When you are comfortable with your smile, you are happier and more confident—an important asset in both social and business settings.
One way to brighten your smile is porcelain veneers, which improve discoloration and fix worn or chipped teeth. They are instant orthodontics, which can transform a crooked, uneven, stained smile to a straight, white one in only two to three visits.
Porcelain Veneers Uses
Dentists might recommend using veneers for:
- Discoloring associated with root canals, drugs, or fluorosis—stains from fluoride exposure during infancy and early childhood.
- Repairing teeth worn from aging or chipped, broken teeth
- Cost-efficient alternative to braces for crooked or misaligned teeth or gaps in between teeth.
Benefits of Veneers
Some porcelain veneer advantages include:
- Natural: The veneer’s color and shape matches the teeth around it.
- No irritation: Since the porcelain doesn’t harm the gum tissue.
- Brighter: More than other materials such as resins.
- Versatile: Conceal most cosmetic flaws—stains, chips, spaces between teeth, cracks and misshapen teeth.
- Easy to maintain: Do not require any special care when brushing or flossing.
- Extremely durable: No food considerations.
- Stain resistant: Material is dental-grade porcelain and does not stain.
Who is a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers require reasonably healthy teeth, so although porcelain veneers are suitable for most, those with the dental conditions listed below are not good candidates:
- Significant and deep tooth decay
- Unhealthy gums or gingivitis
- Numerous cracks in teeth
- Severely misaligned teeth
- Loss of underlying tooth structure
- Significant erosion of the tooth enamel
- Those who grind, or clench their teeth
If you have any of these conditions, your dentist will devise a treatment plan to address them. Once these conditions are resolved, you might be a suitable candidate for porcelain veneers.
Porcelain Veneers Procedure
The first appointment assesses your dental health through an exam and possibly X-rays, to determine if porcelain veneers are appropriate. Then a treatment plan is developed.
The second appointment involves removing a thin layer of enamel from the surface of the tooth or teeth where the veneer will be placed. A teeth impression is made and sent to the lab to serve as a model for the veneer.
At the next appointment, the veneer is attached, and you can enjoy your new, confident smile.
Costs of Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers costs include the dentist’s fees, porcelain production costs, dental lab fees and the number of veneers placed. If you have dental insurance, our office manager will check your cost estimate. Porcelain veneers are usually seen as a cosmetic procedure, but there are situations that some insurance will pay for the veneers.
Porcelain Veneers: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How are porcelain veneers different from crowns?
A. Porcelain veneers require the underlying tooth structure to be intact since the veneer is a shell attached to the front of the tooth by your dentist. The primary function of porcelain veneer is to enhance your smile.
Q. Are veneers “one size fits all” so my smile looks like everyone else’s smile that has veneers?
A. The dentist makes porcelain veneers from a mold from your teeth so your smile remains your own. The porcelain is tinted, so it is similar to your existing tooth color, just brighter. Porcelain veneers appear natural, so people will only notice a brighter, straighter smile.
Q. Will I have to replace the porcelain veneers? If so, how frequently?
A. Porcelain veneers can last decades and in some cases, even a lifetime. Your dentist can inform you if you need to have the veneers replaced based on your age and dental health.
Types of Veneers
Lumineers differ from traditional veneers in that they do not require numbing, drilling or etching of the tooth enamel prior to bonding. Using a contact-lens ultra thin porcelain material, the veneers are placed on your teeth during a quick and painless procedure. Lumineers are designed to match your tooth enamel’s natural appearance. They are the easiest way to transform the shape and color of your smile.
A follow-up visit will be scheduled to check on the veneers and make any adjustments as necessary. Patients can expect veneers to last approximately 10 to 20 years.
Composite Veneers vs. Porcelain Veneers
Composite veneers are done in one visit, and the cheaper alternative to porcelain veneers. Unlike porcelain veneers, an impression is not sent to the lab, but instead is created in the office. The cosmetic dentist places them directly on each tooth and then smoothes and polishes them. You walk out of the office with a new smile in only one day.
Some disadvantages to composite are that they are not as strong as porcelain veneers, and can break more easily. But they can also be repaired easily. Also, the color is not as stable as porcelain veneers and may change over time.
Dental Bonding vs. Porcelain Veneers
Dental bonding uses a special dental resin that is applied directly to the chip or crack of a tooth. This dental resin is sturdy and, once it dries and is set properly, your teeth will be able to endure normal wear and tear. The dental resin matches the color of your tooth. The bonding lasts from three to ten years.
In general, porcelain veneers are a wiser choice since they look natural; and fix chips, cracks, major dental stains and minor unevenness. Dental bonding is a lot cheaper, however, and in the case of minor tooth chips and cracks dental bonding can be just as effective as porcelain veneers.