A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain or composite made to fit on the natural edge of the tooth similar to the way a false nail would stick on a fingernail.
Veneers can be used to change appearance of teeth in a few ways; either the shade, shape or the angle.
a veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again, close small gaps left behind by orthodontic treatment, or where orthodontic treatment isn't possible. If a single tooth is out of alignment then a veneer can be placed and designed to make the tooth in alignment with the arch, improving appearance and patient confidence.
The preparation for a veneer is very minimal but still requires more than one visit as an impression must be sent to a laboratory for the veneer to be made.
As veneers are thin, to avoid protruding out or needing to have more preparation on the natural tooth that are more likely to chip, break or need re cementing than a crown or bridge. You are advised not to bite directly into a veneer to help avoid this.
Are they any advantages to have a veneer over a crown or bridge?
Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, they are very thin so require minimal preparation to the natural tooth. They are held in place by the design and a special bond material.
How long will a veneer last?
Veneer are a lab made piece of dental work so should last for many years, but they can chip or break just like your own natural teeth. Small chips can be repaired and if the veneer breaks depending on the situation they are sometimes covered by a lab guarantee.
Will it hurt and how is it done?
A small amount of the shiny enamel surface of the tooth is removed using a dental drill, the amount removed is enough to make space for the veneer. Depending on your sensitivity levels you may be given a local anaesthetic to make the treatment more comfortable, but this is not always necessary. Once the tooth is prepared the dentist will take an impression of the prepared tooth to send to the lab and together both you and the dentist will decide on the best shade/shades to use for the veneer.
The initial preparation appointment is normally around 30mins and then two weeks later you will return for a 30min fit appointment. Because the preparation for a veneer is so slight you will probably not need a temporary between appointments, you dentist will decide after preparation of the tooth.