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. Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy and very little preparation of the tooth is needed, some types of veneers don't need any preparation at all.
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 tooth or to lighten the front teeth.
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.
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.
A veneer takes at least two visits: the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit it.
Some of the 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 (preserving maximum amount of tooth) 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) would normally be used to make sure that there is no discomfort. 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 entirely natural.
Before bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth. As only minor adjustments can be made to the veneer after it is fitted, it is extremely important to ensure you are happy. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
Veneers should last for many years; but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.