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!
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;
- Look in the mirror and smile as you usually would. How big is your smile, and how many teeth show?
- Do you want overall whiter teeth when you smile?
- 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.
- 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
- 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