Veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front parts of teeth. If most of the tooth remains, veneers can improve the look of thetooth without cutting it down enough to place a crown. Veneers are made of ceramic or resin materials. They are similar to artificial fingernails.

Veneers are used to correct cosmetic defects on teeth or to correct the way that teeth come together. Cosmetic problems that can be corrected with veneers include:

  • Teeth that are slightly crooked or stained
  • Chipped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Teeth that are different lengths

In the past, the only way to correct these or other imperfections was to cover the tooth with a crown. The teeth will need to be reshaped (cut) before veneers are put on. Sometimes, very little reshaping is needed. Other times, more of the tooth needs to be removed.

Veneers look like natural teeth. Porcelain veneers resist stains from coffee, tea or smoking better than resin veneers do. Resin veneers cost less, but they chip easily and don’t last as long as ceramic veneers. You and your dentist also should talk about whether veneers will work for you. For some people, the way the teeth come together (the bite) creates pressures that could chip or break veneers.

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