What is a dental veneer?
Veneers can make your teeth look natural and healthy, improving the colour, shape and position of your teeth. They can hide stained, chipped, misshapen or crooked teeth, or cover gaps in teeth where orthodontic treatment may not be suitable.
A veneer is a thin, custom-made moulding that is used to cover the front surface of a tooth, usually made from porcelain.
How are they fitted?
After an initial consultation, your dentist will prepare the tooth (or teeth). This involves shaving a tiny amount of enamel surface of the tooth, the same thickness that the veneer will be, to ensure the tooth stays the same size. This prepares the tooth surface for bonding the veneer in place later. The preparation should not cause any pain, but in some cases, a local anaesthetic may be given to prevent any discomfort.
An impression is then taken of the mouth, which will be given to a dental technician for them to build your bespoke veneer to the required shape and size. A colour shade is taken of the adjacent teeth to ensure the veneer blends in naturally. If several veneers are being made, they can be made to a lighter shade, as required, to give a brighter smile.
After preparation, the tooth will look the same but will feel less smooth. In some cases, a temporary cover may be placed over the tooth, until the veneer is ready for fitting.
Once the veneer is ready, any temporary cover is easily removed, and the veneer will be tested in place to ensure there are no imperfections, before it is cemented into place. Adhesive is applied to the back of the veneer, then, as it is placed into position, a bright light, known as a curing light, is used to set it.
Your dentist will check to ensure that you are happy with the veneer and that your bite is correct, making any small adjustment that may be needed.
Caring for veneers
Veneers should last for many years. However, veneers can be broken, chipped and cracked the same way as natural teeth can. Small chips may be repairable, or the veneer can be replaced.
Regular visits to your dentist and dental hygienist are recommended, where they can check and clean the veneer and recommend an appropriate home care regime.
How long will a veneer last?
Veneers should last for many years. Your dentist will be able to advise how long they would expect a veneer to last in your individual circumstance, and advise how to effectively look after your veneer, to ensure a prolonged life.
Will I feel any pain?
You may feel some discomfort during the preparation of the tooth. In some cases, a local anaesthetic may be given to prevent any discomfort occurring.
Will a veneer look natural?
A mould is taken of the mouth to ensure that the veneer is made to correct size and shape, to blend in with your natural teeth. The colour of the veneer is also matched to your other teeth, to ensure that a natural look is achieved. If a number of veneers are being replaced, the colour may be further lightened if required.
How strong are veneers?
Veneers are made from porcelain. As with natural teeth, they can chip, crack and break. Small chips may be repairable, or the veneer can be replaced.