Veneers are carefully crafted coverings attached to the front of your teeth. They’re generally used to make your teeth look better – not to repair damage.
Here are some common questions answered, with help from Dentist Allison Hughes.
What are veneers?
Veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment used to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile line.
They’re basically realistic coverings, made from thin layers of porcelain (ceramic) or composite resin (plastic and glass), and bonded to the front surfaces of your teeth.
Dentists can customise veneers to either match your existing teeth in colour, size and shape – or change the shape, colour and size of your teeth entirely.
When are veneers needed?
The main purpose of veneers is to improve the aesthetics of your natural teeth.
If you have good oral hygiene and gum health, veneers can help you:
- Close small gaps between teeth
- Correct minor misalignments
- Improve the colour of your teeth
- Restore the appearance and function of chipped, worn teeth or extensively filled teeth
- Rejuvenate the overall appearance of the smile
- Improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth where orthodontics (brace) treatment is unsuitable or not appropriate
How much do veneers cost in Australia?
How much veneers cost will vary depending on what the veneers are made of.1
- Composite resin veneers cost from $200 to $600 per tooth.
- Porcelain veneers cost from $700 to $2,000 per tooth.
How can I cover the cost of veneers
Medicare doesn't cover the cost of most dental services the way it does with other health services.
However, HBF extras cover can help pay for veneers if you get extras cover that includes cover for major dental treatments.
Learn more about dental cover
How do veneers work?
To get porcelain (ceramic) veneers on your teeth, you’ll visit the dentist twice.
On the first visit, your dentist will numb your teeth and gently reshape your tooth’s surface. A thin layer of enamel will be removed from your tooth to make space for the new veneer.
Your dentist will then take an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory where your veneers will be manufactured according to your dentist’s prescription.
A temporary veneer may be placed to protect the newly prepared tooth until your next appointment.
During your second visit, approximately 10-14 days later, your dentist will numb your teeth and remove the temporary veneer (if required). They’ll also make sure that the new veneer is the right fit and colour and that you are happy with the appearance.
Next, your tooth will be cleaned, polished, and etched. Etching microscopically roughens the surface of the tooth to help with adhesion.
A bonding cement (glue) is then applied to the veneer which is then fitted onto your tooth. The veneer is set using an ultraviolet light. When the veneer is set, your dentist will check your bite and make any adjustments. You may need to return for a review appointment a few weeks later.
Composite veneers (also called resin veneers) generally require one visit to the dentist because the veneers are made on-site using the same type of material as tooth-coloured fillings.
Your tooth will be numbed and prepared in the same way as a porcelain veneer, however a temporary veneer is not required.
Once tooth preparation is completed, the tooth surface is etched, and the bonding adhesive applied. Your dentist will then apply the composite filling material to your tooth surface and shape the new veneer. Once the shaping is complete, the veneer is polished so that it feels smooth and glassy to the touch.
If you’ve have had multiple veneers, you may need to return for a follow up appointment.2
Does getting veneers hurt?
Good news – Hughes says it’s unusual to experience any pain. A local anesthetic will usually be given to ensure you are comfortable during treatment.
Caring for your veneers
You should look after your veneers in the same way you look after your regular teeth by:3
- brushing twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste
- flossing daily
- avoiding drinking too much coffee or tea
- avoiding biting or chewing your fingernails which can cause veneers to chip
- avoiding hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
How long do veneers last?
If looked after properly, porcelain veneers usually last between seven to 15 years before they need replacing.
Porcelain veneers generally last longer than composite veneers. However, they can be easily damaged by habits such as fingernail chewing, grinding or clenching your teeth.
If damaged, porcelain veneers need to be replaced because they’re difficult to repair.
Composite veneers are less durable than porcelain veneers. On average, they last between 5 and 7 years similar to normal fillings but may need repolishing from time to time.
If chipped, composite veneers can be repaired or replaced depending on the extent of the damage.
Other reasons why you may need to replace your veneers include:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Normal wear and tear
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Tooth injuries
- Improper tooth preparation
- Chipped or cracked veneers from biting on excessively hard foods
- Loose veneers due to improper installation
- Natural movement of teeth over time
- Darkening or staining of veneers
Dental cover to keep you smiling
Stay fresh, clean, and bright with HBF dental cover. Explore our extras cover now and find our best options for your needs.
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This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.