What are NHS dentures, bridges and veneers made of?

Dentures, bridges and veneers available on the NHS can be made of several different materials.

Ask your dentist what material they recommend, as some will be more suitable than others.


Dentures (false teeth) are fitted in place of natural teeth. You remove them yourself for cleaning. Dentures on the NHS can be made of:

  • synthetic resin 
  • metal  
  • synthetic resin and metal


A bridge is a fixed replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. A bridge on the NHS can be made of:

  • porcelain-bonded metal alloys containing 60% or more fine gold 
  • metal alloys containing stainless steel, cobalt chromium, or nickel chromium
  • acrylic (plastic) for temporary bridges
  • a special type of strong porcelain 

Bridges may also be made of other non-metallic materials. You should ask your dentist what is most suitable for you.


A veneer is a new surface to fit over the front of a tooth. They're only available on the NHS if there's a clinical or medical need for them. Veneers are not available on the NHS just to improve the appearance of your teeth (cosmetic reasons).

Veneers on the NHS can be made of:

  • porcelain 
  • composite materials (the materials that make white fillings)

The shade of the veneer can be matched to your other teeth.

Read the answers to more questions about dental health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 02/02/2015

Next review due: 02/02/2018