Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-coloured materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their colour, shape, size, or length and therefore improving appearance. They are a more conservative treatment than a crown and can often be used as an alternative if the underlying tooth is strong and healthy.
An appointment typically takes from one to two hours depending on the number of teeth to be treated. To prepare each tooth, your dentist will remove a thin layer, about the thickness of a fingernail, from the surface of the tooth. This allows room for the veneer to be glued into place later. Local anaesthetic may be required during this step. An impression is taken of your teeth and sent to a dental ceramist.
Advantages of veneers
- Application is relatively painless.
- If the tooth underneath is strong enough, veneers can be a simpler and cheaper alternative to crowns.
- Veneers are resistant to staining due to age, tea, coffee or smoking.
- The porcelain and the cement used in the cementing process are strong, making veneers comparable in strength to normal teeth.
- Porcelain will not decay.
Disadvantages of Veneers
- Veneers tend to be relatively expensive.
- A small amount of tooth must be removed during preparation.