usually named after the dental laboratory that makes them, such as Da Vinci which have been featured on the Extreme Makeover programmes...
Average Cost:From £400
Treatment Length:2-4 weeks if laboratory made or same day with CEREC
Used to Treat:Damaged, Chipped, Uneven, Worn or Discoloured Teeth
Available From:Cosmetic Dentist
Veneers are best though of as new tooth ‘facings’, which are bonded permanently to the front surface of the teeth. They can be made from composite resin or more usually a ceramic such as porcelain. There are also certain types of veneers usually named after the dental laboratory that makes them, such as Da Vinci which have been featured on the Extreme Makeover programmes.
What can Veneers be used for?
Dental Veneers are typically used to treat teeth that are stained, discoloured, marked, chipped or for patients who require straightening without orthodontics (braces). They could be used on a single tooth or on multiple teeth and can also be used in combination with other procedures such as crowns, composite bonding or to match a whitening treatment.
This lady had a whitening treatment followed by two porcelain veneers (CEREC feldspathic) on her upper front two teeth.
More before and after photos of patients treated with veneers can be seen below.
Types of Dental Veneers and Materials.
Composite Resin Veneers
These are made from a tooth coloured plastic resin strengthened with particles of ceramic. They can be made and applied directly to the tooth in the dentist chair or made by a laboratory after impression moulds have been taken. It takes considerable skill and expertise to make composite veneers ‘chairside’ and unless the dentist is particularly expert in this technique the results are usually not as good as lab made composite veneers or ceramic veneers.
Composite veneers are softer and less durable than ceramic veneers and typically will only last 3-5 years. Although composite resin materials are getting better all the time they can easily chip and can discolour or stain. Also, they may loose the initial lustre or gloss after a few years. The only advantage of a composite veneer is they may cost less and can be done in a single appointment. Of course, if the dentist has the CEREC system, then ceramic veneers can be made in a single appointment.
Most ceramic veneers are made from dental porcelain. They are much more durable than composite resin veneers and the aesthetics can be truly lifelike. They can only be made in a laboratory unless the dentist has the CEREC system in which case they can often be made and fitted the same day. They should typically last 15-20 years, won’t stain, discolour, loose their lustre and are stronger than composite resin. Typical cost for a UK lab made ceramic porcelain veneer is £400-600 per tooth.
The CEREC CAD/CAM system can allow ceramic veneers to be made and fitted in a single appointment which can be advantageous as you won’t need temporary veneers
or a second appointment. The fit of a CEREC veneer is also extremely accurate which is also key to the strength of a veneer. The CEREC system can make veneers in Feldspathic Porcelain, Empress (Leucite glass) or e.Max (high strength Lithium Disilicate). Also, many labs use the CEREC system to make their crowns and veneers for dentists who send them an impression mould. Typical fees for CEREC veneers are £400-600
Da Vinci Veneers
These are porcelain veneers made by the Da Vinci lab in California. Many celebrities have had veneers made by dentists who use this lab, hence the veneers being called Da Vinci veneers. They have been featured in the Extreme Makeover TV series. These veneers will be charged at a premium so expect to pay £600+ per tooth.
MAC is Microdental Laboratories in the US and Canada and they have branded their veneers as MAC veneers, in a similar fashion to Da Vinci. They also make veneers from other materials such as e.Max and Empress.
Lumineers 2 are made from a ceramic called Cerinate a porcelain developed by the Denmat dental company in California. It is a feldspathic porcelain reinforced with leucite which according to Denmat makes them strong even when thin. Although, the strength of all veneers and ceramics in general is in the bonding to the tooth. It is vital that the dentist properly bonds the veneers to the teeth or they will fail, no matter how strong they are supposed to be.
The main selling point of Lumineers compared to other veneers is they are very thin and often very little or no tooth preparation is required before fitting. However, this does limit the patients that can be properly treated using Lumineers and so they are often only suitable in a small number of cases. Expect to pay £600-800 per veneer for Lumineers
With all the different types of veneers and materials to make them from it must seem confusing to know which type is best for you? The best person to help you decide on the most appropriate treatment and what material or lab to use is your dentist. If you don’t have a dentist you can find one here. Also, you can always ask an expert on this site as to what may be appropriate in your situation.
Treatment Procedure with Veneers
The most important part of any treatment is good diagnosis. Your teeth should be thoroughly examined, your bite checked and x-rays taken to assess the health of the roots. Assuming veneers are the most appropriate treatment option then the following is a guide to how the treatment may be done.
1. Photographs and impression moulds should be taken of the teeth to plan the veneers. These are sent to a ‘smile design’ laboratory such as Frontier or Da Vinci in the USA. More details on smile design can be found on our ‘what makes a great smile’ page.
2 A wax mock up is made by the laboratory on a plaster model of the patients teeth. The lab will make the ideal shape and sized teeth for the patients mouth and smile taking into account the position of their teeth and any specific desires for their smile that they may have. This is often called ‘smile design’ and more detail on smile design can be found here.
3. Once the wax mock up is back from the lab, the patient is brought in to check they are happy with the proposed treatment. A written treatment plan detailing the costs should also be given to the patient.
4. Veneers preparation. There will usually be a need to prepare the teeth unless Lumineers are being used, assuming of course Lumineers are a suitable treatment option. Preparation will involve carefully filing off some of the front surface of the tooth or teeth under local anesthetic. How much will depend on the shape and alignment of the teeth, the colour, any fillings in the teeth, discolourations etc.
5 Once the teeth have been meticulously prepared, impression moulds are taken of the prepared teeth or if the dentist uses the CEREC system the teeth will be scanned into the CEREC computer.
6. Temporary veneers made from a mouldable plastic are fitted. These are usually made from the wax mock up and so can be thought of a trial veneers. Assuming the patient is happy with the shape, position and size of the temporary veneers the impression moulds are then sent to the laboratory. If the dentist is using the CEREC system the veneers can be made in the surgery and fitted the same day.
7. Two to four weeks later the patient returns and the temporary veneers are removed under local anaesthetic and the permanent veneers bonded in place. The bonding process is quite time consuming and the procedure must be meticulously carried out. The bonding is the same for lab made or CEREC made veneers.
How long will they last and how to look after them?
Properly done, ceramic veneers should last 15-20 years and should be as usable as normal teeth e.g. biting apples, corn on the cob etc.. Do avoid biting anything hard that snaps when bitten for example chocolate straight from the fridge or very hard biscuits. They should be cleaned just as if they were your natural teeth – floss, good quality tooth brush. Indeed, they should look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Finding a Veneer Dentist
As with all aspects of cosmetic dentistry, experience and skill are the most important factors. Ask to see photos of the dentist’s own work of patients treated with veneers. More information on finding a cosmetic dentist
Worn Down Teeth
Straightening twisted and uneven teeth
A tooth whitening treatment (Zoom)
and ceramic veneers for
the front upper four teeth.
Repairing a broken second incisor tooth.
You may think that to achieve this all the upper teeth would have need veneers. In fact, only the front four incisor teeth were veneered - the other teeth were whitened with the Zoom power whitening system