If your teeth are stained or discoloured, slightly chipped or crooked or have gaps, your dentist may discuss the pros and cons of dental veneers with you. This cosmetic treatment fits thin coverings over the front of teeth to modify their appearance, although veneers can't treat more severe orthodontic issues.
Like any treatment, it's important to find out as much as you can about what the veneers procedure involves and what to expect after the treatment so you can decide if it's right for you. This also involves learning which common misconceptions about veneers are no longer true.
This may have been the case in the early days of cosmetic dentistry, but modern veneers are designed to look as close to natural teeth as possible.
Porcelain veneers tend to look more realistic than composite resin veneers, as porcelain has reflective qualities similar to teeth enamel, but both types of veneers can be colour-matched to your teeth or selected in the natural-looking shade you want. Porcelain veneers are also more resistant to stains, so they can retain their natural appearance for longer than composite veneers.
It's important to maintain good oral hygiene after your veneers are fitted, as if your other teeth darken, the veneers may start to stand out. The colour of veneers can't be adjusted after they've already been fitted.
The veneers procedure is carried out using local anaesthetic to numb pain, so it shouldn't be any more painful than other dental treatments.
Some people find that their teeth feel more sensitive to temperature after the enamel is removed and veneers are fitted. Your dentist will make sure you're aware of this possible risk beforehand.
Improperly fitted veneers can cause jaw pain, but this risk is reduced if you choose a suitably qualified and experienced dentist.
Porcelain veneers are stronger than composite resin and they don't damage easily, but your dentist may still recommend avoiding very hard foods and not biting your fingernails or other objects, as this could cause the veneers to chip or crack.
Veneers are not suitable for people who grind or clench their teeth (bruxism), as this can put too much force on the veneers and cause damage.
If you're fitted with temporary veneers while your porcelain veneers are being made, these are quite fragile and should be treated with great care.
It's true that some of the tooth's surface needs to be removed before veneers can be placed, so that they don't stick out, but only a very thin layer of the enamel – about 0.5 millimetres.
If you're having porcelain veneers, your dentist will then take a mould of your prepared teeth so your veneers can be custom-made and bonded into place. If you're having composite veneers, composite resin is applied directly to the tooth surface and your veneers may be finished in a single visit.
What are the alternatives to veneers?
Veneers aren't for everyone, and your dentist will explain any other treatments they offer that could be more suitable for the cosmetic issue you want to address.
If you want to know more about dental veneers so you can decide if they're the right choice for you, book a consultation with our team at Face Value Dental.
 Healthdirect. Veneers [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/veneers
 Canadian Dental Association. Bonding & Veneers [Online] 2009 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: http://www.cda-adc.ca/en/oral_health/procedures/bonding_veneers/
 Better Health Channel. Cosmetic dentistry [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cosmetic-dentistry