When it comes to our teeth, multiple factors throughout a lifetime can cause blemishes, faults and discolouration of varying degrees. Changes in tooth appearance can be due to:
- genetics – Gaps, teeth misalignments and dental irregularities may be inherited.
- lifestyle choices – Coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine and some foods can stain teeth over time.
- antibiotics – The use of tetracycline in young children can cause permanent staining of adult teeth.
- injury – Impacts can cause cracks or chipping of teeth.
- age – Teeth will darken as the tooth structure matures. Similarly, older fillings will wear away over time and collect stain.
Dentists today offer a variety of techniques to improve the appearance of any superficially damaged or stained teeth and hence your overall smile, one of the most common treatment modalities being veneers. Veneers are a thin layer of material that is placed on top of unsightly teeth to improve their appearance. There are two types of veneer: composite (known as “direct”) and porcelain (known as “indirect”). Below I describe their points of differentiation.
Composite Veneers (Direct)
Porcelain Veneers (Indirect)
Other considerations with porcelain and composite veneers:
While veneers in certain cases can improve the appearance of superficially damaged or stained teeth, they are not a substitute for corrective dental treatment in individuals with severely crowded, misaligned teeth or significant jaw discrepancies. In these more complex cases, consultation and management by a specialist orthodontist is recommended.
Furthermore, the functional and aesthetic durability of veneers is dependent on the health of the patient’s gums. Therefore, good oral hygiene, through meticulous daily brushing and flossing, is imperative.
Dr Peter Huynh
BSc (Melb), DDS (Melb)
General Dental Care