A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, in the same way that a false fingernail fits over a nail.
Veneers improve the appearance of teeth, making them look natural and healthy. Because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) less preparation of the tooth is needed, compared with a crown.
Veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth. So you might have a veneer to improve the colour of a single discoloured or stained tooth. Or you might want to improve the appearance of several teeth which are crooked, uneven, or have discoloured fillings.
A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps. Similarly, if one or two teeth are slightly out of position, veneers can be used to bring them into line with the others.
A tooth-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This is excellent where the defect is small but may not work so well for larger broken tooth corners, when there can be a visible join between the tooth and the filling material. If the problem is yellow or dark teeth, tooth whitening might be the answer.
If your teeth are badly crowded, orthodontics (tooth straightening) may be the only option.
If a tooth is badly broken or decayed, or has been weakened by a very large filling, or has had root canal treatment, then a crown may have to be used instead of a veneer.
With good home care, and with certain provisos, veneers should last for many years. Your teeth are likely to look as good as new for 10 years or so. You are likely to want to replace the veneers over time when they begin to look less than perfect.
However veneers can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. Small chips can be repaired or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
Some of the outer enamel surface of the tooth will be removed to allow space for the porcelain veneer. The amount of enamel removed will vary, depending on your treatment objectives. We will probably give you a local anaesthetic (injection) to make sure that there is no discomfort. Once the tooth has been prepared, your dentist will take a precision impression of your teeth.
This will be sent to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer. The colour of the veneer will be chosen to match adjacent teeth. We will usually make and fit temporary veneers to protect your tooth enamel and reduce the likelihood of sensitivity whilst you are waiting for your veneer to be made.
Having a veneer will normally take 2 visits - the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit the veneer. 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.
This will depend on the complexity of the treatment and the number of veneers you are having. See our price guide