A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, like a false fingernail fits over a nail. Sometimes a natural colour ‘composite’ material is used instead of porcelain.
Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy, and because they are very thin and are held in place by a special strong bond (rather like super-glue) very little preparation of the tooth is needed.
Veneers can improve the colour, shape and position of teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the right colour to improve a single discoloured or stained tooth or to lighten front teeth (usually the upper ones) generally. A veneer can make a chipped tooth look intact again. The porcelain covers the whole of the front of the tooth with a thicker section replacing the broken part. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, when orthodontics (braces) are not suitable. If one tooth is slightly out of position, a veneer can sometimes be fitted to bring it into line with the others.
You can have veneers on the NHS. However, many dentists prefer to provide cosmetic treatment privately. It is important to discuss charges and treatment options with your dentist before starting treatment.
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A diastema is a space or ‘gap’ between teeth – very often your front teeth. This is very common in children and is part of their normal dental development. About 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have these. Most of these spaces close naturally as the mouth and teeth develop. In some cases this gap does not close naturally and a dentists advice is sought.
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of a diastema.
For more on Diastemas click here