Veneers are a thin layer of tooth-colored material placed on the front of teeth to improve their color and/or shape. They are used to create a more esthetic smile.
Resin veneers consist of a material similar to plastic. They are placed onto the tooth directly by the dentist and shaped to give the desired result. The tooth has to be treated with an acidic gel so the resin material can chemically bond to the tooth enamel. In some cases, a thin layer of the tooth enamel might need to be shaved off so that a sufficient thickness of the resin material can be added to the tooth to obtain the desired change in color or shape. Resin veneers are considered to be a direct technique and can be placed in a single visit. Resin veneers are however more prone to staining over time. The material can also fracture or chip over time. Resin veneers once placed with require regular maintenance to retain the desired effect.
Ceramic veneers consist of a thin layer (at least 0.8mm) of ceramic that is held onto the tooth by a cement. Ceramic veneers are manufactured in a dental laboratory after the dentist has prepared the teeth and sent a scan or impression of the prepared teeth. This is considered an indirect technique and require 2 visits for completion. Since the ceramic veneer has to be of a minimum thickness, some tooth enamel usually has to be removed from the front of the teeth to achieve the desired result. Ceramic veneers are quite durable and do not stain easily. They usually require less maintenance than resin veneers and provide a long-lasting esthetic result.