Porcelain veneers are cosmetic dental restorations that can help make worn, discolored, chipped, uneven, cracked, and unattractive teeth look beautiful. Unlike dental crowns, which cover the whole tooth, porcelain veneers cover very little of the back of the tooth. In fact, these thin porcelain shells are placed over the front, most visible part of the tooth. Porcelain veneers are completely customized to produce results that look and function like natural teeth.
Porcelain veneers have been in existence since the mid-1980s. We at Delmarva Dental Services have been providing our patients with this service since 1987. Our dentists in Salisbury can address numerous common dental concerns with these effective treatments and help you enhance the appearance of your smile for years to come!
- Porcelain Veneers Pros and Cons
- Porcelain Veneers vs. Crowns
- Porcelain Veneers Procedure
- How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?
- Porcelain Veneer Alternatives
- Porcelain Veneers Cost
What Are the Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain dental veneer treatments are very common at our practice. This is likely due to the fact that this cosmetic dentistry option is so versatile and offers so many benefits for patients who are trying to improve smile aesthetics. Porcelain veneers can address a wide variety of concerns, including:
- Teeth affected by chips and cracks
- Teeth affected by spaces and gaps
- Teeth affected by discoloration and dark, deep stains
- Teeth that appear asymmetrical
- Teeth that are worn down
- Mild misalignment in certain areas
- Teeth that appear too short or irregular in shape
One of the best aspects of porcelain veneers is that, when performed by an experienced dentist who utilizes high-quality materials, there are virtually no “cons” associated with this treatment. With that in mind, it is important to note that most types of porcelain veneer procedures are not reversible since the tooth’s natural structure often requires some degree of modification before the veneer is placed. Even so, the irreversible nature of the procedure is typically not an issue since the results of porcelain veneers can have such a positive effect on smile aesthetics.
Porcelain Veneers vs. Crowns
Porcelain veneers share some similarities with custom-designed dental crowns; however, the many differences between these two types of restorations often make one more advantageous than the other, depending on each patient’s particular needs. The most prominent distinction is the fact that a porcelain veneer covers only the front and sides of the tooth, while a dental crown covers the entirety of the tooth. The reason for this is that a porcelain veneer is primarily designed to enhance and improve a tooth’s cosmetic appearance, while a dental crown is typically more ideal for a tooth that has been structurally, functionally, and aesthetically compromised by severe decay and/or damage. In the latter instance, a full crown is often advisable in order to strengthen the tooth, protect it from further deterioration, enhance its functionality, and improve its appearance. A porcelain veneer may be the better option in cases where the health of the tooth is in relatively good shape but something is compromising its appearance in some way. Another significant difference between a porcelain veneer procedure and treatment with a dental crown involves the basic preparation of the tooth before placement of the restoration. In many cases, a porcelain veneer requires very little modification of the natural tooth structure. Before a dental crown is placed, a significant amount of the tooth’s enamel and natural structure will likely need to be removed in order to eliminate areas of decay and make the tooth better able to comfortably accommodate the restoration.
During your initial examination, our dentist will talk with you about the best options for your needs and determine whether a porcelain veneer or a dental crown is the more ideal treatment.
What Is the Porcelain Veneers Procedure Like?
Veneering involves shaping the teeth, selecting a shade, and then making an impression. A dental lab makes the veneers and sends them back to our cosmetic dentist. There are a number of techniques that can be utilized to shape and make the veneers. The original technique was developed in the early 1980’s by the late Dr. Robert Nixon. It requires the removal of .5mm from the front of the tooth and 1mm from the biting edge. This compensates for the thickness of the veneer so the resulting tooth will be the same thickness. The dental lab builds layers of differing colored porcelains to the desired shape and shade. A technique many dental laboratories use is known as “stacked porcelain.” Its main advantages are that the veneers look more natural in color and shape. However, with this method, more of the tooth structure needs to be removed than the no-prep technique and the veneers require a highly skilled ceramicist and dental laboratory, like daVinci™ Dental Studio.
The “LVI” (Las Vegas Institute) technique is another way to create dental veneers. This option requires the most removal of tooth structure – 1mm on the front and 1mm on the biting edge. This is called a “Pressed Ceramic,” where the lab presses the porcelain onto the mold of the patient’s teeth and then stains it. This is an easier technique for the lab technician and the additional space created from grinding allows for a very natural shaped veneer. With the LVI technique, there is more tooth grinding than other approaches, and the color is not as natural as “stacked porcelain.”
During your initial consultation, our dentist will talk with you about your needs and goals and help you determine the type of veneer that can best meet your expectations. Once the tooth has been properly prepared and the veneer has been created, our dentist will apply it to the tooth and make sure it fits comfortably. The veneer is specifically designed to look natural, and it is color-tinted to ensure a seamless blend with surrounding teeth.
Porcelain veneer treatments are some of the most commonly performed dental procedures available. During treatment, a local anesthetic is typically all that’s necessary to maximize comfort; however, our practice offers a number of advanced sedation dentistry options for patients who would like to ensure the most relaxing experience possible.
How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?
Veneers can last a very long time, and they do not stain or wear down. With the proper care, porcelain veneers have been known to last decades. You can help maintain your veneers for as long as possible by making sure to brush and floss your teeth daily, and by seeing the dentist for check-ups and dental cleanings at least twice per year. It’s also important to steer clear of using the veneers to bite down on tough or hard foods. Patients who have a tendency to grind or clench their teeth while sleeping may want to consider a customized oral nightguard, which can minimize the risk of damaging the veneer by adding a protective buffer between the upper and lower teeth during sleep.
What Are Some of the Alternatives to Porcelain Veneers?
There are a variety of alternatives to porcelain veneers that may be appropriate for patients who wish to explore other options, depending on their specific needs. For spaces, gaps, and misalignment concerns, a treatment such as Invisalign® may be the best choice. Invisalign® uses a series of custom-made, clear aligners to give the teeth a straighter appearance and gently bring them into better alignment. This option can also often serve as an alternative to braces for many patients, offering a much more discreet way to address mild to moderate orthodontic conditions.
For patients who would like to diminish signs of stains and discoloration on the teeth, a teeth whitening procedure may be worthy of consideration. While teeth whitening treatments cannot address the appearance of particularly deep and dark stains the way porcelain veneers can, it can often be effective for discoloration that is less severe in nature.
In cases of significant tooth damage, decay, and structural deficiencies, a dental crown may be recommended over a porcelain veneer since dental crown procedures are more focused on restoring the health and functionality of a tooth, rather than aesthetics alone.
Ultimately, the best treatment for your unique needs and goals can be determined once your teeth have been examined during the initial consultation. Our dentist will be happy to go over all of your options and talk with you about any potential alternatives to porcelain veneers that may be of benefit.
What Do Porcelain Veneers Cost?
The total cost of porcelain veneers depends on each individual’s customized treatment plan. This makes the price of porcelain veneer treatment different among patients. Aspects of treatment that will factor into the cost of a porcelain veneer procedure include the number of veneers that are being created, the type of veneers that are utilized, the specific locations they will be placed, the overall complexity of the treatment, the level of tooth modification necessary for successful placement of the veneer, and other associated expenses. After you have met with our dentist and a personalized treatment plan has been developed, a member of our team will provide you with a comprehensive estimate of the total cost and answer any questions you may have. Delmarva Dental Services accepts a range of payment methods, and we work with numerous reputable companies that offer budget-friendly dental financing plans to patients who qualify.
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, please contact Delmarva Dental Services today.