Veneers are a very thin layer of porcelain or composite which is fitted over the front surface of your tooth to improve the colour, shape or position.
Veneers are often used to repair chipped teeth or to close small gaps, where braces would be unsuitable. Veneers can be a less damaging way to repair small cracks and chips than crowns, which require large parts of the tooth to be removed but will give better results than a composite filling which do not provide a strong enough restoration for chipped corners.
There is very little treatment required to prepare a tooth for a veneer. A small amount of the surface of the tooth will be removed, this ensures that your teeth remain the same level and provides a strong surface for the veneer to adhere onto. The tooth may be numbed using an injection of local anaesthetic to ensure that you experience no discomfort, but often this treatment can be completed without any anaesthetic.
Once the tooth is prepared the dentist will take impressions which can be sent to the laboratory technician, along with an exact shade of the surrounding teeth to ensure that the veneer will match flawlessly with your other teeth. It will normally take 1-2 weeks for the veneer to be prepared, but because of the small amount of preparation work required you are unlikely to require a temporary veneer.
At the second appointment the dentist will fit the veneer using a special adhesive and ensure that you are happy with the colour and shape of the tooth.
Some minor adjustments may be needed to ensure that the veneer fits perfectly within your bite, but the dentist will often ask you to wait a week before any changes are made.
Veneers as with all dental restorations need to be cared for in order to ensure that they last. Due to the delicate nature of a veneer it is possible for them to chip or break, if this happens the dentist may be able to repair the veneer or else fit a new one.