What are veneers?


Dental veneers (porcelain veneers) Dental Veneersare thin covers that improve the appearance of damaged or miscoloured teeth. They are made from an ultra-thin layer of porcelain or composite resin materials and are bonded to the front or your teeth. They can change the colour, shape, size and length of teeth. They can also be used to improve the appearance of misaligned, uneven and chipped teeth and to close gaps between teeth.

What does the procedure involve?


Having porcelain veneers fitted usually requires three trips to the dentist. You can one or several teeth covered during the process. The first visit will be for a consultation and diagnosis which should involve a discussion on veneers, your suitability as a candidate for the treatment. The dentist should take x-rays and may take a mould of your teeth.


During the second visit the dentist will prepare your teeth for placing the veneers. This involves removing approximately half a millimetre of enamel from your teeth which is about the width of the veneer. The process may be uncomfortable and it is possible to use local anaesthetic to numb any discomfort. Your dentist should take an impression of your teeth which will be sent away to the lab where they will custom make your veneers. This should take up to 2 weeks.


On your third visit the veneers will be bonded to your teeth. Initially, the dentist will place the veneer over your teeth to make sure it is the correct colour and size. The dentist will then trim and adjust it to make sure it fits comfortably over your teeth. Next they should clean, polish your teeth, they may also scrape your teeth to improve the bonding process. The glue which cements the veneer to your teeth is then applied and the veneer is fitted in place. To speed up the cementing process the dentist can use a special light which will dry the glue. Finally he will clear up any excess glue and make sure your bite fits correctly once the veneers are set. A follow up inspection may be necessary.



This patient had Porcelain Veneers for an instant result. The case study courtesy of Cleveland Cosmetic and Dental Implant Clinic


What are the pros and cons of porcelain veneers?


Porcelain Veneers have the following advantages:

  • They can restore a natural appearance to teeth
  • They can give teeth a whiter appearance
  • Porcelain bonds well with teeth and should not adversely affect your gums
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant


Porcelain veneers have the following disadvantages:

  • The process cannot be reversed
  • Most veneers cannot be repaired if they become chipped or worn
  • They process involved with fixing veneers to teeth can result in damaging teeth as they require part of the enamel to be worn down
  • If the colour and appearance of your surrounding teeth change over time the veneers can look out of place
  • Teeth covered by veneers can still become decayed and they may need to be replaced by the a new crown
  • Whilst it is unlikely, veneers can become dislodged and fall off

Are they suitable for everybody


Veneers are not suitable for people with badly damaged teeth especially damage that is caused by gum disease. Also people with weakened teeth due to decay and people with insufficient enamel should not have veneers fitted. It is important not to chew pens, nails or other tough objects after having them fitted as this can cause them to become dislodged. It is advisable that people who grind their teeth do not have veneers fitted.


Veneers should last for between 5 and 10 years once they are cared for properly and the teeth that they are covering do not become decayed. They do not require any special care.


They are not available on the NHS and will cost from £250 to £1,000 per tooth.


What are composite veneers?


The other main type of dental veneers are composite veneers which are made from composite dental materials. The advantages of composite veneers are that they are cheaper (£250 – £800) and should require little if any enamel to be removed from teeth. Also they can be fitted in a single appointment as they do not require tooth reduction, the rest of the process is similar. However, they do not last as long as porcelain veneers (typically 2-5 years) and they do stain. Composite veneers are more difficult to fit and it is important that your dentist has alot of experience.


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