Porcelain veneers seem to be everywhere these days, with countless glossy magazines touting their benefits and Instagram influencers showing off their new pearly whites. Veneers are more popular than ever because of their ability to offer patients a dramatic smile makeover in very little time. That said, there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about how the process works. Here’s what you need to know about how porcelain veneers can improve your smile and boost your self-confidence.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain dental veneers are thin pieces of tooth-colored material that are carefully crafted to match the appearance of natural teeth. They are bonded directly onto your existing teeth in order to correct imperfections like size, shape, color, or a combination of these issues. Patients choose to get porcelain veneers because:
- Their teeth are yellowed, gray or brown from issues with the root, or stained from medication, fluorosis, wine, coffee, or smoking.
- They have a habit of teeth grinding or jaw clenching, which has caused damage to the teeth.
- There are large gaps between their teeth.
- Their teeth are dramatically uneven in size, shaped too uniformly or flat (often a result of teeth grinding), or otherwise irregular.
- They have chipped teeth.
What Is the Veneer Process Like?
The first step in the process is meeting with us to discuss the concerns you have about your smile and any treatment goals you might have. We’ll talk with you and help you decide if porcelain veneers are the right choice to help you achieve your goals.
We will take digital imaging and impressions, allowing us to create a 3D model of your mouth on our computer. Not only do we use these models to show you what your new smile will look like, but it also lets us see how your veneers will interact with adjacent teeth and guides the dental laboratory in fabricating your custom porcelain veneers.
At your next appointment, we will place temporary veneers on your teeth. First, we shave a small amount of enamel from your teeth, then we attach the temporary veneers to help you decide if you like the way they look or if you’d prefer to have them adjusted before the permanent veneers are placed.
The final step in the process comes when we place your permanent veneers. We clean your teeth thoroughly, which prevents decay from forming behind the veneers, then we etch your teeth, which produces a rough surface to allow the porcelain veneers to attach more securely. Dental cement is used to affix your veneers to your teeth, then this cement is cured using a special ultraviolet light.
What Is the Cost of Porcelain Veneers?
Everyone is different and we can’t determine how much veneers will cost you until we see you in our office, where we can do an assessment and provide you with a cost estimate. Porcelain veneers are not covered by dental insurance; if you’d like information about financing options, please let us know.
How Long Will Porcelain Veneers Last?
Porcelain veneers can last anywhere between 15 and 20 years with good oral hygiene practices and regular maintenance. This means brushing for two minutes, twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist every six months for cleanings and oral exams.
Are There Alternatives to Porcelain Veneers?
Some patients realize after their consultation that there are other options better suited to their needs. Alternatives to porcelain veneers include teeth whitening, Invisalign, dental bonding, teeth shaping, and gum contouring.