What is a veneer?

A dental veneer is sculpted from either white composite resin or porcelain into a thin shell-like layer bonded to the front tooth surface. Ultimately, veneers are designed to enhance tooth size, shape and shade thus improving the overall appearance.

What are the advantages of veneers?

Veneers appear like natural tooth surface in colour and texture. Finely sculpted to custom-fit each tooth, veneers are securely bonded to the front tooth surface after minimal preparation. Veneers are often used to mask tooth stains and discolouration or to correct mildly misaligned teeth.

When would I need a veneer?

A dentist may recommend treatment with dental veneers for tooth stains and discolouration if other teeth whitening treatments are not suitable. Where mild teeth misalignment or tooth gaps are present, veneers may be used to straighten teeth, which then mimics a more balanced smile.

Worn or lightly damaged teeth may be restored using dental veneers, such as those made from dental composite or porcelain ceramics. Therefore, veneers may be used as an alternate to orthodontic treatment.

What about alternatives?

Teeth that are damaged or chipped may be restored with tooth-coloured dental composite resin. Where more extensive damage is present, such as broken teeth or damaged tooth cusps, a dental crown may be issued to strengthen tooth structure. Sometimes teeth with large fillings may fracture, which then require suitable restoration alternatives, such as the previously mentioned.

Root canal infections also weaken teeth. Infection may be removed through root canal treatment. In cases of tooth fractures, broken and infected teeth, dental crowns may be used to restore dentition.

How long will a veneer last?

Designed to last for a number of years, veneers may be vulnerable to damage just like normal teeth. However, veneers are easily repaired or replaced and so your dentist will advise on care, durability and treatment options to help maintain them for as long as possible.

How are teeth prepared for a veneer?

When preparing teeth for veneers the following steps are taken:

  • The teeth are first cleaned and a local anaesthetic will be provided for pain-free tooth preparation.
  • The dentist then etches a little of the enamel surface to create a 'roughness' for the secure bonding of the veneers over the front tooth surface.
  • If the tooth surface is too smooth, bonding may not be as effective.
  • Veneer thickness determines the amount of etching required so that the teeth look completely natural.
  • After the etching preparation process, the dentist takes an oral impression so that each veneer may be custom-made for the teeth they will fit.
  • Temporary veneers will be fitted until the custom-made veneers are ready but not in all cases.
  • A dental technician makes the bespoke veneers so that they match the existing tooth shade.
  • A tooth shade guide is used for natural precision.
  • When ready, the permanent veneers are bonded and form part of normal tooth structure.

How long will it take?

Treatment with veneers usually takes two appointments. The first appointment is for the assessment and measurement, and the second for the fitting of the veneers. The veneers are securely bonded in place once the individual receiving the treatment is entirely happy.

Will I need a temporary veneer between visits?

With light tooth preparation, temporary veneers may not be necessary. The front tooth surface may be slightly etched and just feel a little coarser than usual.

What happens after the veneer is fitted?

Before the veneers are finally bonded into place, the dentist checks to see that the individual receiving treatment is happy with how they look and feel. Some small adjustments may be made if required. The dentist usually gives the person some time to get used to their new restorations before finally bonding them over the front tooth surface. Once securely fitted after a week, the veneers will be checked and given a polished finish.

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