If you're looking for a permanent solution to your tooth problems, you might want to try porcelain veneers. This type of dental treatment has seen significant technical improvements in the last few years, and more and more people are turning to dental veneers to fix their smiles once and for all. If you're considering having dental veneers put on your teeth, it's important to know everything that you can about these dental implants and how they differ from other types of cosmetic dental procedures.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Dental veneers are thin layers that can be added to your teeth by a cosmetic dentist. These veneers are tooth-colored, and they are generally made from materials that are similar to teeth in appearance. Technically, veneers can be applied to any of your teeth, but most people only choose to have veneers added to the eight teeth that are located at the top front area of your mouth. While some people choose to have veneers applied to every viable tooth, some people prefer to only address the worst two or three of their teeth. Dental veneers are permanent, and it may be necessary to go through a significant dental procedure to install these smile solutions.

Composite vs. Porcelain Veneers

A variety of materials are used to make these veneers, and porcelain and resin-composites are the most common types of materials that cosmetic dentists use for this procedure. Each type of veneer has its benefits and detractors, but the main reason why a person would choose a composite veneer over a porcelain veneer is cost. Composite veneers cost about half as much as porcelain veneers, but you aren't wasting your money when you spring for porcelain veneers. These types of veneers are significantly more durable than composite veneers, and when you're making a dental decision that will last you the rest of your life, durability is an important concern.

In addition, porcelain veneers look more natural than composite veneers, which are typically made from the same material that is used for tooth fillings. If you've ever seen a filling on a tooth, you know that this substance doesn't look exactly like the surrounding tooth, but the bright white of a porcelain veneer looks just like a normal tooth unless you look at it under a magnifying glass. Composite veneers are also more porous than porcelain veneers, which means that they are more susceptible to staining over time. If you don't want to go back to the dentist begging to have your veneers redone after five years, porcelain veneers are the way to go.

One downside of porcelain veneers is that the process of applying these veneers to your teeth takes significantly longer than applying composite veneers. However, more and more cosmetic dentists are incorporating CAD/CAM technology into their practices, which speeds up the process of creating permanent porcelain veneers for your teeth much faster. If you're still unsure as to whether composite or porcelain veneers are best for your teeth, you should consult with your dentist, but if you want to make sure that your teeth look the best for longest, porcelain veneers are the clear winners.

What Are the Benefits of Porcelain Veneers?

When you decide to have porcelain veneers applied to your teeth, you can expect to experience a number of benefits immediately. Some examples of some of the benefits that are offered by these dental prosthetics include:

  • Instant smile whitening: Whitening treatments can only go so far. If you've been trying to whiten your teeth for a while to no avail, that might be one reason why you decide to pursue porcelain veneers. These prosthetics go onto your teeth bright white, and they don't usually fade or stain with age.
  • Cosmetic issues disappear: Maybe you have stains on your teeth, or maybe you're still self-conscious about that chip on your tooth that you got when you fell off the dock in the summer of your junior year of high school. Whatever type of minor cosmetic damage you may have incurred to your teeth, porcelain veneers cover it all up and give you the appearance of brand-new teeth.
  • Damaged enamel becomes a thing of the past: The enamel on your teeth wears down over time, and most experts agree that it's impossible to regenerate enamel once it's gone. If the enamel on your teeth has worn down to the extent that you can see yellow dentin through this hard outer layer, you might want to invest in porcelain veneers. These dental prosthetics essentially add a new layer of artificial enamel to the fronts of your teeth, which makes your teeth look better while also protecting them from further damage.

Are There Different Types of Porcelain Veneers?

There are two main kinds of porcelain veneers:

  • Traditional veneers: These veneers require a much more intensive process to put on your teeth. While traditional veneers are used less and less these days, they may still be the right option in your situation if your teeth have undergone moderate cosmetic damage. To apply traditional veneers, your dentist will need to grind away a significant amount of your teeth, and they may even need to remove tooth material beyond the enamel. The process of applying traditional veneers is often painful, so your dentist may need to apply a local anesthetic before they begin this procedure.
  • No-prep veneers: Newer types of veneers are often called no-prep veneers, and while these types of veneers do actually require a modicum of prep work, it's much easier to install no-prep veneers than it is to install traditional veneers. You'll never need to endure tooth grinding beyond the enamel when you get no-prep veneers installed, which means that it's unlikely that you'll need to have a local anesthetic applied when you undergo this procedure. No-prep veneers are sometimes more expensive than traditional veneers, but this procedure is much less intensive and invasive than having traditional veneers applied.

How Are Veneers Put On Your Teeth?

Depending on the types of porcelain veneers that you are applying to your teeth, your dentist may apply a local anesthetic to begin the procedure. Then, they will use a tool to grind off the top layer of your enamel, and they will take a mold of your teeth. Since it takes a while to create your permanent veneers, your dentist will attach temporary veneers that will last until you can have your permanent veneers applied.

In most cases, permanent veneers are made in an independent lab, and it takes about two weeks for your veneers to be completed. Once they are ready, you will schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist, and they will begin the process of applying your permanent veneers. To begin, they will remove the temporary veneers, and they will then make sure that your veneers are a perfect match for your teeth. If the veneers are a perfect match, they will proceed to attach the veneers to your teeth. 

First, your dentist will thoroughly clean your teeth. It is incredibly important that your dentist cleans your teeth completely and doesn't let them contact your gums or lips for the rest of the procedure since if any bacteria gets caught between your veneers and your teeth, you could develop a bacterial infection that could seriously compromise your health.

After cleaning your teeth, your dentist will use a roughening chemical or a roughening tool to make the surface of your teeth loss glossy, which helps the veneers stick to your teeth. Next, your dentist will use dental cement to bind your veneers to your teeth. This cement hardens with ultraviolet light, which means that you won't have to wait very long until your new smile is ready to go.

All in all, this final appointment to apply your permanent veneers usually takes less than two hours, but it may take longer if your doctor needs to apply a local anesthetic. Before you leave the cosmetic dentistry office, however, make sure to ask your dentist about the best ways to care for your new veneers.

How Do You Take Care of Veneers?

You won't have to endure a significant recovery process after your veneers are applied. In most cases, you can eat and drink immediately after your veneers are installed, and you can start showing off your veneers to all of your friends and family members. If a local anesthetic was applied during the application procedure, you may want to wait about an hour to use your veneers since your mouth will still be numb and you could bite your cheeks or lips by mistake.

In some cases, the dental cement that was used to apply your veneers can run out around the edges of your teeth, and you might need to return to your dentist to have this excess cement ground off. However, these rough patches of cement usually wear off by themselves within a few days.

You should take care of your new veneers the same way that you take care of your normal teeth. You'll still need to brush and floss your teeth after you apply your veneers, but you don't need to skirt around your veneers when you brush them; your toothbrush won't damage these layers of hard porcelain.

If you take care of your veneers effectively, they should last between 10 and 15 years. No-prep veneers don't last as long as traditional veneers, and as these dental prosthetics start to wear out, you may notice a degree of looseness, or they may start to wear through and show the original enamel underneath. To make sure that your veneers last as long as possible, you should follow common-sense dental guidelines such as avoiding chewing on hard objects like pens or fingernails.

In reality, you should avoid eating with your front teeth as much as possible; relegate the heavy chewing to your molars, and make sure that you don't grind your teeth during the day or while you're sleeping. In addition, if you play sports or even if you just like going for the occasional bike ride around the block, make sure to use a mouth guard to protect your new dental investment.

Are There Any Alternatives to Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers might be a good idea if your teeth are just moderately damaged. There aren't any comparable treatments to veneers when it comes to methods to help your smile recover from moderate damage, but veneers might not be the right option if you are experiencing serious issues with your teeth.

For instance, if you have significant tooth decay, you shouldn't get porcelain veneers until your decay has been stopped. In the interim, you may want to use treatments such as crowns or root canals to get your decay in check. Also, if a significant amount of the tooth structure is missing, veneers aren't the right option for you; while veneers can close gaps and cover stains, they can't recreate large chunks of your tooth.

Similarly, you'll want to pursue traditional orthodontic treatment if you suffer from severely malpositioned teeth, and if you habitually clench or grind your teeth, you might want to reconsider your decision to try dental veneers. While grinding your teeth does serious damage to your enamel, the damage that this habit does to veneers is even more severe.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Usually Cost?

The price of porcelain veneers varies depending on the state of your teeth and the types of veneers you choose. No-prep porcelain veneers are usually considerably more expensive than traditional veneers, and if your cosmetic dentist needs to perform a significant amount of work to get your teeth ready to accept veneers, you may end up paying more to have this process done.

In general, porcelain veneers usually cost between $900 and $2,500 per tooth. This cost may be mitigated somewhat if you have multiple veneers applied at the same time, but the high-quality materials and labor-intensive practices use to apply veneers means that there isn't much wiggle room in terms of price. For comparison, composite veneers only cost about $200 to $1,000 per tooth, but keep in mind that they last about half as long and don't look as good when they are applied to your teeth.

Are Porcelain Veneers Dangerous?

Having veneers applied to your teeth isn't generally considered to be a risky dental procedure. Most cosmetic dentistry procedures are relatively safe, and veneers are no exception; however, there are a few potential dangers that you should keep in mind as you consider whether or not veneers are right for you.

If bacteria becometrapped between your tooth and veneer, it can become more and more virulent as it seeks a way to escape. By the time it finds a way out of the space between your veneer and your enamel, it could potentially bypass most of your immune responses and cause a serious bacterial infection. In addition, if any spaces are left between your tooth and your veneer where fluid or debris can get in, you could experience staining or cavities on the frontarea of your tooth.When these issues occur with your veneer, it becomes necessary to start from scratch with a new porcelain veneer.

Things to Consider

As you prepare to have veneers put on your teeth, there are a couple of factors that you should keep in mind:

  • Veneers aren't covered by most dental insurance plans: If you want to get veneers, you'll most likely be doing so out-of-pocket. Most dental insurance providers consider dental veneers to be purely cosmetic in nature, and since they can't be shown to improve your health and well-being beyond the aesthetic level, it isn't in the best interests of insurance companies to cover the costs associated with this procedure. The right dentist will, however, be willing to talk to you about financing options.
  • Veneers are irreversible: Think long and hard about the costs and benefits of getting veneers before you proceed. If you decide that you don't want veneers after a few weeks or months, no dentist will help you with the process of removing them. Since a layer of enamel has been stripped to make room for your veneers, it will be both unsightly and unsafe to remove these dental prostheses. The most that a dentist will do will be to replace your veneers with new ones; keep in mind that you'll need to get new veneers sooner or later since they only last a few years.

Get in Touch with Porcelain Veneers Specialists Near Me

If you're ready to get your smile back by investing in a set of porcelain veneers, it's time to get in touch with the cosmetic dentists who can get the job done. Drs. David Ganji and Sam Ganji at The Downey Dentist are standing by to determine the best way to get you the veneers you need to impress your colleagues and always look your best. To get started, call The Downey Dentist at 562-746-0350 today.