There’s now a fast and easy way to remove your veneers without drilling. Here’s how.

dental-denture

Porcelain dental veneers are attached over the front of your teeth to enhance your smile and appearance. With proper care, they are durable and can last up to 10 - 30 years. However, over time, these veneers may be damaged or discoloured and require removal or replacement. Some patients may also choose to have their veneers replaced for personal preferences. 

Traditionally, the removal of dental veneers require the use of a drill which has scared many patients off. Here’s the good news — removing your veneers or even dental crowns is now hassle free with a new hard tissue laser that does the job safely without damaging your natural teeth. Let us explain more. 

Why do I need to remove/replace my dental veneer? 

Usually, there would be no need to remove your veneers if they are of good quality and properly fitted. However, you may need to remove or replace them in the following circumstances:

Cracks or damages to the veneer

While porcelain veneers are highly durable, they can be vulnerable to damage, especially if you chew on hard foods or apply excessive force to them. The cracked or broken veneer has to be replaced in order to protect the underlying tooth. 

Here are some reasons why a dental veneer replacement is needed:

Decay or damage to the underlying tooth

Veneers only cover the front side of the teeth, which means the exposed areas of the underlying teeth are still prone to damage or decay. In the case that the underlying tooth is damaged or decayed, you will need to remove the veneer that covers it so that it can be repaired. 

Loosening of the veneer 

The dental cement that holds the veneer in place may deteriorate over time, which causes loosening of the veneer. When a veneer is loose, the gap may cause bacteria or plaque to accumulate behind the veneer. Hence, your dentist will have to remove the veneer in order to prevent damage or decay to the underlying tooth. 

Dental stains 

Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains, but the surrounding natural teeth may become discoloured such that there is a distinct difference between the natural tooth and the tooth with the veneer. Veneers cannot be whitened, and whitening the natural tooth may result in greater distinction. Hence, the best option is to replace the veneer. 

Poor Fitting Veneers

Poor fitting veneers can result in the gums constantly swollen or bleed upon touching. This is may be due to a gap between the veneer and your tooth that can harbour bacteria causing your gums to be inflamed. 

Personal preference/improvement 

Some patients may simply dislike the current look of their veneers and would like to improve them. 

Find out how to prevent cavities with veneers and how to prevent your veneers from staining. 

Lady smiling widely showing white teeth

How do I remove/replace my dental veneer?

Veneers typically have to be replaced about 10 - 30 years after they were put in place. The traditional process of replacing veneers starts with grinding away and refining the tooth surface. Then, a mould of the teeth is taken to create new veneers, and these new veneers are rebonded back onto your teeth. 

The most common method of removing veneer is using a high-speed handpiece with a diamond. However, this method usually damages the underlying tooth and can be difficult or time-consuming to carry out., 

Recently, there is a new erbium laser technology that can be used to safely debond porcelain veneers. Studies have shown that this laser technology will not damage the underlying tooth because the energies used for debonding are up to 20 times less than what is needed to ablate enamel and dentin. Basically, the laser penetrates the veneer surface and de-activates the cement. This new laser technology at Dental Designs allows for easy removal of veneers, rather than having to drill it off. 

How is this veneer laser removal procedure carried out? 

A high powered, low frequency laser is activated without in a contactless manner. The laser energy penetrates the veneer material and deactivates the bonding interface between the tooth and the veneer. A wave-like motion is done repeatedly until the veneer detaches from the tooth surface. In some circumstances, the veneer may be “locked in” which may require a drill to separate the veneer into small pieces for removal. 

In most cases, the veneers removed by an erbium laser either simply pops out or cracks so we can remove the pieces easily. Occasionally they may disintegrate, but under no circumstances will the tooth underneath be damaged. 

To illustrate better, we have recorded a video filmed in real time at x4 speed. 

Do you have any questions for us? Please feel free to ask away and our dentists are more than happy to assist you. 

References 

  1. Spitz, S. D. (2008). Lasers in prosthodontics: clinical realities of a dental laser in a prosthodontic practice. Alpha Omegan, 4(101), 188-194.
  2. van As, G. A. (2013). Using the Erbium Laser to Remove Porcelain Veneers in 60 Seconds. Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, 28(4).

How many veneers do I need?

doctor-holding-on-dental-crowns-in-different-shades

Your smile is one of the first few things people notice about you. Several studies have shown that people with straight, healthy-looking teeth are perceived as more successful, and about two-thirds of people are more likely to remember attractive features. In other words, a nice smile is important, and teeth are definitely a standout feature. 

If you suffer from not-so-perfect looking teeth and are looking for an alternative to orthodontic solutions, porcelain veneers may be what you need. These dental restorations, which fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry, are typically used to disguise discoloured teeth, restore broken, chipped or damaged teeth, close gaps and correct gummy smiles. In fact, whenever we do smile makeovers for patients, porcelain veneers are almost always a staple in the process. 

How do veneers work? 

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain placed over your teeth to recreate the natural look of teeth and improve the appearance of your smile. Think of them as protective guards and faster alternatives to dental treatments. For example, if you have a discoloured tooth, instead of going through the teeth whitening process, a veneer can easily be placed over the existing tooth. While doing so will not rectify the issue with the tooth, it will still give you a new and improved smile. 

So with that said, if you have severe and/or underlying dental issues like gum disease, tooth decay or even a very huge crack in your tooth, veneers might not be suitable for you. Generally speaking, porcelain veneers do not really carry functional purposes and are more suited for aesthetics. The ideal candidate is someone who doesn’t have extensive damage to their teeth but wants to perfect their smile in a relatively non-invasive manner. 

If you have a very large cavity or crack and wish to restore your tooth’s health with the aesthetic benefits of a veneer, consider a crown instead. Unlike porcelain veneers, dental crowns cover the entire tooth as opposed to just covering the surface of the tooth. Due to their ability to protect the weak tooth and allow the tooth to gain its strength back without becoming further damaged, dental crowns are often put in place after root canal treatment. 

This article on the differences between dental veneers and crowns will tell you more! 

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

xray-picture-of-a-human-head-showing-teeth

Do you have to get veneers on all teeth?

The short answer is no, you do not have to get veneers on all teeth — but this highly depends on your goals. Most patients choose to get four veneers only, or veneers on teeth that are most visible when you smile, which in this case are your first four front teeth. These patients usually already have back teeth that are aligned properly and front teeth with imperfections they want to correct. 

Sometimes six veneers are chosen, and this consists of the four front veneers as mentioned and another two for each canine. Again, this is entirely up to your preference. 

Conversely, if you are looking for a smile makeover, then anywhere from 8-10 veneers are common; but this again depends on the issues present and the final look you desire. Of course, if there is just one tooth you’d like to fix, then a single veneer is just as fine. 

How many veneers should I get?

Here’s a rough guide to determine how many veneers you need;

  1. Look in the mirror and smile as you usually would. How big is your smile, and how many teeth show? 
  2. Do you want overall whiter teeth when you smile? 
  3. Do you want to change the shape, size, contour of your teeth and how many? 

These points should give you a gauge on the number of veneers you should get; but your dentist should be able to advise better. If this is your first time getting veneers, we recommend starting with a conservative amount first since veneers are irreversible. You can always choose to get more in the future. 

Lastly, do take note that although veneers last relatively long (up to 15 years), you still have to commit to good oral hygiene habits and be careful of activities that may compromise the longevity of your restorations, such as smoking. 

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

References

  1. Batwa W. (2018). The Influence of the Smile on the Perceived Facial Type Esthetics. BioMed research international, 2018, 3562916. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3562916
  2. Xing, W., Chen, X., Ren, D., Zhan, K., & Wang, Y. (2017). The effect of ceramic thickness and resin cement shades on the color matching of ceramic veneers in discolored teeth. Odontology, 105(4), 460–466. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10266-016-0287-9

Do veneers stay white and will I still be able to drink my coffee?

young smiling woman drinking coffee in the morning

If you’re a regular coffee or tea drinker, you probably would know by now that these drinks contain tannin that can turn your teeth yellow over time. But do the staining effects apply the same for veneers? 

The good news is dental veneers are stain resistant, so you can still enjoy a cup of Joe everyday and no need to worry about your veneers changing colour. However, an excessive amount of coffee, tea and even cola can stain the bonding agent used to cement the veneers to your teeth. The material of your veneers plays a huge part too. 

Do porcelain veneers stain? 

Porcelain veneers are the most aesthetic and least harmful. They are extremely biocompatible, which means they rarely injure gum tissues and surrounding soft tissues in your mouth. Out of all veneer materials, porcelain veneers are also the strongest, longest lasting and least likely to stain. 

If you are an avid coffee drinker, you might not want to choose composite resin veneers. Composite resin veneers are made of inorganic and organic materials, and the bonding material is the same material used to make dental fillings. While strong, less invasive and not as expensive, composite resin veneers are more prone to stains over time. 

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

How do I prevent my veneers from staining? 

Although dental veneers do not stain as easily as natural teeth, they can still become discoloured over time. To prevent staining, you should: 

Avoid food and drinks with staining agents 

Needless to say, the best way to prevent your veneers from staining is to avoid substances that are notorious for their staining effects, such as coffee, wine and tea. However, if you have to consume them, do so with a straw. With a straw, the liquid bypasses your teeth, preventing staining. 

Avoid smoking 

Technically, you can smoke after getting dental veneers as veneers are good at withstanding the effects of tobacco. However, smoking can stain the composite that attaches the veneer to your corresponding tooth, causing the edges of your tooth to look brownish. Moreover, smoking may potentially cause damage to your teeth and gums and cause other dental problems, such as gum disease. When this happens, your veneers may need to be removed to treat the underlying tooth structure. 

For these reasons, we recommend kicking the habit of smoking entirely before receiving veneers or any dental restoration work. 

Practice good oral hygiene 

This includes flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day for 20 minutes. Regular toothpaste will suffice; while whitening toothpaste is preferred by many, it is actually quite abrasive and can wear down the resin on your veneers. If you are eating out, remember to rinse your mouth after. While dental veneers cannot develop decay, the teeth underneath and around them can. Any decay or periodontal disease will end up affecting your veneers. It is also good practice to visit the dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and to check the condition of your veneers. 

side-view-woman-face-smiling-with-dental-floss

Wear a mouthguard 

If you play contact sports or grind your teeth at night when you sleep (bruxism), consider wearing a mouthguard. Teeth that experience trauma or damage from injury can become discoloured due to ruined dentin. The dentin turns yellow, causing the veneer to appear discoloured. 

Can veneers be whitened? 

Unfortunately, veneers —including porcelain veneers— do not respond well to teeth whitening treatments. The same goes for dentures, crowns or implants. It is, however, possible to whiten veneers to your desired colour before installing them. Thus, if you whiten them ahead of time, you can count on them to maintain their colour most of the time. 

However, you’d want to choose a shade that matches your neighbouring teeth, because the point of veneers is for them to look natural. In this case, you can either opt to have your natural teeth whitened first before choosing your desired veneer colour, or take care of your teeth to prevent stains. This way, you don’t have to replace your veneers in order to match your natural teeth colour. 

While you may be unable to whiten dental restorations with teeth whitening treatment, professional cleanings can help remove surface stains and keep them looking pristine — so again, don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly. 

Have questions? Read about what happens to your teeth under veneers. 

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

References 

  1. Guler, A. U., Yilmaz, F., Kulunk, T., Guler, E., & Kurt, S. (2005). Effects of different drinks on stainability of resin composite provisional restorative materials. The Journal of prosthetic dentistry, 94(2), 118–124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prosdent.2005.05.004
  2. Bagheri, R., Burrow, M. F., & Tyas, M. (2005). Influence of food-simulating solutions and surface finish on susceptibility to staining of aesthetic restorative materials. Journal of dentistry, 33(5), 389–398. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2004.10.018

Do veneers ruin your teeth?

Female having a toothache

A common question patients have when installing dental porcelain veneers is whether this smile transformation procedure will ruin their teeth. That is a valid concern since dental veneers involve removing some natural tooth enamel, a substance on our teeth that acts as a protective barrier against acid and bacteria. When enamel is lacking due to damage or decay, our teeth become more sensitive — which explains why we experience sensitivity when eating hot and/or cold food.

The answer is no, dental veneers will not ruin your natural teeth as long as they are installed properly and you upkeep proper dental hygiene. We also try to keep the amount of enamel removed as low as possible. But there are certain factors that can cause your veneers to break down, which will, in turn, affect your teeth.

Are veneers suitable for everyone?

Veneers are thin porcelain shells placed over your teeth to change the shape, size and colour of your teeth. They are commonly made from either ceramic or porcelain. You are a perfect candidate for porcelain veneers if:

However, do take note that veneers only act as aesthetic cover-ups and do not carry any functional use. In other words, they do not actually straighten your teeth or close the gap in your teeth; they merely give the impression that you have straight, healthy teeth. So with that said, dental veneers like porcelain veneers are a poor option if you suffer from gum disease, have weak teeth or have other underlying dental issues. They are also not suitable if you tend to grind your teeth repeatedly.

Not sure whether to get veneers or crowns? This article on dental veneers vs. dental crowns might help.

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

Dental Veneers Illustration

Can I still get cavities with porcelain veneers?

Yes, it is possible that you can still get cavities even with porcelain veneers. There are a few reasons why.

  1. Veneers only cover the front part of a tooth, so the tooth’s back side still remains exposed to bacteria and plaque.
  2. You do not floss and brush properly, causing decay to form around and under the veneer. This is made worse if your diet is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  3. If your veneer was not bonded properly, bacteria can grow and spread around it, affecting your natural teeth.
  4. As mentioned, porcelain veneers do not cure teeth of pre-existing problems like decay, gum disease and weakened dental enamel. Being on long-term medication with side effects like dry mouth may also greatly increase the risk of cavities in veneer-supporting teeth.

How can I prevent cavities with porcelain veneers?

The best way to take care of your teeth and veneers is to ensure excellent oral hygiene. That includes:

Brushing twice a day and flossing regularly

Ideally, you should floss or rinse your mouth after every meal to get rid of food debris stuck between your teeth. Make sure to brush for two minutes each time and do not neglect the backs or area along the gum line. A manual toothbrush is fine, but it’d be better if you can get an electric toothbrush as it’s easier to reach harder-to-reach areas with an electric toothbrush.

Avoid hard, sticky food or food that stain

These include nuts, bones, raw vegetables like carrots (hard food), candy (sticky food) and coffee, tea, wine and tomatoes (staining food). Even chewing on ice is a no-no! In the same vein, you should not use your teeth as a tool to open bottles or anything that involves biting down.

Avoid grinding your teeth

Grinding your teeth can damage porcelain veneers, leaving you susceptible to decay. Generally, it’s not advisable for those with bruxism to get this restoration, but if you must, get a night guard from your dentist.

Visit your dentist every 6 months

We encourage everyone to visit their dentist every 6 months for a thorough cleaning session; this is especially important if you have veneers. You should also get your dental veneers done by a cosmetic dentist who has a good track record. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist for pictures, their past veneer cases and if this procedure is even suitable for you to begin with. A good dentist should be someone who cares about your oral health and appearance instead of merely trying to sell you a service.

Have more questions? Read about how dental veneers are made to match our face and teeth.

Find out more about Dental Veneers with Dental Design today!

References

  1. Jordan A. (2015). Clinical aspects of porcelain laminate veneers: considerations in treatment planning and preparation design. Journal of the California Dental Association, 43(4), 199–202.
  2. Burke F. J. (2012). Survival rates for porcelain laminate veneers with special reference to the effect of preparation in dentin: a literature review. Journal of esthetic and restorative dentistry : official publication of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry ... [et al.], 24(4), 257–265. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8240.2012.00517.x

What happens to your teeth under veneers?

If you are familiar with how veneers work, you should know that they are excellent choices for smile makeovers. One of the most common questions we receive at Dental Designs about veneers is what happens to teeth under porcelain veneers — will they rot, be ruined or suffer damage? The good news is when fitted properly by an experienced dentist, veneers will not harm your teeth and your teeth will stay strong and healthy — although that largely hinges on your oral hygiene.

In this article, we’ll discuss the impact of veneers on teeth, the advantages of having porcelain veneers and how to avoid tooth decay with veneers.

Do veneers compromise natural teeth?

Veneers are designed to address common cosmetic issues such as discoloured/stained teeth, broken teeth, gapped teeth and misaligned teeth, which if unaddressed might cause dental issues in future. Often, patients think veneers might harm their teeth in the long run due to how they work. In order to effectively place veneers on your teeth, some of the tooth’s surface has to be partially removed as part of the tooth preparation process. Typically, about 0.5mm of enamel is required.

At Dental Designs, we always prefer to take the most conservative option to achieve your aesthetic goals. Therefore, if your concerns are mostly about the colour of your teeth, whitening alone might be sufficient to meet your goals.

Once the preparation is done, your custom-designed porcelain veneers are bonded to the tooth’s surface with a highly adhesive material known as bonding cement, which hardens under a special type of light. The veneer then clings tightly onto your tooth, which not only covers up any existing imperfections but protects your tooth from bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

Patients do not have to worry about the adhesive material used to bond veneers to teeth as it is not harmful. Secondly, porcelain veneers are not made up of enamel-like natural teeth. This provides two advantages:

  1. They do not stain like natural teeth, even from strong staining agents like coffee or tea
  2. They are extremely durable, which means they are more resistant to damage than natural teeth

At Dental Designs, our veneers are made of the finest ceramics fabricated from natural high-purity feldspar found in Sweden and Norway.

What are the benefits of porcelain veneers?

Whiter and brighter teeth

Our teeth will inevitably discolour over time due to factors like ageing, smoking and our diet. While teeth whitening is an option for those who desire whiter teeth, is it not suitable for everyone and must be done regularly to prevent stains from reappearing. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are largely stain resistant and maintain their pristine colour for years.

Correct minor cosmetic dental issues

If you have slightly crooked or gapped teeth and do not wish to go through the process of undergoing braces or Invisalign, porcelain veneers can do the job. But instead of changing the position of your teeth as with orthodontics, what veneers does is to cover the front surface of teeth so your teeth appear straight.

Protect tooth enamel

Bacteria and acid from food can damage tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay over time. Excessive teeth grinding can also cause damage to the enamel and even lead to fractures or chips in the teeth. Veneers help cover damaged or weakened teeth and offer additional protection against tooth decay. However, even with veneers on, it is recommended to practice good oral hygiene and prevent grinding your teeth to preserve the longevity of your veneers.

What steps can I take to prevent tooth decay?

Firstly, practising good oral hygiene is imperative. Brush and floss at least twice everyday — many patients neglect to floss regularly, but not doing so can actually cause decay to build up between the teeth. Once this happens, the decay attacks the natural tooth enamel at the ends of the veneer and causes a cavity. As cavities under cosmetic restorations often go unnoticed, most patients do not realise they have one until they experience discomfort. At this stage, the cavity will threaten the long term health of your teeth and potentially shorten the lifespan of your veneer.

It is also recommended to see your dentist every six months for dental checkups and cleanings to ensure that your veneers are in pristine condition. Your oral hygiene habits do not change with cosmetic restorations on and should even be stepped up to ensure their longevity.

If you are considering porcelain veneers to treat any physical and/or aesthetic issues with your teeth, our experienced dentists can help.

References

  1. Beier, U. S., Kapferer, I., Burtscher, D., & Dumfahrt, H. (2012). Clinical performance of porcelain laminate veneers for up to 20 years. The International journal of prosthodontics, 25(1), 79–85.
  2. Layton, D. M., & Clarke, M. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the survival of non-feldspathic porcelain veneers over 5 and 10 years. The International journal of prosthodontics, 26(2), 111–124. https://doi.org/10.11607/ijp.3202

Underbite and Invisalign — Can Invisalign fix my underbite?

An underbite is a dental condition characterised by the misalignment of the upper and lower front teeth. It is classified as a Class III malocclusion. Due to the way an underbite presents itself (lower teeth stick out in front of the upper front teeth), it can greatly impact the self-esteem of patients depending on the severity. Some cases are mild and barely noticeable, while others are so severe the lower teeth protrude out by quite a fair degree.

An underbite is also more than just a cosmetic issue; if you have an underbite, you may find that you experience problems such as:

What causes an underbite?

Several factors can cause an underbite, including:

Poor childhood habits

Childhood habits like excessive thumb sucking, using a pacifier after age three, long-term bottle feeding and pushing on the front teeth with the tongue (tongue thrusting) can increase the risk of developing an underbite.

Genetics

Underbites affect between 5-10% of the population, and in most cases, they are inherited. If at least one person in your family has it, then you are more likely to get an underbite too. This is because genetics play a huge role in a person’s jaw, facial structure, tooth shape and size.

Injury or trauma

Injury or trauma to the face can cause permanent damage to the jawbones and misalignment of the jaw. While it’s possible to repair broken jawbones through surgery, they may not necessarily fit together properly, causing an underbite.

Tumour

A tumour in the jaw or mouth can cause the jaw to protrude, resulting in an underbite.

Why should I fix my underbite?

The problems associated with an underbite can affect both mental and physical health. Here are some common issues faced:

Appearance

Underbites are a lot less common than overbites, so patients with overbites tend to be noticed more. Apart from having misaligned upper and lower teeth, patients with overbites also have protruding chins, which may greatly affect self-esteem, especially in children.

Speech issues

In order to make certain sounds like “s” and “f”, your bottom and upper teeth must be aligned properly. If they don’t align as with an underbite, enunciating words with those letters can be difficult.

Tooth decay

It can be harder to clean your teeth with an underbite. This bite condition can also cause problems such as rapid tooth wear, resulting in enamel damage. Due to poor oral hygiene and excessive tooth wear, teeth can decay faster.

Difficulty chewing

When teeth are misaligned, a simple activity like chewing can become difficult. Patients with severe underbites are at a higher risk of choking as they cannot chew their food properly before swallowing.

Jaw pain

Your jaw is constantly working to align your teeth. But when teeth don't align back, it can lead to headaches and jaw pain. Patients with severe underbites are at risk of a painful joint condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), where the jaw feels ‘locked’ and can result in considerable pain in the jaw, popping sensations, toothaches and earaches.

Can Invisalign fix underbites?

Yes, Invisalign aligners can fix certain types of underbites. Contrary to popular belief, surgery and jaw expanders are not the only ways to fix underbites. However, severe underbites might require surgery to correct the position of the jaw before undergoing Invisalign treatment. When combined with other dental treatment plans, Invisalign can also work for class 3 underbites.

At Dental Designs, our dentists will first conduct an in-depth examination of your mouth and smile. This includes using a 3D scanner to take images and videos of your teeth from all angles. If you are a successful candidate for Invisalign, we will create a 3D mould of your teeth and get your aligners designed.

How long will Invisalign take to fix my underbite?

Treatment duration highly depends on the severity of your condition, level of misalignment and level of discipline. Regardless of your teeth condition, all Invisalign patients are required to wear their aligners for at least 22 hours daily. It is this adherence that will determine whether Invisalign treatment will be successful or not.

Generally, for minor cases, the correction would take about 3-4 months, while moderately severe cases could take 12 months or slightly longer. Regardless, the time taken is still shorter than the time it takes to fix underbites with traditional braces.

Invisalign can help correct your underbite and improve your quality of life. If you have any questions, feel free to direct them to our team and we will try our best to help.

References

  1. Cakan, D. G., Ulkur, F., & Taner, T. U. (2012). The genetic basis of facial skeletal characteristics and its relation with orthodontics. European journal of dentistry, 6(3), 340–345. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3420844/
  2. Amodeo, G., Meuli, S., Carboni, A., Brugnami, F., Marrocco, S., Orsini, R., & Scopelliti, D. (2020). Surgery First and Invisalign System: Combined Digital Approach. The Journal of craniofacial surgery, 31(6), 1681–1686. https://doi.org/10.1097/SCS.0000000000006392

Can veneers last forever?

Many patients looking to change their teeth’s appearance —be it stains, gaps, chips, cracks or crookedness— often opt for veneers as a cosmetic solution. Veneers are widely known for their ability to blend in with natural teeth and their resistance to stains. Further, the process of getting veneers is a very tolerable one; patients do not require extensive teeth shaping and generally can tolerate the material of veneers well.

Most dentists estimate veneers to last about 10-20 years depending on care, and in rare cases, some claim they can last a lifetime. So how long exactly can veneers last, and what are the factors that contribute to their longevity? To get there, let’s first understand how veneers work.

How do veneers work?

A veneer is a thin strip of porcelain permanently bonded to a tooth to mask its natural shape, colour or positioning. In order for a veneer to be bonded, the tooth has to be slightly shaved down. This process is irreversible. You can choose to get one veneer or several veneers, but one veneer covers one tooth. You also have the option of getting a partial or full veneer, but this will depend on factors like your tooth’s condition, needs and budget.

On the whole, veneers are perfect for those looking for a smile makeover. However, the only drawback is that it is impossible to replicate someone else’s smile. This is because someone else’s teeth shape and size might not necessarily work for your face shape. A good dentist will know how to take whatever you dislike about your teeth and make it work for you.

Am I a good candidate for veneers?

Most people qualify for veneers so long as they have good oral hygiene and healthy gum tissue. Issues like mildly crooked teeth, discoloured teeth, chipped or cracked teeth can be fixed with veneers. Patients who’ve had thicker veneers done previously and want a more natural finish can opt for porcelain veneers too.

However, because veneers are part of cosmetic dentistry, they will not fix any underlying issues you have with your teeth. So if your reason for getting veneers comes from a bigger problem (i.e. decay, gum disease), it is best you get it fixed through orthodontics first.

Can I get veneers the same day I visit the dentist?

Usually, no. Getting veneers involves a multi-step process that’s spread out over a few appointments. This process includes a consultation on what’s possible based on the patient’s needs and wants; a consensus on what the plan will be; fitting on temporary veneers made of liquid composite that act as a blueprint; moulds and X-rays and fitting in the actual custom-made veneers.

At Dental Designs, we utilise 3D scanning instead of dental moulds as the latter can be uncomfortable. Digital scans are a lot faster, comfortable and accurate. Also, because we have our own in-house lab and dedicated ceramist, the process of getting your veneers is expedited.

Must I really shave my teeth in order to get veneers?

This will depend on the patient’s situation. But in most cases, not more than 0.5mm is shaved off — that’s roughly the thickness of a fingernail. However, if a patient has large, crooked teeth with grey discolouration for example, then a significant amount of shaving might be required to get the teeth down to the desired look. On the other hand, if a patient already has short teeth or gaps in between their teeth, then there won’t be much shaving required at all.

Are veneers permanent?

With proper care and maintenance, veneers can last for a very long time. But whether or not they can last forever might be a stretch. In fact, you should be wary of dentists who offer lifetime guarantees on veneers or any dental services in general, because there are just too many variables that are not under the dentist’s control, such as your lifestyle habits and oral hygiene.

With that said, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your veneers last as long as possible.

1. Avoid grinding your teeth

While teeth grinding is bad for all teeth, it is particularly harmful for veneers as the amount of stress caused could result in damage over time. If you have a habit of grinding your teeth especially at night during sleep, consider wearing a bite guard.

2. Maintain healthy oral hygiene

The good thing about veneers is that by themselves they do not require additional care and will not discolour over time too. However, how you care for your natural teeth will indirectly affect your veneers as well. For example, if you neglect your gum health and fail to adopt proper oral hygiene, this could cause your gums to recede. When this happens, the edge of your veneers might be obvious and thus look unnatural.

3. Avoid food and drinks that are staining agents

While the colour of veneers won’t be affected by staining agents, your natural teeth would. Over time, this could lead to a discrepancy between your veneers and natural teeth. In this situation, you either have 2 options — change your veneers and match them to your natural teeth, or bond veneers on your natural teeth to match your existing veneers.

References

  1. Farias-Neto, A., de Medeiros, F., Vilanova, L., Simonetti Chaves, M., & Freire Batista de Araújo, J. J. (2019). Tooth preparation for ceramic veneers: when less is more. The international journal of esthetic dentistry, 14(2), 156–164.
  2. Hong, N., Yang, H., Li, J., Wu, S., & Li, Y. (2017). Effect of Preparation Designs on the Prognosis of Porcelain Laminate Veneers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Operative dentistry, 42(6), E197–E213. https://doi.org/10.2341/16-390-L

Can veneers fix my crooked teeth?

Veneers are thin, tooth-coloured porcelain ceramics bonded over the surface of existing teeth. They are customised to match the shape and colour of your natural teeth; this is done so by digital scans taken in the clinic. During the process, your teeth are slightly trimmed and ‘prepped’ a little in order to shape them and create a surface for the veneer to cling to.

As such, veneers are fantastic for the following cosmetic dental issues:

In addition to correcting some misalignment and giving a smile with straighter teeth, veneers can:

Are veneers for me?

Generally, anyone with good oral health and who is committed to maintaining a new smile is suitable for veneers. However, veneers are essentially cosmetic restorations and merely hide dental issues to improve your smile; they are unable to correct any underlying causes of dental issues including poor bite mechanics.

It’s important to note that dental veneers are often referred to as “instant orthodontics”, only because they do not serve the same purpose as orthodontic treatments like retainers and braces. So while they can make your teeth appear straighter, they do not change the positioning of your teeth and the teeth underneath your veneers remain crooked. This is not much of a problem for patients with a single crooked tooth or minimal overcrowding. Overbites and underbites can work with veneers too. In sum, veneers can correct minor issues but those with very crooked teeth might want to consider orthodontic options like Invisalign instead to straighten teeth. For those who have very worn out and crowded teeth, we may do a short course of Invisalign before restoring the proper shape of the teeth with veneers.

Veneers and crooked teeth

If a tooth is partly or fully obscured by another tooth, it is difficult for dentists to apply a veneer on the surface of that tooth. Since veneers are usually implanted on front teeth, patients with overlapping front teeth should not rely on veneers to correct them. Besides, extremely crooked teeth might make the veneers look out of place in your mouth.

It is important to correct crooked teeth as they impact your health in more ways than you think.

Crooked teeth can cause:

1. Gum disease

Periodontal or gum disease is a common ramification caused by crooked teeth. Gum disease develops when bacteria in the mouth grows into plaque. This problem is made worse when gums don’t sit securely around teeth, leaving room for more bacteria to grow.

2. Difficulty cleaning teeth

It is harder to clean crooked teeth as toothbrush bristles and floss have a difficult time reaching the spaces in between teeth, leading to bacterial growth.

3. Tooth wear

Crowded teeth —especially bottom teeth— often cause one or more teeth to stick out, which can rub against the upper teeth. This can lead to tooth enamel wear over time.

4. Tooth injuries

Protruding front teeth are more likely to chip in the event of an accident.

5. Create chewing difficulties

Crooked teeth may rub together and cause jaw misalignment, causing difficulty in chewing.

6. Bad breath

Bad breath is generally caused by plaque and mouth bacteria. As bacteria tend to get stuck in between crooked teeth, this can result in bad breath.

7. A decrease in overall health

Not many realise that dental issues affect more than just their oral health. Studies show that oral infections caused by bacterial accumulation can lead to serious health conditions like stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

How can I straighten my teeth?

At Dental Designs, we recommend Invisalign to fix crooked teeth. Invisalign is a clear retainer technology that uses transparent aligners to straighten teeth and fix any bite issues. Under a treatment plan, patients wear their aligners for 20-22 hours a day and remove them only when they need to eat, drink or brush their teeth. A new set of aligners is changed every 2 weeks to further shift teeth.

Many patients with Invisalign love that the aligners are not bulky at all and do not cause sores in the mouth as compared to traditional metal braces. Best of all, Invisalign is not obvious at all and can hardly be seen. The average Invisalign treatment typically lasts between 12 to 18 months, though of course, it differs individually by case.

References

  1. Stoykova, M., Musurlieva, N., & Boyadzhiev, D. (2014). Risk factors for development of chronic periodontitis in Bulgarian patients (pilot research). Biotechnology, biotechnological equipment, 28(6), 1150–1154. https://doi.org/10.1080/13102818.2014.974328
  2. Micu, M., & Carstairs, C. (2018). From Improving Egos to Perfecting Smiles: Orthodontics and Psychology, 1945-2000. Canadian bulletin of medical history = Bulletin canadien d'histoire de la medecine, 35(2), 309–336. https://doi.org/10.3138/cbmh.237-112017

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having veneers?

Nowadays in dentistry, the options for improving your teeth are close to limitless. Whether it’s fixing a chipped tooth or adjusting the length of your gums, it can be done. In this article, I will talk about dental veneers since they are gaining in popularity. 

Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells bonded onto the surface of your teeth. These shells improve the colour, shape, size and length of your teeth. They are commonly used to fix dental issues including: 

Types of veneers

There are various kinds of veneers in the market including:

Porcelain veneers

There are a few types of porcelain veneers but essentially they are relatively strong and more expensive compared to other veneers. They also look the closest to natural teeth. At our clinic, we prefer porcelain veneers and hand-select ceramics from Norway and Sweden. We chose them because they resemble young teeth — a natural fluorescence and inner glow!

Composite veneers

Composite veneers are usually used for small chips or gaps between the teeth. They are made from a similar material as cavity fillings. They tend to discolour over time and have a dull appearance. As they usually last between 5-7 years, Dentists tend to use them as a semi-permanent treatment prior to having porcelain veneers done.

Stock-made veneers

As its name suggests, stock veneers can be applied without any preparation. This is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any anaesthesia. These “instant veneers” are no different from regular veneers in terms of success rate, except they are premade and cannot be matched with your natural teeth. However, as they are not custom-made, these veneers tend to be ill-fitting which may lead to tooth decay and gum problems in the future. Furthermore, they can look artificial and due to the lack of ideal proportions and monochromatic tone.

No Prep Veneers

No prep veneers are essentially porcelain veneers that are custom-fitted to your teeth. As the name suggests, it is a non-invasive procedure that does not require any anaesthesia. They can only be used in selected cases such as in teeth with a lot of spaces in between them.

Advantages of veneers

In a smile makeover situation, veneers are a viable option for improving one’s smile. Here are some of my favourite benefits about veneers:

1. Aesthetics and realistic appearance

One of the features that contribute to veneers’ popularity is their optic properties. This is especially so for porcelain veneers. Porcelain is a ceramic that replicates many properties of enamel. For example, enamel possesses a property called translucency, where light can enter and reflect back out. Porcelain has this same characteristic and can be adjusted accordingly by the ceramist to blend in with surrounding teeth. 

Most dental clinics in Singapore order their veneers from a lab, but for us, we have an in-house lab with our very own ceramist. No two veneers are the same; we design, hand stain and polish them individually before inserting them on patients.

2. Stain-resistance

Porcelain is essentially a glass-ceramic, so its surface is extremely smooth and impervious, which makes it resistant to stains. This means, unlike natural teeth, your veneers won’t change colour from staining agents like coffee, wine and tobacco.

3. Durability

Veneers are bonded to your underlying tooth structure, which makes them relatively long-lasting. On average, they last about 15 years and up to 30 years with good care. I’ve seen some patients maintain their veneers even longer than that! 

Now, you may ask how is it possible for veneers to be so strong and durable if they are so small? Well, this is because veneers, when bonded onto enamel takes on the mechanical properties of enamel and dentine. When you combine them together, your tooth now has the toughness to withstand forces from biting.

4. Versatility and ease of creating

Compared to crowns, veneers do not really require extensive shaping. Some ultra-thin veneers do not need the shaping of the teeth as well. But you can trust us to be as precise as possible — we use a specialised Carl Zeiss microscope with a magnification of up to 15 times. Also, the colour of veneers can be customised such that it makes stained teeth appear whiter.

5. Low maintenance

This is probably the favourite of all patients. With veneers, you only need to brush and floss regularly as you would with regular teeth. The installation process is also relatively non-invasive; veneers can be bonded without any drilling or shaping.

Disadvantages of veneers

Nothing in dentistry is perfect — that includes veneers. Here are some drawbacks of veneers.

1. High cost

Veneers —especially porcelain ones— are expensive. Each veneer can range from $1000-$1500. It will be a costly investment if you have a few teeth that require veneering.

2. Not stronger than enamel

As strong and durable veneers are, they will never be able to replicate the strength of enamel. So anything that could break or chip a natural tooth will do the same for veneers. To protect your veneers, we recommend wearing a nightguard especially if you tend to grind your teeth when you sleep.

3. Teeth sensitivity

Some patients might experience added sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages since veneers require the removal of enamel. 

There you have it — the pros and cons of veneers. Hopefully, this article helped you understand veneers better. If you still have questions or doubts, feel free to drop our team a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

References

  1. Gresnigt, M., Sugii, M. M., Johanns, K., & van der Made, S. (2021). Comparison of conventional ceramic laminate veneers, partial laminate veneers and direct composite resin restorations in fracture strength after aging. Journal of the mechanical behavior of biomedical materials, 114, 104172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104172
  2. Gresnigt, M. M., Kalk, W., & Ozcan, M. (2013). Randomized clinical trial of indirect resin composite and ceramic veneers: up to 3-year follow-up. The journal of adhesive dentistry, 15(2), 181–190. https://doi.org/10.3290/j.jad.a28883

COVID-19 and what dentists are doing for infection control

At this point, the COVID-19 coronavirus has hit more than 80,000 infected worldwide with a rapidly climbing death toll of around 2,619 people. With 34 countries and regions affected, containment efforts by medical professionals and their practices is absolutely imperative. People worldwide are largely eschewing public areas; preferring to hide away at home whilst the tide of infections subside. But is that really necessary?

The news of the South Korean “superspreader”, a lady who infected more than 300 of her fellow churchgoers, is shedding light on just how contagious this virus can be when it takes into account bodily contact within a close proximity. With that said, when visiting a dentist, close bodily contact is an inevitability. So what exactly are dentists doing for precautionary measures?

Of course, in 2020, using modern sterilization methods is a given for all certified dental establishments. But did you know that as recently as 1986, less than 30% of all dentists wore protective apparel like gloves, masks and dental gowns? Putting the coronavirus aside, there are many dangerous viral diseases like hepatitis B, herpes, syphilis amongst others that might get transmitted through contact with unsterile equipment. All dentists are vaccinated against hepatitis B to prevent potential transmission.

Sterilization of all dental equipment

Sterilization of dental instruments is also important. Before you enter a dental hall, all surfaces where bacteria might survive like the dental chair, trays and countertops are sterilized beforehand. Between each patient, dentists use heat sterilization methods in order to keep their tools clean. To sterilize larger pieces of equipment, like X-rays units, a liquid disinfectant is used to keep the environment germ-free.

Recommended sterilization methods include the use of an autoclave, which cleans the metal tools with steam under pressure. Other methods include the use of a chemiclave, which uses chemical vapor in order to kill all germs on the tools. If you don’t see an autoclave or dry-heat oven in your dentist’s room, don’t worry! Most of the time, the equipment is sterilized away from the dental studio in order to save space.

Wearing of protective apparel

All dentists, by recommendation of the CDC, have to wear protective apparel at all times during surgery. This includes a proper surgical mask, latex or vinyl gloves and sometimes eyewear. Oftentimes, you will also see dentists and their assistants using a variety of disposable protective items, such as gloves, paper drapes, disposable masks, as well as suction tube tips and needles. For various hygiene reasons, these items are not cleaned but disposed of between every patient.

 Washing hands and maintaining hygiene

It sounds simple enough, but a simple thing like washing your hands is actually a great deterrent to keeping the coronavirus from spreading. Dentists have a set hygiene routine which usually starts with washing their hands in between patients. You’ll commonly see that this is the first thing that dentists do once you enter their clinic.

Many dental procedures involve direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood and saliva. Even through protective clothing, it is possible that a miniscule bit of fluid managed to make it through and contaminate the dentist’s skin during surgery. Washing their hands and forearms with a proper disinfecting agent and water is a very effective way in removing any forms of pathogens that might’ve got through the initial layer of protection.

Should I avoid the dentist until the coronavirus scare is over?

While it is indeed scary to go for a dental procedure during this trying time, the Singapore government has stated that the chances of picking up COVID-19 from the dentist or even more crowded places like the A&E at a hospital is low. Their advice is to stick to your schedule, go for the appointment and return home quickly. They also state that with proper infection control measures, it is unlikely to catch COVID-19 from the clothes or protective equipment of a medical worker.

Remember, that as medical professionals, we are committed to ensuring your health and safety at all times. Be vigilant in this time while the virus is still going strong and adapt the necessary measures to control infection in both public and private places to keep you and your family safe and sound.

References:

  1. Us5173273a - Cassette For Dental Instruments
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    McKenna-G. Lillywhite-N. Maini - (https://www.nature.com/articles/bdj.2007.1109)
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    Jing Su-Xiao‐Hong Deng-Zheng Sun - (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00107.x)
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    Steen Jensen1 - (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/PL00012360)
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