Posted on: 14 April 2017Share
People wanting to have crooked teeth straightened were typically left with a single choice: orthodontic braces. While there have been advances in more recent years that have made orthodontic treatments both quicker and less noticeable, some patients are still put off by the idea of having to commit to an extended treatment program and affecting the appearance of their smile in the meantime.
If you can't bear to go through the time and effort it takes to straighten teeth the traditional way, you might consider trying veneers instead. Sometimes called 'instant orthodontics', veneers can give you a perfect smile in far less time than you think.
What are veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain that are designed to fit over existing teeth and change the way they look. They're fixed in place by a dentist and designed to stay permanently where they're bonded.
They're used for all sorts of cosmetic reasons, such as improving the colour of teeth, changing the shape, closing gaps and straightening.
How are they used to straighten teeth?
With crooked teeth, a veneer can be used to give the appearance of a more even smile. However, unlike orthodontics, the tooth isn't actually moved. Instead, the veneer is used to change the tooth's shape so that it lines up with the others. The root stays where it is, so you won't need to wear a retainer afterwards.
Depending on how crooked your teeth are, veneers might not be a suitable treatment. Your dentist may recommend using them in combination with orthodontics, but they can be used by themselves in many cases.
How long does it take to get them?
When you first go for treatment, the dentist will prepare your teeth. This involves removing a tiny fraction of the enamel on your tooth's surface so the veneer can fit neatly over the top. The dentist will also make tooth impressions so the lab can make your new veneers to the perfect fit.
Once this is done, you'll need to wait for the veneers, which can take anywhere from a week to a month, usually. These will be placed on your teeth in another single session.
Do they need to be replaced?
Veneers won't last forever, but they are pretty tough. You should expect them to last up to 15 years, as long as you look after them properly. As always, you should maintain excellent oral hygiene, and avoid particularly hard foods that could damage the porcelain.