Many patients visit our office looking for solutions for crooked, crowded, gapped or stained teeth. While there are quite a few options to treat these issues, porcelain veneers are a non-invasive and simple solution.
If you’re considering dental veneers, it’s important to know what they are and how the process works.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain that are designed to look like your natural teeth. They are ideal for those noticeable areas of your smile, like your front teeth, because they cover up imperfections while blending in with the rest of your teeth.
Porcelain veneers are custom-made to match the color, shape, size and density of your natural teeth. Composite fillings can be used as an alternative to veneers but they will not last as long or look as natural as veneers.
For patients with crooked or crowded teeth, veneers offer a quick solution to restore your smile. Other options, like metal braces and Invisalign, can take a year or more to see results. Veneers, on the other hand, can take as little as one month.
What are the Benefits of Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers offer many advantages to patients who want to correct or improve their smiles.
They Can Cover Cracks, Chips and Stains
Veneers are a simple solution for cracked, chipped or stained teeth. They can also help fill small gaps between teeth.
If chips or cracks have made your tooth more fragile, then we many recommend a crown instead. But for minor imperfections, veneers are a great solution.
They are a Long-Lasting Solution
Some dental restoration options are longer-lasting than others. Dental veneers are highly durable and can last up to a decade or more with the right care.
To maximize the lifespan of veneers, it’s best to:
- Avoid biting on hard objects, such as ice cubes and pen caps.
- Wear a mouth guard if you grind or clench your teeth.
- Brush and floss regularly.
- Visit us regularly for cleanings and exams.
Proper care can go a long way in keeping your veneers looking their best for years to come.
The Procedure is Non-Invasive
Once enamel is removed from your teeth, it’s gone for good. Some dental procedures require the removal of a significant amount of enamel.
With veneers, however, only a small amount of enamel is removed to ensure they blend in with your smile and adhere to your natural teeth.
Because the procedure is non-invasive, some patients find that they don’t even need local anesthesia.
They Look Natural
Porcelain veneers look like natural teeth. No one will ever know that you have them – unless you tell them.
We create veneers to mimic the natural shape, size and color of your teeth. Porcelain is also translucent, which allows some of your natural tooth color to show through.
They Can Boost Your Confidence
If you have minor tooth imperfections or discoloration, veneers can instantly boost your self-esteem. Your smile is one of the first things people see. Having brighter and straighter teeth can help you feel more confident when you smile.
They are Stain Resistant
Porcelain veneers are resistant to stains. Because they are non-porous, they also have a higher resistance against cavities compared to your natural teeth.
They are Easy to Maintain
One of the biggest advantages of veneers is that they’re so easy to maintain. They require the same care as your natural teeth:
- Brush at least twice per day
- Floss once per day
- Avoid chewing or biting hard foods or objects.
And because veneers are stain-resistant, you don’t have to worry about discoloration from wine or coffee.
They May Help with Sensitivity
Many patients are under the impression that dental veneers increase sensitivity. However, veneers can actually deter sensitivity. Enamel erosion can cause sensitivity. Veneers are bonded to the surface of the tooth, which can help reduce or even eliminate this issue.
The Drawbacks of Veneers
While there are many benefits of veneers, there are also some drawbacks that need to be considered, such as:
They May Increase Sensitivity
Some patients find that veneers really do increase their sensitivity. Whether sensitivity improves or worsens after veneers will depend on the individual patient.
Some patients who never had this issue before find that their teeth are more sensitive to cold and hot foods and drinks after getting veneers.
They are Permanent
Veneers are a permanent restoration option. Once they’ve been placed, there is no going back. This means that you will need to be prepared to replace them every 10+ years.
Most patients find that the benefits of veneers outweigh this slight drawback.
While porcelain veneers are durable and long-lasting, they aren’t invulnerable. They may still crack or break, even with consistent care. Accidents can and do happen, so this is something to keep in mind.
Who is a Candidate for Veneers?
You may be a good candidate for veneers if you have teeth that are:
Your teeth should still have enough enamel to support the veneer, and your bite should be properly aligned.
Who is Not a Good Candidate for Veneers?
While many people find that they are great candidates for veneers, this procedure is not for everyone.
Veneers may not be the right option for you if you have:
- Extensive tooth decay
- Gum disease
- A habit of grinding or clenching your teeth
- Broken teeth
The best candidates for veneers are those with healthy teeth and gums. Depending on your unique situation, we may need to correct some issues before considering veneers.
What is the Procedure for Porcelain Veneers?
Dental veneers take, on average, two to three dental visits to complete. The first step is to get an exam to see if you’re a good candidate for veneers and to discuss your options.
Once you’ve decided that veneers are the right option from you, we can schedule your first visit. Sometimes in preparation for a final shade of your veneers we will whiten your teeth prior to veneers.
Here's how the process works:
During your first visit, we will remove about half of a millimeter of enamel. Removing this small bit of enamel will ensure your veneers fit properly.
Next, we’ll take an impression of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to the lab to create your permanent veneers.
Before you go, we can place temporary veneers on your teeth to help protect against decay or injury until your permanent ones arrive.
It typically takes 1-2 weeks to get veneers back from the lab. Once they’ve arrived, we can schedule your appointment for final placement.
During this appointment, we’ll evaluate the look and fit of the veneers to make sure they blend in naturally with your smile.
Before placing your veneers, we will perform a thorough cleaning. The cleaning step is important because it prevents bacteria from getting trapped underneath the veneer and causing tooth decay.
Next, we will use a grinding tool to create a rougher texture on your teeth. A rougher surface will make it easier for the veneer to stick to your tooth.
Finally, we will use cement to bond your permanent veneer to your tooth and ultraviolet light to cure the cement quickly.
The second appointment is typically less than two hours, but the length of your stay will depend on how many veneers are being placed and whether we need to use local anesthetic.
Does the Procedure Hurt?
If you’re concerned about pain, local anesthetic can be used to make the placement of your veneers more comfortable.
- If you’re only having 2-4 veneers placed, you may not experience any discomfort after the anesthetic wears of.
- If you’re having several veneers placed, you may have some soreness in the jaw or gums after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication should give you relief.
Most patients have a positive experience with the veneer procedure and walk away feeling more confident in their smiles.
How Much Do Dental Veneers Cost?
There are several factors that can affect the cost of veneers, but on average, a single veneer can cost:
Factors that can affect the cost include:
- The type of material used
- Whether you have dental insurance
- How many veneers you need
Is Gum Contouring Necessary?
In some cases, gum contouring is necessary to give the veneer a better fit. Often, this is only done to lengthen short teeth and create symmetry.
The good news is that if you do need gum contouring, you shouldn’t experience any discomfort during or after the treatment.
What Happens if a Veneer Comes Off?
Although rare, there is a risk that your veneers may come off. If this happens, it’s important not to panic and to call our office to make an appointment as soon as possible.
If possible, save the veneer. Do not attempt to reattach the veneer.
Your teeth may be extra sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks while the veneer is off. We will get you into the office as soon as possible to reattach the veneer or replace it.
If you have teeth that are discolored, crooked or chipped, veneers may be a good option for you. We encourage you to call our office to make an appointment and find out if veneers will be the right fit for you and your smile.