What It's Really Like To Get Veneers
Want new teeth? Read this first.
Celebs these days all have shiny, white, poker-straight teeth that almost defy nature - which is because most of those smiles aren’t actually natural. GASP. And we’re not just talking braces, either - we’re talking veneers.
But what are veneers? And what’s it actually like to get them? It’s time to find out.
What are veneers?
Put simply, veneers are thin layers of porcelain that are permanently bonded to your teeth, to improve the look of your smile - whether that’s by creating a whiter look, closing gaps, hiding chips, or correcting wonkiness. In other words, they can change the colour, shape, and positioning of your actual teeth. Kind of magic, if you think about it. Some people just get one or two veneers, if they’re being used to sort out a specific issue like a gap or a chip, but others go for a full set.
So… how much do they cost?
Oof. A lot. Typically prices range from around £200 - £1000 per tooth depending on what material they are made from, so it’s not a cheap option. Some dentists offer payment plans to help spread the cost - unless you’re one of those aforementioned celebs, you’re unlikely to have a casual 60k lying around, amirite?
Does the dentist actually have to shave down your real teeth into little scary nubs?
No, the dentist does not. In fact, only a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of teeth is removed. This is allow room for the veneer to wrap around your tooth, so that it looks natural and doesn’t have a sticking out or raised appearance. It feels a bit strange, but isn’t painful.
How are they fitted?
Once you decide to go ahead with veneers, the dentist will take a mould of your teeth, and discuss with you in detail how you want them to look. You’ll then come back to have temporary veneers, created using the cast of your teeth - fitted about a week later. This requires a local anesthetic in your gums, so that you can’t feel the shaving of the enamel near those sensitive nerve endings. Temporaries are used to check that you like the new look, and that the sizing / placement / colour is right. These stay in for around 5-7 days while your real, porcelain veneers are being made. They’re not as shiny as real veneers, and are a little thicker, but they give a good idea of what your new smile will look like. At your next visit, your real porcelains are fitted, which may mean bit more shaving of the enamel, and another local anesthetic. After any adjustments, the teeth are cleaned and the veneers are bonded to the tooth.
How long does the actual fitting take?
It’s a fairly long process, but does depend on how many veneers you’re getting. For one or two, you’re looking at an hour or so. For a whole set, it could be more like 5 or 6 hours.
Does it hurt?
Your mouth is numbed for the actual bonding process, so while there is some discomfort and pressure (and strange tastes!) it doesn’t hurt. However, the reaction between your teeth and the bonding cement can cause some pretty severe pain, that can last for a few hours after your anesthesia wears off. Over-the-counter painkillers are usually enough to deal with this bonding sensitivity though. If you get any pain when biting or chewing you’ll have to go back to your dentist for slight changes to the shape of your new teeth.
How long do they last?
Porcelain veneers last for about 15-20 years - niiiiiice. They do need looking after to last this long though - regular flossing, brushing at LEAST twice a day, and professional dental cleaning every 3-6 months is a must. They’re also more likely to fracture if you grind your teeth at night: sleeping with a night-guard in can help prevent this.
Should I get them?
Totally up to you - but do think about the reasons why you want them - it’s a lot of money to throw away on a whim!
- Words by Lizzie Cox.