One of the most popular and effective methods of tooth whitening is laser tooth whitening. But for many people, this is too expensive to be an option.

Fortunately, there are a couple of other options available to these people. And no, I’m not talking about over-the-counter products.

I’m talking about dental Veneers.

This is also a very effective tooth whitening treatment for people who have severe discoloring, that bleaching wouldn’t be able to help. Veneers also give your teeth a little extra protection, because they are made from plastic or porcelain.

They also last much longer. Typically, you will get over 10 years of use out of a dental veneer.

What is a veneer?

It’s a very thin wafer, or shell, which is bonded to the front surface of your tooth, providing an instant new appearance to that tooth.

It can be sized and shaped a little differently than your existing tooth, so that a small chip is hidden, and a small gap filled. It covers staining and yellowing. It can be given just the right variation in its thickness to cover slight crookedness in the tooth.

What is porcelain?

Dental porcelain is a glass-like substance which by itself is brittle, but when bonded to your teeth, becomes hard and durable. Like glass, it’s highly stain-resistant. It comes in a wide variety of shades, so that your dentist can choose the shade that best matches your natural teeth.

When it comes to dental veneers, you have a few options. Firstly, you can chose to have the porcelain veneer. This can be quite expensive, but it’s well worth it. It will take several visits to your dentist (because impressions will need to be taken of your teeth to make sure the veneer fits perfectly). The benefits of this are that it will make your teeth look instantly whiter, and it will last for at least 10 years. It will also help protect your teeth from decay to some degree as well.

The other option you have is a composite veneer. This is a cheaper option, and it requires less visits to the dentist (usually just the one appointment after the initial consultation). They don’t last quite as long, but you should still get a good 5 years out of it. Also, it’s usually charged per tooth, so you can save money if you only have one or two teeth that are discoloured and need whitening, as is often the case.

In conclusion, having veneers applied to your teeth that need whitening is a very good option for the person who doesn’t need all their teeth to be whitened, and would prefer to have a few discoloured teeth whitened individually. The results also last much longer than a laser tooth whitening treatment. With laser tooth whitening or over-the-counter products, you would need to have the treatment renewed every year if your teeth are prone to becoming discolored due to your lifestyle.

If you don’t mind going to the dentist, but don’t fancy the expense of laser tooth whitening, then veneers are a good alternative option.

The procedure

Two visits are required. In the first visit:

· Your dentist will sculpt the teeth to be treated, and scuff their surface a little. This prepares them to bond well to the porcelain veneer.

· Then he’ll take an impression of these teeth, from which the veneers will be made

· The right shade of porcelain will be chosen, to best match your natural teeth

While waiting for the second visit, you’ll be wearing temporary porcelain veneers, and these will look much like the permanent ones will.

In the second visit:

· The veneers are temporarily attached to the teeth, and your dentist will test their position, to make sure your bite is still correct, and you feel comfortable

· When both of you are satisfied, he’ll bond the porcelain veneers permanently to your teeth

The veneers become like part of your natural teeth, so they don’t draw your attention or feel like something extra in your mouth. Porcelain veneers can last anywhere from ten to twenty years.