Do you have discolored, chipped, or misaligned teeth that make you feel self-conscious about your smile? If so, you may have considered getting dental veneers. Two of the most popular types of veneers are composite veneers and porcelain veneers, with the latter being the most expensive but often considered the highest quality. So, are porcelain veneers worth it?
If you’re considering porcelain veneers, it’s important to have a good understanding of what they are, how they work, and what to expect during the process. In this article, we will take a closer look at porcelain veneers, their benefits, and potential drawbacks, helping you make an informed decision about whether porcelain dental veneers are right for you.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin, customized shells made from high-quality dental ceramic. They are designed to cover the front of the entire tooth structure. They are color-matched to blend with the rest of your teeth and can be shaped and polished to look like your natural enamel.
Veneers are commonly used in cosmetic dentistry to correct a variety of aesthetic issues, such as:
- discoloration/stained teeth
- wear and tear
- chipped or broken teeth
- gapped teeth
- minor misalignment
Benefits of Veneers
One of the main benefits of veneers is that they can give you a brighter, more uniform smile without the need for extensive restorative dentistry treatments that can be long, painful, and expensive.
Here are some other reasons people choose this treatment option for their cosmetic concerns:
- Aesthetics: Porcelain veneers offer a quick and comprehensive solution to various cosmetic issues. They can dramatically transform your smile, improving color, shape, and alignment.
- Durability: Veneers are stain-resistant and can last for up to 10 years or longer with proper care.
- Confidence Boost: The most significant benefit, perhaps, is the boost in self-confidence that comes from having a beautiful smile. This can have far-reaching effects on personal and professional relationships.
Things to Consider
While porcelain veneers can provide significant cosmetic improvements, it’s essential to consider the potential downsides before proceeding with this treatment. Here are some of the key things to consider:
- Irreversible Procedure: Veneer placement requires the removal of a thin layer of your tooth’s enamel, which doesn’t regrow. Once it’s removed, it’s gone for good. This means the decision to get veneers is irreversible.
- Sensitivity: After the procedure, you may experience increased sensitivity in your teeth, especially to hot or cold food and drinks. This is because a layer of enamel has been removed, exposing the more sensitive layers of your teeth.
- Damage: While veneers are relatively durable, they aren’t invincible. They can chip or crack, especially if you grind your teeth, bite your nails, chew on hard objects, or play contact sports without a mouth guard. You must practice very good oral hygiene habits to ensure you don’t damage them.
- Cost: Dental veneers are an expensive procedure and often aren’t covered by dental insurance, as they are considered cosmetic treatment.
Good Candidates for Porcelain Veneers
Almost anyone who is unsatisfied with the appearance of their smile can consider porcelain veneers. However, it’s crucial to have good oral health before proceeding. This means no active gum disease, untreated tooth decay, or serious misalignment. People who grind their teeth might also be unsuitable for veneers since the pressure can cause them to crack or chip. Additionally, those with a thin enamel layer may not be the best candidates, as a small amount of tooth enamel needs to be removed before veneer application.
Many people choose to get veneers as part of a smile makeover, often after receiving orthodontic treatment or other restorations for certain dental issues.
Dental Veneer Procedure
The porcelain veneers process typically involves several steps spread over a few appointments with a cosmetic dentist. Here is a general outline of the process:
- Initial Consultation: The first step is a consultation with your dentist. The dentist will examine your oral health to determine if you are a good candidate for veneers. This appointment may include X-rays or impressions of your mouth and teeth.
- Enamel Removal: Once you and your cosmetic dentist have decided to proceed, the next step is to prepare your teeth for the veneers. This involves the removal of about 0.5 millimeters of enamel from the surface of your teeth, which is about equal to the thickness of the veneer to be added. Your dentist will then make a model or impression of your tooth, which is sent to a dental lab where your veneer will be constructed.
- Temporary Veneers: In the meantime, your dentist may place temporary veneers on your prepared teeth to protect them while the actual veneers are being made. This is usually optional and may depend on the amount of enamel that was removed.
- Bonding: Once the porcelain veneers are ready, your dentist will first temporarily place them on your teeth to check their fit and color. They can be trimmed, and the color can be adjusted with the shade of cement used to apply them. Your teeth will then be cleaned, polished, and etched, which roughens them to allow for a strong bonding process. A special dental cement is applied to the veneer, which is then placed on your tooth. Once properly positioned, your dentist will apply a special light beam to the veneer, which activates chemicals in the cement, causing it to harden quickly.
- Final Steps: After the veneer is firmly in place, your dentist will remove any excess cement, check your bite, and make any final adjustments necessary. You may be asked to come back for a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to ensure the veneers are properly placed and that your gums are responding well to the presence of the veneers.
Cost of Porcelain Veneers
The cost of porcelain veneers can vary greatly, and the average cost per tooth could range from $1,000 to $2,000. It’s important to note that most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of veneers as they are considered a cosmetic procedure. High-quality veneers can represent a significant investment and should be considered carefully.
How to Decide if Porcelain Veneers are Right For You
Deciding whether porcelain veneers are worth the investment is a highly personal decision. It’s important to weigh the benefits of porcelain veneers against the cost and other considerations. If you’re struggling with self-confidence because of the appearance of your natural teeth and it’s affecting your quality of life, veneers could be a worthwhile investment.
If you are considering this or any other cosmetic dental procedure, give us a call. We can provide you with personalized advice based on your oral health and cosmetic goals and help you explore an option that will help you meet your smile goals.