Frequently asked questions about dental veneers

When it comes to aesthetic treatment, patients always ask me the same questions, both in the salon and well before the treatment, so I have decided to compile them all in one blog article.

Let's start at the beginning. Someone sees a smile on Instagram, on TV or film or maybe even in one of our before and afters, points to it and says, "I want that, how do I get it?". Sometimes it's a friend of mine. And I always reply, "That's expensive". So then comes the first question:

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a sheet of ceramic that we bond to the front of your teeth to improve their appearance, whether it is the shape, size or colour. Usually it is all three.

How is a veneer fitted?

The process of placing a dental veneer is enough for a blog article in itself, so I will try to summarise it as much as possible. If you want more details about the process, you can check this article I wrote not long ago about the provisional mock-up. Basically, what you should know is that it is a painless and minimally invasive process that basically consists of 'gluing' that thin film I was talking about onto the front surface of your teeth.

Patients eat the rest of the day's meals naturally, to give you an idea.

Does the tooth have to be ground down to place a veneer?

The golden question. Perhaps you have seen videos on the Internet of people who have undergone aggressive grinding and you think it is essential for the placement of veneers, but this excessive grinding is what used to be done in Spain to make a crown, in which the enamel was removed from the entire tooth, all the way around until it reached the gum, but it is a reality that is long gone here.

Depending on the tooth on which the veneer is to be placed, little or no carving is done. We barely smooth out the shapes so that there are no right angles, peaks or areas that protrude excessively. In fact, many of my veneer patients I don't even place a temporary and they tell me afterwards that no one has noticed that we have done anything to their tooth.

I'll show you with a photo:

How long do veneers last?

It has been scientifically proven that porcelain veneers are the treatment that lasts the longest of all those that we dentists carry out. This is due to the fact that in most cases they are done on healthy, intact teeth in which the enamel is preserved. The veneer is nothing more than a ceramic that adheres to this enamel, so if basic care is followed, they will remain that way for years.

Can I eat anything with veneers?

Absolutely yes. With veneers you can and should do the same as you would have done before with your teeth and eat as normal. And, of course, you should avoid doing the same things you do now, such as using them as tools. But you, dear reader, don't do that, do you?

I have heard that I need an unloading splint after veneers, is this true?

Absolutely right. Let me explain why. The main reason for tooth wear is nocturnal clenching or bruxism, even more so than daily use. Therefore, for veneers to last the years I have mentioned, we must avoid their damaging effects. An unloading splint is placed between the upper and lower teeth, preventing wear and tear, as well as fractures in the veneers and premature ageing of the veneers.

You may be thinking: "But Diego, I don't clench my teeth when I sleep". Many people who bruxate don't even know it, because it doesn't cause muscle pain or headaches, but most of the treatments we carry out in a dental clinic, including veneers, last between 2 and 4 times longer if the patient wears an unloading splint, according to studies.

Furthermore, and forgive me for being so blunt, as I usually tell my patients in consultation, wearing veneers and not using an unloading splint seems to me like buying a Ferrari and letting it sleep in the street.

Is orthodontics mandatory before veneers?

If your teeth are well aligned, no, it is not necessary, but from time to time we come across patients who have altered the position and therefore the function of their front teeth. Veneers are aesthetics and orthodontics are function. If this function is not correct, we will have excessive and irregular contacts in the anterior teeth and the veneers will not work. In addition, when the teeth are not well aligned, we will not be able to respect what I said before about not grinding the teeth, since the teeth that are more vestibularised (outwards) will have to be ground down a lot to level them with the rest.

Can a tooth with a veneer be whitened?

Ideally we whiten teeth before a veneer treatment, to restore the natural colour of the tooth. Once the veneers are in place, we can repeat the whitening, this will be much more effective on the rest of the teeth without veneers, but the whitening will also "soak through" the veneers and whiten the tooth underneath, resulting in a renewed and natural effect.

And... how many veneers?

For many of our patients we recommend 4 veneers, when all the teeth look nice but the incisors have suffered some trauma, or you have defects in shape or colour. Others wish to "fill in" their smile more, and we can do up to 10 or even 12 veneers to achieve this. This can be seen in the following photo:

These are just the most frequently asked questions, or the ones I get asked the most, at least, but I know there are many more.

That is why I urge you to write to us through the clinic's networks, where I will be happy to help you. And, of course, I will be happy to receive you if you would like an assessment consultation.