Dental Veneers, Then And Now

Veneers were invented in the late 1920s. Clock Tower Dental in Epsom looks at how they’ve developed.

CEREC machineDental veneers are commonly used for replacing damaged or discoloured surface enamel on the teeth, especially where staining and discolouration is too significant for a teeth whitening procedure to be fully effective.

They are a popular and long lasting solution to this common problem and now more affordable than ever before.

Teeth veneers have not always been around though and were initially created to address a particular aesthetic problem.

In 1928, Charles Pincus, a dentist from California, USA, created the first veneers which were used for an actor with poor looking teeth on a film shoot. These would have been very rudimentary of course and probably provided an aesthetic benefit only.

Inspired by the visual success of these first veneers, he then developed the idea further, arriving a number of years later, at a type of veneer that could be attached using an adhesive. These early veneers were made from acrylic and were not very strong but did provide a convenient aesthetic solution.

Advances in veneer production

As the idea took off, it was only a matter of time before improvements were made in the practicality of this new cosmetic dental treatment. The most obvious area to address was in their durability and over time, veneers started to be produced in both resin and porcelain, as many are still today. Even with this new material, there were still problems that needed to be overcome. One of these was in the difficulty of keeping the veneers attached for any length of time.

A solution to this problem came in the late 1950s with the introduction of ‘etching’. This involves the use of a mild acid being used on the prepared tooth surface before the adhesive is added. By doing so, it creates a rougher surface and allows the dental adhesive to bond much more firmly. This is still widely in use today.

The next problem (and how we can help!)

Another problem for patients receiving dental veneers was the procedure itself. This still exists in many dental practices today but is one that the Clock Tower Dental Clinic has overcome, but more of that later.

Using the traditional approach to fitting veneers, it has first been necessary to shave away a fine layer from the front of the tooth of an equivalent thickness of the new veneer. This is still often true today, although a few types may now simply be ‘stuck on top’ of the current enamel where the situation allows.

Because veneers have traditionally been produced off site, this has meant a wait of usually around two weeks before they are ready to be attached to the patient’s prepared teeth. It wouldn’t be prudent to leave the teeth unprotected during this time for a number of reasons, including discomfort, so temporary veneers are usually attached. While these do offer protection for the prepared tooth, they may feel unusual and also look a little unusual in some cases. They will, of course, also need to be removed again so that the final veneers can be fitted and this requires a second visit to the dentist which may be inconvenient for some.

Where does our Epsom dental clinic differ?

Patients of the Clock Tower Dental Clinic will be pleased to hear that, if you wish to have veneers fitted, you don’t have to wait for 2 weeks and can have them fitted on the same day that the teeth are prepared.

We do this using our in house CEREC system which produces not only veneers, but also crowns, inlays and onlays in somewhere in the region of an hour. The computerised system allows us to take digital 3D imagery which is fed into the system which then prepares the restoration from a single block of porcelain. Once this has been done, your new veneer is ready to be attached to the prepared tooth and finally, trimmed and polished, allowing you to leave our surgery with a new smile on the very same day you came in! A big advantage for sure.

Follow up care

Although veneers are made from porcelain and obviously can’t decay, this doesn’t mean that you can forget about aftercare. Never forget that the veneers are attached to your natural tooth and these can suffer the same problems as any other tooth, including both decay and gum disease. Where problems do occur, they may have an effect on the stability and durability of the veneer.

We are always here to help if you feel that you have any problems with your new veneers, and we will, of course, monitor both those and your general oral health when you come for your regular six monthly check ups. It is important that you maintain excellent oral health and we would encourage you to make an appointment if you haven’t had your oral examination in the last six months or so.

Dental veneers are a great way to produce a fantastic looking smile, and, with the use of CEREC, our Epsom based cosmetic dentists are able to do this a lot more conveniently for you.

If you would like to arrange a consultation to discuss veneers or any of our latest treatments, please call for an appointment on 01372 720136.