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Veneers

Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain which are bonded to the outside of teeth to mask surface defects, discolouration and misalignments and they therefore play a key role in smile makeovers and cosmetic dentistry. They can also be used to close small gaps when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable, and if a tooth is slightly out of position a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.

Porcelain veneers mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth and when fitted properly are difficult to detect. They are less invasive than crowns and can make teeth stronger.

Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain which are bonded to the outside of teeth to mask surface defects, discolouration and misalignments and they therefore play a key role in smile makeovers and cosmetic dentistry. They can also be used to close small gaps when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable, and if a tooth is slightly out of position a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.

A veneer takes at least two visits: first the tooth is prepared by removing a small amount of the surface to create room for the porcelain shell and a local anaesthetic injection may be given to ensure there is no discomfort, although often this is not needed.

Removing a small amount of enamel enables the veneer to feel natural in shape and position, although the surface of the tooth will feel rough once it has been prepared. The amount of enamel removed is the same as the thickness of the veneer, so the tooth remains the same size. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dental team takes an impression for the dental technician with the colour of the surrounding teeth matched on a shade guide. A temporary veneer may be placed on the tooth between appointments and when the permanent veneer is ready the patient is shown how it looks on their tooth to check they are satisfied.

Veneers should last for many years but they can chip or break like real teeth, although small chips can be repaired, or a new veneer fitted if necessary. As an alternative, natural-coloured filling material can be used for minor repairs to front teeth. This works when the tooth can support a filling but not for broken tooth corners because there will always be a join between the tooth and the filling material.

If you have noticeably damaged teeth, book a consultation with a dentist at Harley Street Dental and Implant Clinic to discuss whether veneers are suitable for you.