What is a veneer?
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, very much as a false fingernail fits over a nail. Sometimes a natural color ‘composite’ material is used instead of porcelain.
What are the advantages of veneers?
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 is necessary.
When would I need a veneer?
Veneers can improve the color, shape and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the required color, to improve a single discolored 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 is not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
How long will a veneer last?
Veneers should last for many years, but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. The dentist will advise you how long each individual veneer should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
How long will it take?
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, the 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.
What happens after the veneer is fitted?
Only minor adjustments can be made to the veneer after it is fitted. It is usually best to wait a little while to get used to it before any changes are made. The dentist will probably want to check and polish it a week or so after it is fitted and to make sure that you are happy with it.