A smile makeover with porcelain veneers is a big deal. It changes the way you look, the way you smile, and ultimately the way you feel about yourself. From a procedure point of view, there’s a significant amount of work that goes into it. We are often asked a lot of questions regarding porcelain veneers. One of those is – how does it affect sensitivity? Does it make sensitivity worse? Does it make sensitivity better? What if you already have very sensitive teeth? This article helps you to understand a bit more about the relationship between sensitive teeth and porcelain veneers.
Understanding Veneer Preparation Process
Veneers can achieve some very spectacular results. We see this all the time! But what is the process? What happens underneath?
Veneers are made of porcelain (also called ceramic). They need to be of a certain minimal thickness for strength. Typically this is around 0.5mm, but can be as little as 0.3mm. They may need to be thicker depending on the individual person, tooth and desired result. To accommodate for this, the tooth can either be made to come forwards a little, or some existing enamel may need to be removed.
The more enamel removed, the more likely sensitivity will develop. Thin ceramic veneers are technically difficult to do. This is why it is important to see a suitably qualified dentist when looking for porcelain veneers. All dentists are able to provide porcelain veneers, however, some have received additional training and are much more experienced. Our dentists at Iconic Dentistry are all post-graduate trained and qualified specifically for providing porcelain veneers.
Once the teeth have been prepared, the veneers are then bonded (glued) over the top of the teeth. Your smile transformation is then complete!
Insights into Veneers and Tooth Health
For most people looking at getting porcelain veneers for a smile makeover, their existing teeth are usually not in the ideal position or have the ideal shape. We can correct this with porcelain veneers.
If a tooth is sticking out too much, it will need to be prepped back to allow room for the veneer. The amount depends on where the desired final position of the smile is. We work this out way in advance of ever touching the tooth. So before we prep the tooth, we always determine what the final result will look like. In doing so, we minimise the amount of tooth that needs to be touched. Some teeth may not even need to have any prep at all.
Tooth is made up of enamel on the outside, and dentine a bit deeper down. We are often asked: are veneers bad for your teeth? The answer is: not if they are done well. In fact, when done well studies show that teeth can often be strengthened by well-placed veneers.
Enamel can be very safely prepped, with very little impact on tooth health. When it gets a bit deeper, dentine contains nerve endings. We want to avoid prepping into this area. To avoid this, it takes a lot of planning and skill from your cosmetic dentist. Sometimes we may recommend pre-treatment by moving the teeth into a more ideal position before placing the veneers. Your Iconic dentist will be able to advise on this once a work up has been completed. At Iconic Dentistry, your teeth will NEVER be prepped down to little stumps.
In essence, the less we prep into the tooth the better the tooth is. This is why planning is essential. At Iconic Dentistry, our veneers are all in the planning and details.
Some people may have already lost some enamel over time. This can occur for a number of reasons such as: acid erosion from dietary habits, medical conditions causing reflux, lifestyle habits, or genetics affecting enamel quality or saliva. People with thinner enamel usually already have existing sensitivity. In these cases, we can use porcelain veneers as a replacement for the enamel. Did you know that porcelain is actually the closest material we have to enamel? It mimics the optics, colour, hardness, and feel of enamel better than any other material we know of. Once the enamel has been replaced with porcelain, the tooth is actually better protected, strengthened, and usually the sensitivity disappears.
Exploring the Veneer Procedure
At Iconic Dentistry, the process of getting your porcelain veneers is a 6 step process.
The first step is the consult. We find out as much as possible about you, so we can design the smile to perfectly suit you. All of our porcelain veneers are completely individual and unique. We also look at the biology of your smile and the health of the teeth and gums.
The second step is planning your smile. We work out what needs to happen. Where do we want the smile to end up? What will it look like? This planning is essential so that your smile is as perfect and individualised for you. It is also important so that we ensure your veneers are done as biologically safe as possible.
The third step is the actual veneer preps. This is where the teeth are prepped for the veneers. This is always completed under anaesthetics. You will be fully numb so you won’t feel anything. You leave this appointment with temporary veneers, which will mimic what your final veneers will look like. During your time with temporary veneers, you may notice some sensitivity to cold things. Typically, you are with the temporary veneers for 1-2 weeks. The sensitivity is transient and will not continue once the final veneers are placed.
The fourth step is the smile design. We look at your temporary veneers and fine tune your smile so that everything is just right. It’s the details that matter here. It’s all about finesse.
The fifth step is the veneer insert. This is where your veneers are glued over your teeth. You will be numb for this appointment. This is a longer appointment because we take a lot of care here. Every step along the way is checked and double checked to make sure you veneers are bonded to perfection. Because of this, we are confident you will not have any sensitivity related to the bonding of your veneers. Also, it means we know your veneers are strong and will last a long time.
The final visit is a review to make sure everything is just right!
Managing Expectations Regarding Sensitivity
When done well, sensitivity is rarely an issue with veneers. Some people may have some sensitivity during their time with temporary veneers. This is normal as the temporary veneers are a softer material.
When the final veneers are glued in, we normally do not expect sensitivity to last beyond a few days. There may be some temporary sensitivity a few days after the veneer bonding procedure as the teeth have been worked on. The gums may also feel a bit tender for a few days as well.
Once the teeth and gums have settled, we expect your new veneers to look and feel just like normal teeth, but look absolutely amazing. Sensitivity is not an issue when veneers are done well.
Consultation and Professional Guidance
If you are thinking of a smile makeover with porcelain veneers, please choose a dentist that are highly experienced and suitably qualified to do so. Depending on your cosmetic concerns, there may be alternate treatment paths you can take. Our Iconic Dentists can advise you if porcelain veneers are recommended, or if there are alternate options for you. Once you do commit to porcelain veneers, be sure that you see a dentist that you trust to look after your smile. If in doubt, please seek a second opinion.
Porcelain veneers are a fantastic way to achieve your ideal smile. When completed, they look and feel just like healthy natural teeth. There may be some transient sensitivity during the time with temporary veneers and immediately after the procedure. Sensitivity is rarely an issue with final veneers. If your teeth are already sensitive, you are likely to find that the sensitivity will actually improve after you receive your porcelain veneers. As with all cosmetic treatments, periodic maintenance is extremely important to ensure your veneers last a long time. Your dentist will advise of the expected protocol. Please see a suitably qualified dentist if you are looking at porcelain veneers.