A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth which is designed to improve your appearance. Sometimes a natural-colour ‘composite' material is used instead of porcelain.
Veneers can be used to fix the following problems:
- Discoloured teeth;
- Teeth that are worn down;
- Teeth that are chipped or broken;
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped;
- Teeth with gaps between them; or
- Simply for cosmetic purposes to make your own teeth look better.
Getting a dental veneer usually requires at least two trips to the dentist, however, the number of visits and the complexity of the treatment will depend on the outcome that you want to achieve.
If the main purpose of the veneer treatment is to change the tooth colour, then the process is going to be relatively straightforward and will be completed in two or three stages.
More complex tasks, such as correcting tooth alignment or covering a chipped tooth, will require more planning and testing to ensure the solution is exactly as desired.
Porcelain or composite veneers?
It will be important to decide whether you would like to have Porcelain veneers or not.
Porcelain veneers are created by a skilled lab technician, which takes time and adds to the cost.
Composite veneers, on the other hand, are built up and shaped as the dentist applies the material, so no lab work is required.
However, these are not the only things that you should discuss with your dentist.
What should your dentist discuss with you?
It is essential that your dentist goes through all the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure with you.
It is also important that any possible alternatives are discussed with you too. This allows you to make an informed decision as to the treatment going forward.
Failure to do so could be negligent if you would have chosen an alternative treatment, or would not have had the treatment at all.
It is also very important that all information addresses any problems that specifically relate to you. That includes, but is not limited to, any gum problem, teeth grinding, teeth crowding etc.
All these factors should be taken into account when recommending the right treatment for an individual.
If these problems are not addressed before the treatment is started, this could constitute a negligent treatment from the dentist’s perspective.
Dental Negligence Examples
Besides the failure to properly consent the patient, the dentist may also make the following mistakes that could constitute a negligent treatment:
- Failure to assess the patient’s gum line asymmetry. This happens when the height and shape of the individual’s gum line are not scanned correctly. In order to get a perfect result from the procedure, some patients might require to do a pre-surgery.
- Failure to do wax-up. This is a procedure of placing a model of the veneer on the patient’s teeth. With a wax-up, both the patient and the dentist are able to visualize the outcome of the actual porcelain veneer. With this procedure, complications with speech and bite can become apparent.
- Failure to use quality materials. For example, using a low-quality haemostatic agent can result in staining the veneer.
- Removing too much of a tooth mass. If the dentist is not careful, removing too much of the tooth mass can result in teeth sensitivity.
Once the veneer treatment is completed, the patient is usually required to do his/her part of the work which is maintaining good dental hygiene and attending regular dentist appointments.
You will also need to understand that the veneers do not usually last forever and will need replacing every 10-15 years even if reasonable treatment has been provided.