Dental veneers: uses and procedure

Dental veneers are becoming more and more popular among those who are not satisfied with their smile. But what are they and how do they help you?

Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.

Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy. 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. Some types of veneers don't need any preparation at all.

Veneers are used to fix the following:

(1) Teeth that are discolored -- either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth

(2) Teeth that are worn down

(3) Teeth that are chipped or broken

(4) Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example,
have craters or bulges in them)

(5) Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

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.

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....