What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that act as enamel substitutes to correct various cosmetic concerns including chips, misshapen teeth, discolorations, and spacing or crowding issues. When bonded to the front of your natural teeth, customized porcelain veneers can create a beautiful and natural smile transformation. This is because porcelain, like natural tooth enamel, is translucent and strong. Due to its glazed surface, it can also repel stains unlike natural tooth enamel.
How does the porcelain veneer process work?
The first step is a consultation appointment during which you can communicate your concerns about your current smile. Next, we will proceed to take photos and molds of your teeth in order to begin the smile design process. Models of your teeth will be created and veneers will be hand-sculpted in wax on the model. This way, you can preview the proposed changes and make alterations in tooth size and shape before any treatment is started.
Once the plan has been agreed upon, your teeth will be prepared by removing a small amount of outer enamel, if necessary. Final molds and photos of your teeth will be taken and used by our skilled dental ceramist to create your veneers. During this appointment, we will cement temporary veneers onto your teeth until the permanent veneers are ready (usually after three weeks).
When the final veneers are back from the lab, the temporary veneers will be removed and the permanent veneers tried in. We will make sure that they fit well, appear naturally esthetic and receive your approval before bonding them to your teeth.
How long do porcelain veneers last?
The longevity of your porcelain veneers depends on how well you maintain them. With proper home and in-office care, they can last between 7-20 years. Over time, they may chip, fracture, stain around the edges or loosen. If any of these situations occur, the veneer will need to be cemented back into place, repaired with composite resin, or remade and replaced.
Are porcelain veneers permanent?
The process of porcelain veneers is typically permanent. This is because most cases involve conservatively removing a small portion of tooth enamel that cannot be regained. In select cases, veneers can be done without removal of tooth structure (no preparation veneers).
What is the difference between a porcelain veneer and a crown?
While both a veneer and a crown can be made out of similar porcelain materials, there are some key differences. A porcelain veneer is a thin shell that sits over a minimally prepared outer tooth layer. A crown is often thicker, covers the entire tooth and involves circumferential tooth preparation (drilling).
Are there any limitations to porcelain veneers?
If you have significantly misaligned (crowded) teeth and/or large spaces, orthodontics may be the more appropriate treatment route. Additionally, if you have large existing fillings or have lost significant tooth structure due to decay, trauma, or tooth wear, porcelain crowns might be a better alternative.
How do I care for my porcelain veneers?
Teeth treated with porcelain veneers should be brushed and flossed daily and maintained with professional dental cleanings at least twice a year. In order to protect your veneers, we often recommend having a custom nightguard made to be worn while you sleep. This is particularly important if you grind or clench your teeth.