What Are Dental Veneers?

Shade determination of veneers

Shade determination © Ocskay Bence

Dental veneers are used to provide you with a natural and healthy looking smile that you can be proud of. They are often used to cover discoloured, broken or unsightly teeth so that the teeth are uniformed in appearance. The flexibility of veneers even allows gaps in the teeth to be covered and crooked teeth to be straightened. With dental veneers you can completely alter the size and shape of a person’s teeth to make them more natural looking and aesthetically pleasing. But what exactly are they?

The veneer itself is a thin piece of porcelain that fits over the teeth. They are made in special dental laboratories and then applied to the front of the teeth using an adhesive, much like a false fingernail. In order to have veneers fitted a number of trips will have to be made to the dentist to make sure that your teeth are suitable for the procedure. You will also need to have your teeth prepped and the veneers made so that they fit your mouth perfectly. The number of visits you need to make to the dentist will depend entirely on how many you need fitting to transform your smile.

To prepare the mouth for such a procedure almost everyone has to have some enamel permanently removed from the outer of the teeth. This ensures that the teeth have a rough enough surface for the dental veneer to bond to. Enamel can be removed from the teeth by simply roughening the tooth’s surface barely changing anything at all. You may however require some of the teeth to be reshaped but no more than 1-1.5mm of the tooth’s structure is removed. Sometimes a local anaesthetic is administered when having enamel removed however this is not normally needed as it really is a small procedure.

After the enamel has been removed from the teeth the dentist can move on to making an impression of them. This can then be given to the dental laboratories that make the veneers along with any relevant information needed. The final part to making sure that they look right is making sure that they match the natural colour of your own teeth. A shade guide is used to choose the colour needed and this can be mixed into the veneers for natural looking teeth.

Whilst waiting for your veneers to be made you will be sent home with your prepared teeth. Temporary veneers are not normally needed as little is done to the tooth beforehand. The only difference you will feel is that they appear rougher than they did, but this is completely normal as it is this rough surface that is needed to hold the veneers in place.

Once fitted there is little you can do to adjust the veneers. Slight changes can be made however it is best to wait a few weeks before considering this in order to allow you time to get used to them. They should last you a number of years however they can like ordinary teeth become damaged. It is important to look after your veneers like you would your own teeth in order to get the best possible results from them.