In an era were a quick fix is the most important thing and people are so highly scrutinised on their looks it can be easily seen why people would turn to veneers for quick fix rather than braces.
Tooth veneers have been around since 1928 but the modern-day infatuation with perfection and symmetry have, alongside the influx of influencers, lead to a significant increase in the number of young people opting for the procedure over traditional orthodontics. Social media has helped remove the gap between the things traditional celebrities do to their bodies and what young consumers will aspire for their bodies. Influencers have no doubt bridged the gap thanks to their tighter-knit relationship with their followers than was traditionally seen by celebrities before. According to a survey conducted by Match.com (the sister company of Tinder)in January 2020, 60 per cent of men said they care most about good teeth in a potential date whilst 71 per cent of women said they cared most about good teeth.
We know the term but a lot of us don’t know what a veneer is or how the procedure works. It’s not super clear cut what veneers are. There are so many definitions as there are so many different forms of veneers. Dr Anna Breslin, 26, a cosmetic dentist based in Northern Ireland, says:
“Simply put a veneer is a very thin piece of porcelain that’s designed to address the shape, colour, spacing and sometimes even the strength of someone’s teeth. This is what makes them a great solution for cosmetic change and to restore your visible teeth.”
There is a lot of misinformation regarding veneers floating around the internet. Whilst traditionally veneers required shaving the tooth down and placing a mask over what remains, the introduction of non-preparation veneers means that porcelain places can be placed over your whole tooth without the shaving down, however, this form of treatment isn’t suitable for all candidates and your dentist will be able to best advise you on which form of treatment would best suit.
Dr Breslin says the ideal candidate for veneers is someone who’s teeth are fundamentally sound and healthy but are discoloured or a shape they don’t like, however, she notes that the increasing popularity for whitening is causing a decline in veneers as people are achieving similar results at a much lower cost and it’s easier to whiten them rather than mask them with a veneer. It’s not just purely cosmetic however as Dr Breslin explains:
“If the patient isn’t happy with the shape of their teeth then veneers are a sound option, although in most cases there is unnecessary destruction of sound tooth enamel and this can cause issues for you when you get older. The veneer treatment is irreversible when we file the teeth down. Although you can brush and floss like normal there is always going to be a risk of sensitivity because you’re filing away the protective layers of your actual teeth to replace them with a porcelain mask. Veneers can be a great option against traditional braces if the shape doesn’t perform as the tooth should.”
The actual veneer themselves are not permanent and will need replacing over time. “They’ll need replacing eventually over time. How long yours lasts depends on how they were placed and how you look after them,” says Dr Breslin.
Like all elective procedures there are pros and cons. With veneers there is the obvious advantage of having aesthetically ‘perfect’ teeth but there is also the psychological benefit of having veneers. “Even when people have sound enough tooth structure to have traditional braces the actual shape of their tooth or the colouring might be the issue there and so traditional train-track braces wouldn’t be enough to correct the issue, such as teeth that are so discoloured that we can’t whiten them like a dead tooth or one with enamel decay,” says Dr Breslin. The veneer will never go yellow so the colour of the veneer is the colour that the veneer will remain throughout its lifespan with proper care.
Traditional braces, on the other hand, are non-invasive. They take your actual teeth and move them to where they ideally should be but the obvious negative side of traditional braces is how long the process takes. “The longevity of the treatment puts a lot of people off. People today want instant results,” says Dr Breslin. You also have the issue of patient compliance. Orthodontists don’t have as much control over the treatment with braces. There’s also the risks of decline in oral hygiene through not brushing properly. This can lead to what’s called decalcification where the tooth becomes a patchy colour. If you’ve had braces you’ll know what an absolute pain it is to clean in round them.
Unlike traditional braces for under 18’s, the cost of treatment for veneers isn’t covered under the NHS. Dr Breslin explains to get them under the NHS you need to have a legitimate reason why the public health service would contribute towards funding for what’s considered a cosmetic treatment. They cost between £250-£500 per tooth depending on the material used, but this can go right up to £1000 depending on the form of treatment you go for and location.
The price of this treatment is what has caused thousands of Britons each year to travel abroad to seek out dental work at much cheaper prices. Winter Love Island’s Connor Durnam went to Thailand for treatment and season 4 islander Jack Fincham went to Turkey for his pearly whites. Dr Breslin strongly condones travelling abroad for treatment.
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“While I have seen the odd beautiful job, most are botch jobs which will deteriorate quickly and healthy teeth are ruined. You home dentist has nothing to go on – no information what so ever as we don’t have access to the records if there is any at all! We end up working partially blind even with basic check-ups. If it seems too good or cheap to be true it probably is!” says Dr Breslin.
Make sure to explore all options available before taking saying goodbye to your natural keep because as we mentioned above it’s an irreversible decision.
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