What is a veneer?
A veneer is a thin layer of
porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a
tooth, like a false fingernail fits over a nail.
Sometimes a natural colour ‘composite’ material
is used instead of porcelain.
When would I need
Veneers can improve
the colour, shape and position of your teeth. A precise
shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right
colour to improve a single discoloured or stained tooth
or to lighten front teeth (usually the upper ones)
generally. A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact
again. The porcelain covers the whole of the front
of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken
part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps,
when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable. If one
tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes
be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
What are the advantages
Veneers make teeth
look natural and healthy. Because they are very thin
and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather
like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth
How long will it
A veneer takes at
least two visits: the first to prepare the tooth and
to match the shade, and the second to fit it. Before
bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the
veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with
it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special
adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
are teeth prepared for a veneer?
Some of the shiny
outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed, to
make sure that the veneer can be bonded permanently
in place later. The amount of enamel removed is tiny
and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer
to be fitted, so that the tooth stays the same size.
A local anaesthetic (injection) may be used to make
sure that there is no discomfort, but often this is
not necessary. Once the tooth has been prepared, the
dentist will take an ‘impression’ (mould).
This will be given to the dental technician, along
with any other information needed to make the veneer.
The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a
shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look
How long will a
Veneers should last
for many years; but they can chip or break, just as
your own teeth can. Your dentist will tell you how
long each individual veneer should last. Small chips
can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
Courtesy of the British
Dental Health Foundation – www.dentalhealth.org