In dentistry, a veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth, or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two types of material used in a veneer, composite and 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 resin cement such as Panavia. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.
The advantages of using a veneer to restore a tooth are many. Very good aesthetics can be obtained, with minimal tooth preparation (i.e. drilling). Normally a reduction of around 0.5 mm is required for a porcelain veneer on a labial tooth surface. Composite veneers are becoming more popular as they are easy to repair, and porcelain veneers have a tendency to fracture. It can be very difficult to match the shade of an individual veneer to the remaining teeth, hence the tendency to place several veneers.