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In dentistry, veneers are thin layers 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 veneers, 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.

Veneers were invented in the 1930s by a California dentist named Charles Pincus. At the time, they fell off in a very short time as they were held on by denture adhesive. They were, however,useful for temporarily changing the appearance of movie actors'/actress's teeth.

Research started in 1982 by Simonsen and Calamia revealed that porcelain could be etched with Hydrofluoric Acid and bond strengths could be achieved between composite resins and porcelain that were predicted to be able to hold porcelain veneers on to the surface of a tooth permanently. This was confirmed by Calamia in an article describing a technique for fabrication, and placement of Etched Bonded Porcelain Veneers using a refractory model technique and Horn describing a platinum foil technique for veneer fabrication. Additional articles have proven the long term reliability of this technique.

Today, with improved cements and bonding agents, they typically last 10-15 years. But patients who receive veneers should understand that they may only last 10-15 years and then may have to be replaced. This can be very expensive since porcelain veneers cost around $1,000 each in 2006 prices. They are said to be somewhat more durable and less likely to stain than veneers made of composite.

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