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Porcelain Veneers: Instant Braces.

Posted Feb 21 2012 10:04am

Hi, how is your 2012 so far? Mine is great! I am pleased to share with you my 2012 first article that has just been published. The magazine is available in bookstores since 17 feb. Please feel free to email me your feedback and questions.

Some called it “Instant Braces”. Are you suitable?

Recently, one of my clients showed me a photo of herself in her twenties (she is now in her forties), and requested for porcelain veneers. Indeed, she is one of many patients today who know the benefits of cosmetic dentistry and how it can rejuvenate your smile.
Over the years, porcelain veneers have become increasingly popular and are a great durable option for changing the size, shape, position and colour of your teeth.

What are dental veneers?

There are two types of veneers: Porcelain (laminates) and composite (resin) veneers.

Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made laminates that are permanently fixed directly to the front of your teeth. They are used to close gaps, straighten teeth, replace worn edges, or mask discoloured teeth that for some reasons did not get white enough with whitening treatment. You need at least two visits before your veneers can be fitted.

Composite veneers, on the other hand, are made of resin that are placed on your teeth in one session. They are more susceptible to staining and are not as strong as porcelain veneers. But they are less expensive than porcelain veneers.

For both veneer types, a very thin layer of tooth structure ( thickness of your fingernail) usually need to be removed by your dentist before the veneers can be fitted. Veneers can be placed on a single tooth or multiple teeth.

Porcelain veneers are usually preferred over composite veneers by patients because of their closeness to natural teeth.

Why porcelain veneers?

You may consider veneers if you have the following conditions:

-Chips or cracks on your front teeth that can no longer be repaired by tooth coloured fillings.

-Gaps between your front teeth.

-Severely discoloured teeth or stains that cannot be improved with whitening procedures.
( eg amelogenesis imperfecta, tetracycline staining)

-Crowded teeth that you want to straighten or mask

-Teeth that you want alter, be it position, length or width.

Please consult your dentist to have a proper assessment before you commit to this cosmetic treatment. The best candidates for all veneers are people whose teeth are healthy and free from decay and gum disease.

Advantages of porcelain veneers
-Fast results. You can usually have your new smile in just two visits. That is the reason why some dentists call them ‘instant braces’ as traditional braces typically take one to two years. But do remember that not everyone is suitable for such quick fix, especially if your teeth are very crowded.

-Durable. Porcelain veneers are nearly as strong as healthy natural teeth.

-Natually looking and aesthetically pleasing.

-More expensive than composite veneers or other tooth coloured fillings (bonding)

-Irreversible. A small part of your teeth are removed in the process.

-Though beautiful, they are not indestructible. Just like your natural teeth, porcelain veneers can chip or break. Do not use your veneers to bite on your nails, ice, pencil or open bottle caps. If you grind your teeth at night, please invest in a nightguard.

What are new in porcelain veneers?
Some of you may have heard “no prep’ veneers or “ snap-on veneers”. These are veneers that you can ‘wear’ whenever you need. According to the manufacturers, no part of your teeth need to be removed. From my personal viewpoint, in order to maintain natural shape and size, you almost always have to remove some tooth structure and replace it with porcelain. Unless you have many gaps or teeth that slant in towards your tongue, you may end up with bulky, fake-looking teeth. Hence, be cautious if you are considering this new procedure.


A dazzling smile can boost your self-confidence, increase your chances of career success or even ignite romance. With proper care and maintenance, porcelain veneers can last you a long time while keeping your smile healthy and sparkling forever.

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