What is a veneer?

March 21st, 2017

Perhaps you’ve heard the word ‘veneer’ whilst in the dentist’s waiting room and wondered what it meant. Or maybe a work colleague has mentioned theirs and you’ve had no idea what they were talking about. Hopefully this sense of mystery won’t last too much longer. Today we’d like to shed some light on what we mean by a ‘veneer’ and answer some frequently asked questions about how they are used, and what their benefits are.

In short, a veneer is a bit like a cover for a tooth. Made out of a thin layer of porcelain (or a natural coloured ‘composite’ material), veneers sit tightly over the front surface of the tooth. They can help improve the appearance and position of your teeth, making them look not only healthy, but also natural: a variety of shades of porcelain are available to match all teeth colours. Another advantage of veneers is that very little, if any, preparation of the tooth is needed.

There are several instances in which a veneer might be able to help:

  • Improving the appearance of a discoloured tooth, or section of teeth
  • Disguising a chip to a tooth – preventing this from being visible
  • Closing gaps between teeth
  • Improving the positioning of teeth

If you’re thinking of having a veneer, you’ll need to factor in at least two visits to the dentist. The first visit is about preparing the tooth (if needed) and about matching the shade to ensure your veneers look natural. Preparation may include removing a little enamel from the surface of the tooth, and making moulds or gathering other information needed to make your veneers. Your second visit to the dentist is to have the veneer fitted. This involves the veneer being attached to the tooth using a specially designed adhesive.

Once in place veneers should last for many years. However, they are subject to wear and tear and you might notice a chip or break occurring. Should this occur, your dental team will be able to consider your options with you. A small repair might be possible, or a new veneer could be fitted.

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your teeth, and would like to consider your options in terms of making some changes, then why not make an appointment to discuss your options with your dentist?

For more information about veneers visit our pages, or the Oral Health Foundation website.

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