Veneers are  outer shell covers that are made to fit over your teeth that are bonded to your teeth permanently. They are made of resin or laminated dental porcelain and they are tailor made and fitted by the dentist to alter the appearance of your teeth. Although porcelain has excellent stain resistant properties, it does not reflect light as naturally as resin veneers. Another advantage of resin is that it requires less of the original tooth to be removed initially.

Veneers are used when the patient either has discoloured or damaged teeth, gaps between the teeth or that they are not correctly aligned or have an uneven shape in some way. Having a veneer (or a number of them) will normally be done over three visits to your dentist, the first would be an examination including usually an x ray and impression taken of your teeth and following that a chat to see if veneers are the best option for your teeth at this stage.

Veneers have a lot of benefits, they produce a most natural look to the teeth and sometimes a huge improvement in how they look and far less reshaping than crowns with a stronger, more stain resistant quality. The alternative to porcelain being resin which is somewhat less expensive and porcelain veneers are not repairable if they subsequently become damaged at all. Resin is more forgiving in these circumstances, either way they tend to last between five and ten years after which they will need to be replaced.

If you have unhealthy or stained teeth veneers are sometimes not a good choice, the dentist will normally try to match the colour of your teeth but this is not always possible so they may look out of place, or if they are matched to darker teeth to start with and the individual then gets their teeth whitened then the veneer will stay the same darker colour, so it would be better to get the rest of the teeth whitened first before the veneer is added.

The process will involve first having an impression made of the tooth, which will be sent to the dental labs for the veneer to be made to exactly fit the tooth then, having the outer enamel of the tooth removed after an anaesthetic, and finally the veneer will be cemented in place. There will be a number of fittings and removal plus a certain amount of trimming and filing to the veneer and it will be polished and the cement activate by a light beam that will make it harden in place finally.

It should be noted that this process is not reversible and that you should be careful to look after the veneers after they have been fitted by your dentist, who will no doubt inform you of this. It is wise to avoid biting on anything that is very hard as they can chip and as the enamel has been removed they could prove to be quite sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks. It is wise to avoid the foods and drinks that typically cause staining like red wine, tea and coffee and smoking, as your dentist will most likely advise.

Although expensive, porcelain dental veneers are a great solution to stained or slightly damaged teeth and can help you get that perfect smile back or give you the one you never had!