What are Veneers?

A veneer is a new surface to fit over the front of a tooth, to disguise a discoloured (rather than damaged) tooth. They’re only available on the NHS if there’s a clinical or medical need for them. Veneers are not available on the NHS just to improve the appearance of your teeth (cosmetic reasons).

Veneers on the NHS can be made of porcelain or composite materials (the materials that make white fillings). The shade of the veneer can be matched to your other teeth.

Typical treatment length

1 day – 4 weeks

What is the process?

Consultation

Your teeth will be assessed by your dentist and the treatment will be recommended on the NHS if you can prove that there is a clinical need for them. They will improve discoloured, chipped or irregular teeth. If approved by the NHS then your clinician will create a treatment plan with you. You may need to have X-rays to assess the health of your teeth.

Advantages

  • Relatively short treatment length for a transformative effect
  • If looked after properly veneers can have a life span of between 10 – 15 years
  • Minimal preparation needed (not as invasive as crowns & bridges)
  • Treatment is pain free
  • Very strong and durable once in place
  • Give a very polished and sparkling smile

Disadvantages

  • If you have a large amount of decay you may find your teeth aren’t suitable
  • If you have very crooked teeth they may not be suitable
  • It can be difficult to mask underlying dark colours
  • If you grind your teeth or have fillings they probably aren’t suitable
  • Your teeth are irreversibly altered before the veneer is fitted
  • If they break, the whole veneer often has to be replaced
  • It is advisable to not eat semi frozen food
  • Beware of coloured foods as they can sometimes stains the margins of the veneer
  • If you play contact sports you should consider the use of a sports guard

Treatment

Your dentist may take impressions to create study models before preparing the teeth ready to receive the veneers. A tiny amount of enamel is removed from the front surface of the tooth (usually 0.5 – 0.7mm) and the height of the tooth reduced slightly, this is pain free but may leave you with a slightly altered looking tooth.

Occasionally temporary veneers may be provided whilst the veneers are being made. The shade and colouring will be agreed with your clinician. When the veneers are ready they are checked and assessed before being bonded into place. Finally they are finished and polished.

Aftercare

When your treatment is finished your clinician will advise you on a suitable aftercare routine. This usually involves the use of floss, interdental cleaning aids and a review appointment.