Heathwood Dental Practice, Crowthorne, Berkshire. Tel. 01344 776933

What is a Veneer?

Veneers are a beautiful way to correct the appearance of discoloured, broken or crooked teeth. They can also sometimes be used to correct unwanted or uneven spacing. They can be made of either porcelain or composite (a white filling material) which is then glued to the front of the tooth. They are mainly used to restore the upper front teeth. A picture of some porcelain veneers prior to being fitted is shown below.

Why would you need a Veneer?

Because veneers can amend the shape, colour and (to a degree) position of a tooth, there are many potential uses:

  • Crooked teeth: Veneers can sometimes be used to improve their appearance by making them look better aligned. This can include correcting uneven spacing between teeth.
  • Chipped or worn teeth: Wear and tear to the enamel can result in worn and uneven biting edges, or fractures lines in the "face" of the tooth. As veneers cover the whole of this surface, as well as the biting edge, these problems can be masked, restoring the appearance of a bright white smile and well aligned shapely teeth.
  • Fractured teeth: If a tooth has been broken, perhaps in an accident, a veneer can replace the whole of the front of the tooth, with a thicker section replacing the broken piece.
  • Worn Enamel: With time, tooth enamel can appear worn, discoloured, darkened or dull. This appearance can be reversed with veneers.

Types of Veneer

Veneers can be made out of porcelain or a white filling material called composite. Porcelain, once bonded to the tooth, is the stronger of the two, and fantastic aesthetics can be achieved, although some tooth has to be cut away to produce these. The same porcelain veneers shown unfitted above, can be seen in the mouth as final restorations in the picture below.

Composite veneers are usually made without removing tooth, although this means that their range of applications is slightly reduced. A broken tooth corner can sometimes be corrected directly using composite though. With time, composite can absorb some stain. Fortunately, this can sometimes be removed by polishing rather than replacement.

How is it done?

Following a discussion with your dentist, they can advise you as to the treatment options for your teeth. If needed, a mock up of them may by made by the dental laboratory to demonstrate what we would like to achieve.
Both porcelain and composite are translucent materials which complement and reproduce a lifelike natural appearance of teeth. A composite tooth repair or veneer can usually be done directly in the surgery without any intermediate steps. A porcelain veneer needs to be made by a dental laboratory. The tooth will be prepared by your dentist, and moulds taken. Temporary veneers will be made whilst the veneers are being handmade at the lab. If several teeth are being veneered, the temporary veneers may be left in your mouth for a few days to ensure you are happy with the proposed appearance. Any changes you wish can be incorporated into the final design before the mould is taken. The gap between moulds, and the fitting of the veneers is usually two weeks. you may be asked to attend the laboratory to have the colour of the porcelain matched for your teeth.