Dental Veneers Dental veneers are also called porcelain veneers since most are made from porcelain. However, there are two types of porcelain onlays, the first of which are conventional veneers, as well as another type of porcelain veneer called Lumineers. Although both are similar, they are slightly different, and it’s important to understand these differences when deciding which type of onlay is best for your needs. Also, you’ll need to be guided by the advice of a good cosmetic dentist. Both types of veneers are versatile, and treatment is entirely aesthetic, meaning the results provided are purely cosmetic. Porcelain onlays are frequently used by celebrities, by people in the public eye or who are in the entertainment industry, but equally, anybody can have porcelain veneers. Who Should Consider Porcelain Veneers? You might want to consider porcelain veneers if you have chipped, cracked or broken teeth, or if some teeth are slightly worn down. Veneers can change the shape of teeth that are less attractive, or are too small. They can hide the color of teeth that are internally stained, and which aren’t suitable for teeth whitening. Porcelain veneers can be useful in correcting the spacing of teeth, for example, if you have unsightly gaps in between some teeth that you’d like to close or at least reduce. Another use of porcelain veneers is to correct the position of misaligned teeth, so if you have just one or two teeth that are out of line or which are slightly rotated, porcelain veneers can be an alternative to orthodontic treatment. Some people choose to have multiple veneers that will cover up most or all the teeth visible when smiling, but this isn’t always necessary, and others may only need one or two teeth veneered. Onlays are frequently used in conjunction with other treatments. They may form part of a larger smile makeover or even a full mouth reconstruction. Other procedures that may be used with veneers include teeth whitening, adult orthodontics, crowns and bridges, teeth reshaping and dental bonding. Treatment with Conventional Porcelain Veneers Treatment with conventional porcelain veneers normally requires your dentist to remove a small amount of tooth enamel from the front surface of the teeth to be veneered. It is an essential part of treatment because otherwise your new onlays will be placed right on top of your teeth and could look too bulky and unnatural. The amount of tooth material removed is minimal because the average veneer is only 0.5 mm in thickness. However, when your dentist needs to remove any tooth structure, it does mean treatment is irreversible. For most people, this won’t be a problem, but it’s important to realize that dental restorations need replacing periodically. While porcelain veneers will last for 10 years or more if they are cared for properly, you will need to budget for their eventual replacement. If you decide to have conventional veneers, your teeth will be prepared under local anesthetic, just to ensure you feel entirely comfortable during treatment. Once your teeth are prepared, your dentist will take a dental impression which is used to create your new veneers. Traditionally veneers are handcrafted in a dental lab by skilled dental technicians, a process that usually takes two weeks. During this time your prepared teeth are protected with temporary veneers. When you need multiple veneers placed, then your dentist may have done something called a diagnostic wax-up, using a model of your teeth and showing how your new onlays will look in dental wax, while other times they may create virtual representations using sophisticated smile design software. If this is the case, these designs may be used to create your temporary veneers, so you get to chance to try your smile before it becomes permanent and any minor modifications can still be made to your new porcelain veneers before they are finished and fitted. Alternatively, your dentist may have the equipment to create your new onlays while you wait, using advanced CAD/CAM technology which fabricates the veneers out of solid blocks of pure porcelain, using your dentist’s design. The advantage of this technology is that you can have your new veneers fitted on the same day, without the need to wear temporary veneers. However, sometimes a better outcome may be achieved by creating your onlays the more traditional way, so it’s best to be guided by your cosmetic dentists experience. What About Lumineers? Lumineers are still made from porcelain, but it’s a different type of porcelain compared with conventional onlays. The porcelain used is incredibly durable and long-lasting. Some people will have these types of veneers for up to 20 years, so in the longer-term, treatment is highly cost-effective. Another advantage of having Lumineers is that often no tooth preparation is needed because Lumineers are typically only 0.2mm thick, so much thinner than conventional veneers. Lumineers can be used in similar situations as conventional onlays , and it’s even possible to place them on top of old bridgework or old crowns. They might sound amazing, and they can provide excellent results, so it’s not surprisingly that this treatment is very popular. However, because they are what’s called prepless or no-prep veneers, they are not suitable for everyone. Lumineers are best suited to specific situations where there is adequate space to place the veneers without the need to prepare your teeth. If your teeth are already quite protrusive, then you will still need to have them reshaped before placing dental onlays. What About Snap-On Veneers or Press-On Veneers? You might have seen adverts for what are called Snap-On veneers or press-on veneers and which offer to makeover your smile very cheaply. These veneers are not designed to be used permanently, and are only intended for a night out, preferably where the lighting isn’t too good! They really aren’t a good solution, and cosmetic dentists frequently see people who have wasted their money on this option before deciding to have the real thing that will look permanently good for years to come. If you don’t want to spend the money on porcelain veneers, then an alternative is to have your teeth bonded with tooth-colored composite resin, where the composite resin is applied directly to the surface of the tooth to cover it up and to create a nicer shape and color. It’s the same material used to mend cavities in teeth, and while it can look great, it’s not as hard wearing or as long-lasting as porcelain.