Veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry in which a shell or layer of tooth-colored porcelain or composite is placed over the facial surfaces of your teeth. Veneers can be used by dentists to correct the appearance of worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing, tooth discoloration, and chips or cracks. Porcelain and composite veneers are made by dental technicians in a dental laboratory, but composite veneers also can be made directly inside your mouth by your dentist.
Veneers are esthetically pleasing, protect the surface of damaged teeth and may eliminate the need for more extensive treatments, such as crowns. They provide a natural tooth appearance. Other advantages of veneers include durability, an improved appearance to your smile and the need for little-to-no removal of tooth structure, compared to crowns.
Veneer selection involves choosing the appropriate length, shape, width and color for your restorations. Your dentist will use a color chart to help you select the best veneer shade. If your veneers are to be made in a dental laboratory, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and create a model of your mouth for use by the laboratory when customizing your restorations to the correct size and shape.
In order to place veneers, your dentist then will shape and prepare your teeth, which involves permanently changing them by removing a small amount of natural tooth structure (usually only enamel) in order to fit the custom-made porcelain or composite restoration. You then will need to wear temporary veneers until your permanent restorations are ready to be placed. Composite veneers (direct bonding) created in your mouth by your dentist do not require you to wear temporaries. Veneers created by a dental laboratory are bonded to your teeth using different types of resin cements.
In general, it is good dental advice to keep your sugar consumption low and confined to meal times to prevent decay. You should be careful with eating hard food. Sometimes a night guard is recommended to protect teeth, particularly if patients grind their teeth.
Veneers generally last between 4 and 10 years. After this time, the veneers would need to be replaced.