What is a veneer?
A veneer is a thin shell of material that covers the front visible part of your tooth.
This can change how the colour, shape, length and size of your teeth appear.
What are the types of veneer?
Dental veneers can be made from either porcelain or composite, and can be used for a single tooth to a complete smile makeover.
How long do veneers last?
A composite veneer will probably look good for about 5-7 years. During this time it may need touching up or re-polishing. Porcelain veneers tend to last longer and retain their appearance a little better.
Why might I need veneers?
There are no signs and symptoms that lead to needing dental veneers. They are a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of your teeth. If you are unhappy with your smile you may want to investigate cosmetic dental options which will include veneers.
What problems can be corrected by veneers?
Mildly discoloured teeth
Discolouration can come from decay, exposed roots, old fillings, or teeth that haven’t formed properly. Whitening is a sensible idea as it will help to improve the appearance, but also will reduce the amount thickness of veneer, which helps to preserve natural tooth during preparation.
Ageing teeth change in colour as the amount of dentine (the hard material beneath the enamel) thickens, causing yellowing of your teeth. Added to everyday staining from food and drink, you may see a noticeable darkening of your teeth over the years. Small cracks, chips and general wear and tear can add to a deterioration in the appearance of your teeth.
Chipped or fractured teeth
Porcelain veneers can be used to cover the whole front surface of a damaged tooth and where a section of the tooth has been lost due to trauma.
This is the term for a space between your upper central incisors. Veneers can help rid the appearance of this gap if you do not want orthodontic treatment.
Sometimes you may have a tooth that has not formed properly and veneers can help to mask the size of a tooth to make it proportional to the other teeth.
Crowded or uneven teeth
Veneers can change a whole smile without the need for braces. This is comparatively quick to do compared to orthodontic treatment, but there are limitations on what veneers can do and you need to be aware of the long term management.
What are the disadvantages?
For veneers, the tooth needs to be prepared. In some cases this is not an issue as there may already be pre-existing fillings in a tooth. If the tooth has no fillings or damage and is being done for purely cosmetic reasons, the tooth has to be prepared and there may be longer-term consequences.
Because removal of tooth structure is a permanent thing, it is best to consider the least destructive options first.
They cannot be used for very crooked teeth as there is not enough space to hold the veneer without a lot of preparation.
What are the alternatives to a veneer?
The main alternatives to porcelain veneers are:
The first and least invasive cosmetic option for improving your smile is tooth whitening. This may give you that boost in confidence that you are looking for without the need for further treatment.