers are tough but, as with your natural teeth, they are not impervious to chipping or breaking. Veneers cannot be easily repaired and replacing them is expensive.
  6. Teeth sensitivity: As the veneering procedure requires the removal of enamel, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and drink.
  7. You may not be suitable: Veneers may not be for you if you have unhealthy teeth (e.g. decayed,  periodontal disease), weakened teeth (e.g. fillings), an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface or grind or clench your teeth (bruxism).

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