In dentistry, a veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the appearence of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer, composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory, and later bonded to the tooth, typically using a bonding permanent cement. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be made in a dental laboratory.
Veneers are an important tool for the cosmetic dentist. A dentist may use one veneer to restore a single tooth that may have been fractured or discolored, or multiple teeth to create a “Hollywood” type of makeover. Many people have small teeth resulting in spaces that may not be easily closed by orthodontics. Some people have worn away the edges of their teeth resulting in a prematurely aged appearance, while others may have malpositioned teeth that appear crooked. Multiple veneers can close these spaces, lengthen teeth that have been shortened by wear, fill the black triangles between teeth caused by gum recession, provide a uniform color, shape, and symmetry, and make the teeth appear straight..
In the past, the only way to correct dental imperfections was to cover the tooth with a crown. Today, in most cases there are several alternatives: crown, composite resin bonding, cosmetic contouring or orthodontics.
Non-permanent dental veneers are available. These dental veneers are molded to existing teeth and are removable and reusable and are made from a flexible resin material. Do it yourself at home kits are also available for the impression-taking process. Actual veneers are made in the lab and sent to the wearer through the mail.