Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They can be used to:
- Repair stained or worn teeth
- Close gaps between the teeth, and
- Improve the appearance of crooked or misshapen teeth.
Your dentist will examine your smile, discuss your goals for treatment, and determine if porcelain veneers are a good option for you. Porcelain veneer treatment is highly individualized, so each case is evaluated individually by a qualified cosmetic dentist (like this one).
What are Porcelain Veneers?
A porcelain veneer is an ultra-thin shell of porcelain that’s designed to cover the front surface of a tooth. It’s made from high-quality materials that bond securely to your existing tooth structure.
The goal with these types of veneers is to create a natural-looking smile with improved strength and durability. The entire process typically takes about two visits to complete and may require replacing old fillings prior to placement.
There are three types of veneers options:
- Full mouth restoration (FMVR): This is the most expensive option. However, if your dentist deems it medically necessary, it may be partially covered by your insurance.
- Partial mouth restoration (PMVR): Typically, this means that you need to replace only your front teeth with veneers.
- Cosmetic enhancement (CE): Most people associate veneers with cosmetic purposes. You can choose to get a single veneer to replace a dead or broken tooth or a full set of veneers to transform your life-altering smile.
Each type has different advantages depending on your oral health needs or wants.
Procedure and What To Expect
A porcelain veneer procedure usually takes about two visits with your dentist.
First, your dentist will prepare your tooth for the new veneer. After we sculpt the tooth’s surface so that it’s flat and smooth, we’ll remove a small amount of enamel from the top of the tooth. This creates room for the new veneer and prevents your existing enamel from chipping when it’s bonded to the new veneer.
Then, your dentist will attach the new porcelain shell over your prepared tooth using special dental cement.
The procedure itself takes about 2 hours to complete (sometimes longer if multiple teeth require treatment). During this time, you’ll wear a temporary set of veneers in order to see how they fit with your smile before making any permanent changes. You’ll also get temporary caps to wear immediately after the procedure so that your gums don’t heal over your new veneers prematurely.
Cost for Porcelain Veneers
The cost of porcelain veneers varies according to the severity of your dental issues and the clinic you choose. The average cost of porcelain veneers is around $250-$1,000 per tooth. However, most patients pay between $1,500 and $3,000 per tooth.
For example, if you have five teeth that need treatment, then the total cost would be around $5,000. A complete smile makeover with porcelain veneers can cost between $3,500 and $8,000, depending on where you live.
This cost does not include any additional procedures that may be needed to prepare your teeth for veneers (such as tooth extraction). If you need multiple teeth to be prepared for veneers (i.e., there is extensive decay on your teeth), it is likely that your treatment will cost more.
The good news is that your insurance company may cover some or all of the procedure costs. However, this depends on which insurance company you have and what benefits they offer for cosmetic procedures like porcelain veneers.
Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers
Because they are made from ceramic material, they are very strong and durable. Your dentist can also customize your porcelain veneers to fit your smile and match your other teeth.
Aside from its aesthetic appeal, porcelains also offer several health benefits, such a improved oral hygiene Porcelain veneers are extremely hard, so brushing and flossing will not damage these restorations. This means that you won’t need to worry about plaque build-up on your new teeth anymore!
- Long lifespan (about 20 years)
- No maintenance is required once they’re attached
- Can be worn at night without damaging them if you take care not to bite down on them while sleeping
- They’re virtually undetectable from natural-looking teeth
- Porcelain veneers may not be suitable for patients with gum disease or other oral health problems that could interfere with the procedure.
- They aren’t permanent: while porcelain veneers can last 20 years or more when properly cared for at home, if you want to change them down the line for any reason, you’ll need another set put on top of your original ones.
- They can be chipped or broken by accident or if you bite down on something hard (like ice).
- If they chip or break, they can be repaired with bonding material, but this may weaken them over time.
- Porcelain veneers can be painful and uncomfortable.