A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, very much like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Sometimes a natural colour ‘composite’ material is used instead of porcelain.
Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very fragile, are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue), meaning that very little preparation of the tooth is necessary.
Veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth. A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again – the porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, when braces are not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
A tooth coloured filling can be used for minor repairs to front teeth which is suitable when there is enough strong tooth to support it. There is always a join between the filling and the tooth which can stain over time, but this can be polished off or the filling replaced. If the tooth is significantly broken down, a crown may be more suitable than an adhesive filling or veneer.
A very thin layer of the outer enamel is removed to make space for the veneer. An impression is taken and sent to a technician who will construct the veneer ready for bonding at a later appointment.
The veneer should last for many years. Where it joins the tooth near the gum may pick up stains, but this can be usually be polished. Biting directly on the edge of the veneer should be avoided; NO tearing of sellotape! Veneers are available on the NHS clinical reasons, and privately for purely cosmetic reasons.
Veneers are available on the NHS and Privately.