A veneer is a thin layer of tooth-coloured material that is put onto the front of the tooth to make it look better. The tooth might have been damaged by decay or an accident, or be discoloured.
Veneers are usually only used as a cosmetic treatment, to improve appearance. They are therefore not considered clinically necessary and will not be available on the NHS, except in the most exceptional circumstances.
What will NHS Dentist do?
- Some veneers are built up on the tooth directly using white filling material, while you are with your dentist. You may not have to have an injection as very little tooth preparation is necessary, just enough to prevent the veneer making the tooth feel bulky
- The surface of the tooth is roughened with a mild acid. Then white filling is applied in layers until the teeth look as we want them to look
- Other types of veneers have to be made of porcelain by a technician. The dentist will take an impression. This shows how the teeth bite together as well as telling the technician the shape and size of veneer that is needed
- Your natural teeth will be reduced in size and shape
- Temporary veneers will be made. They might come off as they are cemented with temporary cement. Do not plan any holidays or special occasions during this period
- You will have one more appointment when the dentist will glue the permanent veneer to your tooth
- Veneers sometimes come away from the tooth or break if the tooth is knocked. They can sometimes be glued back on but if damaged they will have to be remade
What are the benefits to you?
Veneers can improve your appearance. If the tooth is strong, a veneer is often a better option that a crown for improving a tooth’s appearance.
- The preparation of the natural tooth can sometimes need to be drastic to achieve the aesthetic result required. 1-2 mm (or more) is frequently reduced from labial surfaces, the edge of the tooth and the contact point between the teeth. This can appear very unsightly before the temporary veneers are in place
- Some preparations will be similar to crown preparations
- It is not possible for a patient to return to their natural teeth without having veneers or crowns on their teeth after this preparation has taken place
- If you grind your teeth or push the back of your teeth with your tongue, especially at night, you are likely to push the veneers off. They can usually be re-stuck
Important information about veneers: The latest thinking on veneers is that even the top of the range veneers will last only a maximum of 5-7 years aesthetically.