Getting Personal About Porcelain Veneers

Chances are, you've heard of porcelain veneers. Here at Austin Family Dentistry, they're one of our patients' favorite cosmetic dentistry option for the confidence-boosting smile they've only dreamed of. 

Veneers have quickly become one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry choices for a dramatic, beautiful smile makeover, and it's easy to understand why. Not only do they appear natural, they provide a permanent solution for individuals seeking to correct a variety of abnormalities in their smile. Despite being made from very thin pieces of porcelain, veneers are actually incredibly strong and durable. They're resistant to staining, so their pearly white color will remain no matter how often you indulge in wine or coffee. And the best part? They're genuinely a quick fix, often being referred to as "instant orthodontics". If you're concerned about spaces between your teeth, chips, discoloration, or a variety of cosmetic flaws in your smile, you might be the perfect candidate for veneers.

Are They For Me?

Most individuals are excellent candidates for veneers. However, certain oral health issues or a history of dental problems may prevent your dentist from performing the procedure, including:

  • Heavy clinching 
  • Periodontal disease
  • Extreme misalignment requiring orthodontics
  • Decay
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

If you severely clinch or grind your teeth, you risk cracking your veneers; as a result, your dentist may determine that you aren't a good candidate for the procedure. If you are only a nighttime clincher or grinder, your dentist may determine that a mouth guard is adequate protection.

Are They Permanent?

The accurate answer is yes, but no. The procedure requires partial removal of the tooth enamel, so you should expect for them to eventually be replaced. On average, porcelain veneers last 10 to 15 years for most individuals. Once the process begins and the enamel is removed, the procedure is considered irreversible.

Should I Expect Any Complications?

Like natural teeth, veneers require consistent care. After application, it is perfectly normal to experience temporary sensitivity to hot and cold due to partial removal of the tooth enamel. Additionally, you are at risk for decay around your veneers, so regular maintenance is imperative. 

Veneers require:

  • Regular dental cleanings
  • Regular brushing and flossing
  • Common-sense caution: Don't chew your fingernails, ice, or anything else that might damage or crack your veneers!
  • A non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste

Aren't They Expensive?

Generally speaking, veneers are definitely an investment. However, the overall improvement to your self-confidence is absolutely priceless. Cost varies from individual to individual, but we strongly believe in this classic adage - you get what you pay for. If a dental office offers "discounted" or "special pricing" on veneers, and the voice inside your head tells you that it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If not applied properly, your veneers will likely fail. Like the vast majority of cosmetic dentistry procedures, most insurance companies do not cover veneers. 

The Procedure

Typically, veneers require at least three appointments: diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation, and bonding.

During the tooth preparation visit (usually lasting one to two hours), the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. About a half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local anesthetic. During the same visit, a mold is taken of the teeth and sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers.

During the final "bonding" visit (also about one to two hours) the veneers are placed on the tooth surface with water or glycerin on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, they can be adjusted with various shades of cement to match the color of your teeth. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once a special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth, a visible light beam, or laser, causes a catalyst to be released, hardening the cement.

During a two-week period of adjustment that follows, you may notice the change of size and shape in your teeth. It is important to brush and floss daily. After one or two weeks, you`ll return for a follow-up appointment. Veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It`s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of porcelain veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth.

If you're looking for a dentist in Little Rock, AR who has the experience to create the smile of your dreams, look no further than Dr. Austin and his team of friendly professionals!

Here's a helpful infographic from Dental Healthcare Associates that provides additional information on the process: 

To set up a cosmetic dentistry consultation, contact our office today!