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Dental veneers are thin shells that are custom crafted and bonded to the surface of the teeth. Although they can be fabricated from different materials, most often porcelain is used because of its durability and realistic appearance.
Veneers require minimal tooth preparation, relative to other cosmetic dental procedures, veneers can achieve outstanding improvements in color, alignment, size discrepancies, and general appearance.
You will see the difference veneers and cosmetic dentistry can make in a smile in our gallery below.
There are two stages, each stage lasting two hours with a three week period in between.
On the first visit the teeth are prepared and an impression taken, temporary crowns/veneers are fitted. At the second stage appointment, the temporary crowns/veneers are removed and permanent ones are fitted.
Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is needed.
A natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This is excellent where the tooth supports the filling, but may not work so well for broken tooth corners. There will always be a join between the tooth and the filling material. Crowns are used for teeth that need to be strengthened – either because they have broken, have been weakened by a very large filling, or have had root canal treatment.
Veneers should last for many years, but they can chip or break, just as your own teeth can. Your dentist will tell you how long each individual veneer should last. Small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary.
Some of the shiny outer enamel surface of the tooth may be removed, to make sure that the veneer can be bonded permanently in place later. The amount of enamel removed is tiny and will be the same as the thickness of the veneer to be fitted, so that the tooth stays the same size. A local anaesthetic (injection) may be used to make sure that there is no discomfort, but often this is not necessary. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will take an ‘impression’. This will be given to the dental technician, along with any other information needed to make the veneer. The colour of the surrounding teeth is matched on a shade guide to make sure that the veneer will look entirely natural.
A veneer takes at least two visits; the first to prepare the tooth and to match the shade, and the second to fit it. Before bonding it in place, your dentist will show you the veneer on your tooth to make sure you are happy with it. Bonding a veneer in place is done with a special adhesive, which holds it firmly on the tooth.
On the day the teeth are prepared for the veneers we place a temporary veneers on the tooth until the real veneer is ready to be fitted. So your teeth will look like natural teeth during the 3 week wait until its time for the real ones to be placed.