What are they?

Your dentist may have discussed veneers with you as a treatment option for changing the way your teeth look. In the simplest of terms, a veneer is a porcelain coating which covers the front surface of your tooth.

The main benefit of having veneers fitted is that they can change the appearance of your teeth to give a healthy, natural look. This can be useful in circumstances where your teeth have become stained over time, or may have become damaged or chipped in an accident. The thin layer of porcelain is stuck onto your natural tooth and can change the shape, colour and structure of the tooth.

When are veneers used?

To cover a tooth which may be stained an undesirable colour
To treat a chipped or broken tooth
To re-shape a tooth which may be malformed or misshapen
To help close spaces between teeth when orthodontic braces are not appropriate
To help re-align a tooth which may be misplaced from its normal position

To fit the veneers, your dentist will remove a very small amount of the top enamel layer from the front of your tooth to create space for the porcelain to sit. This will be a completely painless procedure: it won’t even involve an injection! You and your dentist can then take time to choose the right shade that you would like the veneer to be, and can assess whether you would like a whiter look or an appearance that is as natural as possible. In today’s modern dental world, veneers can be made to look as similar to your natural teeth as you would like: even unique features such as fluorosis flecks can be added to your smile!

Following this, your dentist will fit you with some temporary veneers to fill this space whilst the laboratory produce the final porcelain veneers. In a second appointment shortly afterwards, your final veneers will then be ready to be fitted by your dentist, who will do this using a very strong adhesive system which will stick the porcelain material directly to your natural tooth tissue. If fitted correctly, and with appropriate oral hygiene practice combined with good overall dental care, porcelain veneers can last for around 10 years.

Alternative options
Veneers can also be made using a white filling material called composite. These are beneficial because they can usually be completed in one visit as the material is applied directly to the tooth without the need for being produced in the laboratory. However, veneers produced from this material tend to be weaker than porcelain ones, and as a result do not generally last as long.

Crowns are similar to veneers however instead of only covering the front surface of the tooth, they cover all of the surfaces of the tooth. These restorations tend to be used when problems involve the whole tooth, instead of being localized to the front surface.

All in all, porcelain veneers are a great option for giving a natural, healthy look to your smile. In terms of costing, veneers tend to be reasonable, however this all depends on your own dentist’s pricings and whether or not you are receiving NHS or private care. Some of the more advanced options available in veneer design may not be available on the NHS, and the type of veneer style you would like will generally dictate the price you pay for them. Talk to your dentist today to find out more information about the treatment options available to you.