What Are The Advantages of Veneers?
Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is necessary.
When Would I Need A Veneer?
Veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth.
A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the required colour, to improve a single discoloured or stained tooth or to lighten front teeth (usually the upper ones) generally. (see below)
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 (see example to the left), when orthodontics 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.
What About Alternatives?
A natural coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This type of restoration is excellent where the tooth supports the filling, but may not work so well for broken tooth corners. There will always be a join between the tooth and filling material which will stain with time and look unsightly.
Crowns are used for teeth which need to be strengthened – either because they have broken, have been weakened by a very large filling, or have had root canal treatment.
How Long Will A Veneer Last?
Veneers should last for many years, but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. You will be advised how long each individual veneer should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
How Are Teeth Prepared For A Veneer?
Some of the shiny outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed, to ensure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. The amount of enamel to be removed is minimal and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted, so that the tooth remains the same size. A local anaesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but in many cases this is not necessary. Once the tooth has been prepared, an ‘impression’ will be taken. This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed for him to make the crown. The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural. In addition we usually take a digital photograph of the surrounding teeth for the technician to see the intricate shades of the teeth.
How Long Will It Take?
A veneer takes at least two visits, the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit it. Before bonding it in place, we will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
Will I Need A Temporary Veneer Between Visits?
Because the preparation of the tooth is minimal, you will probably not need a temporary veneer. The tooth will look very much the same after preparation, but will feel slightly less smooth. Occasionally the teeth are sensitive. In these cases we make a special plastic cover which is similar to a sports mouth guard, but very thin and translucent, to reduce the sensitivity and allow you to drink hot and cold liquids.