Porcelain Veneers

For achieving that million-dollar smile...

By Stephanie Guler, Senior Content & Social Media DeveloperLast modified: April 13, 2011

Porcelain Veneers

A Good Candidate for Porcelain Veneers

The most important thing to understand about porcelain veneers is that this procedure is irreversible. A good candidate for porcelain veneers must have a clean bill of health and be committed to the process from the beginning. Rest assured, however, because most patients are thrilled with the end result. Porcelain veneers are used to fix and improve a wide variety of issues including discoloration (due to a previous root canal or other causes), deteriorating tooth enamel, chipped or broken teeth, and they even can be used to fix gaps and straighten out crooked teeth. If you have any of these problems and are dedicated 100 percent to undergoing the procedure, then you might be a good candidate for porcelain veneers.

Preparing for Porcelain Veneers

The process for porcelain veneers generally lasts over three visits to your dentist’s office. The first appointment begins with a conversation between you and your dentist about the look you would like to achieve. The dentist will do a routine exam, and determine if porcelain veneers are a good fit for your cosmetic dental needs.

The second appointment is the most intensive, but by now you are halfway to having the million-dollar smile you’ve always dreamed of. During this visit, your dentist will prepare the surface of your teeth for the porcelain veneer application and a mold will also be taken. The mold will then be sent to your dentist’s lab of choice to create your custom-made porcelain veneers.

In order for your teeth to be ready for porcelain veneers, your dentist will remove about a half a millimeter from the surface of your teeth so your veneers will fit perfectly to your gum line. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the pain, so you won’t feel a thing during the procedure.

After the enamel is shaved down, an impression of your teeth will be made. Usually the dentist will adhere temporary veneers to your teeth afterward, as custom porcelain veneers may take up to two weeks to be made in the lab.  

During the same appointment, the color of your porcelain veneers will also be chosen. It is best to go with a shade of white that matches your complexion, so your porcelain veneers will look as natural as possible.

Porcelain Veneers Procedure

The third and final visit to your dentist’s office involves the application of your new porcelain veneers. First, your dentist will remove those temporary veneers from your mouth and prepare your teeth for a brand new smile. In order to make sure the veneers fit properly, your dentist will do a fit test on each individual tooth and make adjustments to each veneer as necessary. Because your natural tooth enamel was removed in the previous appointment, your teeth will still be sensitive and your dentist may administer another dose of local anesthetic to ensure total comfort during the last step toward your new, flawless teeth.

After your dentist has determined that the veneers fit perfectly, your teeth will be prepped for the adhesion process. Your teeth will be cleaned, polished and then the surface will be roughened to ensure a strong bond between your natural tooth and the veneer.

Permanent bonding cement will then be carefully painted on the porcelain veneer, and one by one, your dentist will apply the veneers to your teeth. Once everything is in place, your dentist will apply a curing light to your new veneers, which speeds up the drying process, ensuring your porcelain veneers will last for years to come.

If you’d like to make any changes, now is the time to speak up. Your dentist can still make small adjustments, but you must be sure to say something when he asks.

Your dentist may recommend that you visit his office one more time for a follow-up appointment, but after your veneers are in place, patients generally are able to continue the rest of the day without need for recovery. This is just one more reason why you’ll be smiling bigger and brighter than ever before after receiving porcelain veneers.

Cost of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are the most expensive veneer option out there, but often yield the highest quality results. Porcelain veneers generally cost anywhere between $900 and $2,500 per tooth in the U.S., and can be about half the cost if you choose to undergo your dental treatments abroad. Costs for porcelain veneers vary greatly based on the location of the clinic you choose and also the individual dentist.

To learn more about this procedure, find a dentist who specializes in porcelain veneers.

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