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Veneers 101 - Top 10 Patient Questions Answered

All About Porcelain Veneers: The Most Common Patient Questions


July 20, 2017

Who Is A Candidate For Porcelain Veneers?

If you have rotated, crooked, chipped and stained teeth, you may be a great candidate for porcelain veneers. They are often the treatment of choice to improve your smile if you desire a change in shape and color, or if you have worn down edges.  Of course, your dentist will assess and evaluate whether you are a candidate for veneers or crowns at your consultation visit.

Do I Need Porcelain Veneers?

When stains prove too significant for tooth whitening to eliminate, you might want to consider porcelain veneers. These thin dental “contact lens” like porcelain slivers adhere to the front of teeth, instantly masking discoloration that would otherwise detract from their appearance. Porcelain veneers can also address minor misalignment issues for when you opt not to consider orthodontic treatment. So if you have mildly crooked and rotated teeth, it might be a good idea to have a discussion about having porcelain veneers!

Are There Other Types Of Veneers?

There are 2 types of veneers that differ in the material from which they are made.

Composite resin veneers can be created chairside by the dentist through direct bonding and will cover the front of your teeth. Sometimes the cost can be lower, however they will stain over time as the composite surface can wear or be more prone to darkening by exposure to liquids and food.  Porcelain, or ceramic veneers can be fabricated with various techniques, but the porcelain is a non-porous, high strength ceramic material that is very durable and will not stain over time.

What Kind Of Dentist Should I Go To For Veneers?

Most general dentists who focus on esthetic dentistry can place porcelain veneers, but the field of prosthodontics is one of only nine ADA accredited specialties that specifically recognizes the replacement and restoration of teeth at an expert level.  A Prosthodontist can accurately diagnose, treatment plan and create beautiful veneers while working collaboratively with the lab technologist.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are created in combination with your dentist (hopefully your prosthodontist!) and a dental laboratory technologist. Once completed, they are secured to your teeth with bonding and can either conservatively enhance or drastically improve your smile. The veneers are created using porcelain or resin composite, and when meticulously executed, they almost become part of your natural teeth. After your consultation, the procedure begins with your dentist shaving off a small amount of your tooth to make room for the veneer. Then an impression or an intraoral scan will be made capturing information from which the veneer can be fabricated. At a second appointment, your dentist will try in and then bond the veneer and make any final adjustments before bonding the veneer to your tooth.

Everyone wants to have a beautiful smile and show off healthy, white teeth. Sometimes it can take some assistance to get the smile you’ve always wanted. Age, heredity, lifestyle choices, and accidents can all affect the way your teeth look and function. If you have been considering improving your smile, a prosthodontist can help.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Cost?

The cost of a porcelain veneer can vary depending on the clinician and dental technologist.  Experienced dentists and dental ceramists may charge a higher fee for each tooth, and the cost may also be related to the location and facility where the veneers are fabricated.  In the NYC metropolitan area you can expect to pay around 2-3K per tooth.

How Much Downtime Is There?

While there is no downtime for “recovery” from the procedure, it takes 2-3 visits to complete treatment. I always advise my patients that while they are waiting for the permanent veneers to be bonded, there are a few days that they will be wearing temporary veneers and they should be careful to not bite directly into crunchy, hard foods.

What Are The Biggest Risks?

Any time the surface of a tooth is altered, it is an irreversible procedure.  The risk of not being able to “grow back” tooth structure should always be taken into consideration when having a dental procedure.  There is also a risk of having to replace a veneer if it should de-bond or crack or if the tooth becomes affected by changes in health, medications or decay.

What Are The Biggest Benefits?

Consistently, the biggest benefits for patients with veneers are the esthetic outcomes and positive changes that patients experience.  Once bonded, porcelain veneers are very strong and can enhance the strength of previously weakened teeth.  Often, as the smile appearance improves, so does the comfort level of communicating and smiling!


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