Veneers are wafer thin laminates or shells of tooth coloured material that are cemented to the front surface of teeth to improve their cosmetic appearance.
This is done because the tooth might have been damaged by decay or an accident or might be badly discoloured for some reason.
What to expect:
Veneers can be made of porcelain by a dental technician, or built up directly on the tooth using layers of tooth coloured filling material.
- A very small amount of natural tooth material needs to be removed – just enough to prevent the veneer making the tooth look or feel bulky. For this reason, it may not be necessary for the dentist to numb the tooth.
- Preparation time will depend on how damaged the tooth is and whether it needs to be built up with a filling first.
- For laboratory made veneers, the dentist will require a second visit to ‘glue’ the veneer into place.
- Those veneers placed directly onto the tooth can be done in one visit and usually require less tooth removal. Here the surface of the tooth is roughened with a mild acid. The filling material is then applied in layers until the teeth look right.
- Veneers sometimes come away from the tooth or break if the tooth is knocked. They can sometimes be glued back on, but will have to be replaced if they are damaged.
- Veneers can greatly improve your appearance. They hide imperfections and you lose very little natural tooth material.
- Veneers are also used to protect teeth from more damage. Tooth surface can be dissolved away by acid in the mouth (usually from too frequent consumption of certain kinds of food and drink); this can make teeth very sensitive to hot and cold. In this situation, veneers can protect the teeth.
If the tooth is strong, a veneer is often a better option than a crown for improving a tooth’s appearance.