Your smile says much about your personality, so you should consider porcelain veneers for dental issues like tooth misalignments, discoloration, chips, or gaps. Porcelain veneers are thin shells that dentists cement to the front surfaces of at least one tooth. The cosmetic dental procedure can help protect your teeth and eliminate the need for extensive dental restorations. You can turn to veneers as an alternative solution to tooth extraction, orthodontic treatment, or teeth whitening. If you are self-conscious about your appearance or smile, the skilled Carson dental team at Washington Dental can work with you to fix any dental issues.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials tailored to cover your teeth’s front surface to improve your appearance. The shells are bonded to change the patient’s shape, length, color, and size.

People who want to enhance their smile's appearance can explore porcelain veneers. The restoration can fix issues like:

  • Broken or chipped teeth.
  • Stains due to root canal treatment, excessive fluoride, tetracycline, and huge resin fillings that do not improve with teeth whitening.
  • Too tiny teeth.
  • Irregularly shaped, uneven, or misaligned teeth.
  • Spaces or gaps in the teeth (diastema).
  • Worn enamel — Veneers are perfect for correcting smiles affected by worn enamel, dulled naturally over time (from smoking, medications, tea, coffee, or soft drinks), or due to genetic predisposition.

Porcelain veneers are ideal if you do not have gum disease or cavities. You should address all oral health issues before exploring this cosmetic treatment.

Although veneers are in the cosmetic dentistry category because they are paramount in makeover smiles with beautifully shaped, aligned teeth, they are also protective. They can eliminate the need for extensive dental treatments.

Benefits of Porcelain Veneers

Some of the reasons your physician will recommend porcelain veneers for your smile include the following:

They are Stain-Resistant

Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers.

Additionally, they are non-porous, making them resist cavities better than your natural tooth enamel. You require minimal effort to maintain your veneers.

The Procedure Requires Little Enamel Removal

After your enamel wears away, it is gone for good. Luckily, porcelain veneers require removing a thin layer. If the dentist fails to remove the enamel when bonding porcelain veneers, your tooth will look awkward and large.

While dentists bond porcelain veneers to the front of your teeth, dental bridges and crowns must fit over multiple teeth. That means your doctor would have to remove more enamel for a crown.

They Give You a Whiter Smile

Porcelain veneers come in different shades; your dentist can match their color to your natural teeth. If you choose to have veneers on multiple teeth, several shades can lighten their color, creating a whiter smile.

The Feel and Look Like Natural Teeth

Most people will notice your beautiful smile but cannot tell that you had the dental procedure done. You do not have to worry about people staring at your teeth. You can be confident that you are making a great first impression, whether going out on a date or for a job interview.

They are Durable

Veneers are a permanent fix whose surface is non-porous, making them resist decay and staining better than natural teeth. Consequently, with proper care, they can last up to fifteen years.

Commit to Only Two Dental Appointments

The best thing about porcelain veneers is that they take only two appointments to make your dream of a beautiful smile a reality.

Porcelain Veneers Risks

The cons of porcelain veneers include the following:

  • The process is irreversible.
  • They are more expensive than composite resin bonding.
  • Because the dental process involves enamel removal, your tooth can become sensitive to cold or hot drinks and beverages.
  • Porcelain veneers cannot be repaired if they crack or chip.
  • Veneers do not match your other teeth' color, and you cannot alter the porcelain veneers’ color once they are in place. If you wish to whiten your teeth, you should do so before the procedure.
  • Teeth with porcelain veneers can decay, possibly necessitating full tooth coverage with a crown.

What to Expect in an Initial Dental Consultation

As a new patient at your dentist’s office, the first step should be scheduling your initial consultation, during which the doctor will evaluate your current dental condition. If you are uncomfortable or anxious about your first appointment, it can help to know what to expect.

Your Paperwork

Once you visit the dental office, you should fill out paperwork. Your dentist will want to know your name, address, dental history, and overall health history.

Remember to carry your insurance card if you have dental insurance. If you are being transferred from another dentist, call and request that they send your dental records to the new office.

Laying the Foundation

Unlike an initial consultation with a general dentist, your cosmetic dentist will sit down with you to discuss your treatment goals and needs before creating your treatment plan. Your provider wants to understand why you desire porcelain veneers. While improving appearance and aesthetics is a priority for most patients, some want to prevent tooth damage or loss or increase function.

Next, the dentist will examine your mouth and teeth to:

  • understand your oral health,
  • know whether you qualify for porcelain veneers, and
  • know whether it is essential to correct specific issues before your treatment begins.

To make the most of your initial consultation and determine whether the process is right for you, be thorough with your questions. These questions include the following:

  • Do I qualify for the dental procedure?
  • What are the benefits and risks of this treatment?
  • How long will the recovery process take?
  • Will the results look natural?
  • What are the estimated costs for porcelain veneers?
  • Is financing available?
  • Can you show me before and after photos of patients who have had porcelain veneers?
  • What is the patient success rate for this procedure?
  • Is the procedure painful?
  • How long will the cosmetic dental work last?

Exploring Your Options

The dentist will spend the rest of your appointment reviewing your examination results and discussing your options. To establish realistic expectations, the doctor can use computer models and before and after photos to show you how your smile and appearance will change after the treatment.

The physician can provide color and size options if you qualify for porcelain veneers.

Ending Your Appointment

Before ending your first consultation, your dental health provider will schedule your follow-up appointment. If you proceed with the cosmetic treatment, the receptionist will request your previous dental records, payment options, and financing options.

Understanding Porcelain Veneers Treatment Procedure

Generally, getting porcelain veneers requires two more trips to the dental office after the initial consultation. Your dentist can place veneers on one tooth or multiple teeth simultaneously.

What Happens Before Dental Porcelain Veneer Placement?

If you qualify for porcelain veneers, your dental health provider will prepare your teeth by removing some enamel.

Next, they will take your teeth’s impressions. A laboratory technician will use the impressions to make customized veneers. The laboratory will take a couple of weeks to complete the veneers. If necessary, the doctor can place temporary porcelain veneers in the meantime. After finishing the veneers, the technician will ship them to the dental office.

Bonding Process

Your dental professional will place porcelain veneers on the tooth to examine their color and fit, constantly removing and trimming them to realize the right fit before permanently bonding them to the tooth. Your dentist can adjust the porcelain veneer color using the shade of the cement used.

To prepare the teeth for veneer placement, the dentist will clean, polish, and etch them. Etching roughens your teeth, allowing a robust bonding process.

The dentist will apply special cement to your porcelain veneers before placing them in the tooth. After your veneers are well-positioned, the physician will use a special light beam to activate chemicals in the cement, causing them to harden quickly.

Finally, your doctor will remove excess cement, check your bite, and adjust it. The dentist can schedule a follow-up visit to review your veneers’ placement and gums in a week or two.  

There is no downtime after the porcelain veneer placement. Most patients can return to their everyday activities the same day. After your treatment, you can drink or eat once the anesthesia wears off.

How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity and Pain After Placing Porcelain Veneers

It is not uncommon for patients to experience some discomfort days or weeks after the treatment. Some of the common after-effects of veneer placement include the following:

  • Temperature sensitivity to cold or hot drinks and food due to enamel removal.
  • Sore gums.
  • A porcelain veneer can affect your speech before the brain adapts to the new tooth shape and size.
  • You can also produce more saliva before you adjust to talking with porcelain veneers in place.

However, in rare cases, it is possible to experience longer-term challenges with porcelain veneers. Some of the warning signs to watch out for include the following:

  • Sensitivity or pain that lasts more than two (2) weeks.
  • Toothache beneath your veneer.
  • A misaligned or uneven bite.
  • Chips or cracks in the porcelain veneer.

Consult your dentist if these symptoms persist.

If you are concerned about tooth sensitivity or pain after porcelain veneer placement, here are some tips to reduce the discomfort:

  • Avoid hard foods or anything that could exert pressure on the teeth.
  • Drink room-temperature beverages. If you drink a cold beverage, use a straw to reduce the drink's contact with your teeth.
  • Avoid sugary and spicy beverages and foods until the teeth feel better.
  • Avoid grinding and chewing habits like chewing sticky gum, nibbling on pens, or biting your fingernails. Consider wearing a nightguard whenever you sleep to reduce teeth grinding that could damage your teeth’s enamel, worsening teeth sensitivity.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal with desensitizing toothpaste. Your dentist should help you choose the right toothpaste.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water three times a day.
  • Use painkillers like ibuprofen to reduce the discomfort.

Taking Care of Your Veneer

You should be able to enjoy the results of your porcelain veneers for up to 15 years, provided you maintain good oral health. Here is how physicians at Washington Dental recommend you take care of the veneer:

Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth removes bacteria and plaque that continually form around your gum line and on your teeth. Failing to remove plaque can result in porcelain veneer failure.

Here are the proper brushing steps to follow:

  1. Begin with the teeth’s outer surfaces. Gently brush your teeth one after the other to avoid missing any spots.
  2. Tilt the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Brush against your gum line to remove any trapped food particles or plaque. Also, gently move your toothbrush back and forth with short strokes.
  3. Next, brush your teeth’s inner surface using the 45-degree angle back and forth motions.
  4. Clean your teeth’s chewing surfaces.
  5. Finally, brush your tongue.

While using the appropriate tooth-brushing technique is an excellent start to a proper oral routine, ensure you do the following to avoid making mistakes:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes.
  • The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush. A brush with a tiny head can reach every mouth area. Consult a dentist about the right toothbrush for you.
  • Avoid vigorous brushing by using a gentle touch when wielding the brush.
  • Replace your toothbrush every four months or when it starts wearing out. You should also change your brush after any disease to avoid reinfection.

Do Not Use Your Teeth as Tools or Chew Hard Substances

While porcelain veneers are durable, they are not as strong as natural teeth. Use the scissors or bottle opener when needed, and save your teeth for chewing and biting your food. One wrong move, and you could chip your porcelain veneers.

Avoid Potentially Harmful Foods

Different types of foods could be harmful to your porcelain veneers as well as your natural teeth. For instance, when you chew hard foods like hard candy or ice, your veneers are at an increased risk of chipping, which could ruin your smile's appearance.

Foods and beverages like food dyes, blueberries, tea, wine, and coffee should not affect the porcelain veneers. However, they can stain the surrounding natural teeth, resulting in a noticeable color difference over time.

Wear a Mouthguard

You are vulnerable to tooth damage if you grind and clench your teeth (bruxism) while asleep. Your enamel will wear down, TMJ problems can develop, and you can damage your veneers. Wearing a mouthguard at night can protect your teeth from themselves.

Floss Your Teeth Daily

Typically, plaque hides where toothbrushes cannot reach, whether on your natural teeth structure or porcelain veneers. It would be best to floss once daily to remove dental plaque and food particles along your gum line and between your teeth.

Use Fluoride Mouth Rinse Once a Day

Your dentist will recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse to strengthen the remaining enamel. After flossing and brushing, a mouth rinse removes residual food debris or plaque.

Your dentist should help you select the best brand that works for you.

See Your Dentist Twice a Year

It would be best to visit your dentist at least once every six months. The dentist will clean your teeth during the appointment to remove plaque and tartar. They will also monitor the veneers’ condition.

How Do Porcelain Veneers Differ from Crowns?

A porcelain veneer covers only your front tooth surface. It is not as invasive as a crown, and the preparation leaves more of the original tooth intact. Your tooth should have enough enamel for this cosmetic solution to work effectively and the veneer to bond to it.

A crown covers your entire tooth. With this dental procedure, the physician will fill more of your tooth or grind it down to prepare for the placement.

If your tooth is worn out, cracked, has a large filling, or requires a root canal, crown placement is the best solution. On the other hand, if the tooth is intact and your restoration is cosmetic, you can consider veneers. Porcelain veneers are ideal for minor tooth shape corrections. 

While both porcelain veneers and crowns are costly, veneers are more expensive. Most dental health insurers cover the cost of crowns but do not insure veneers since they are deemed cosmetic. Whether you need either or both, your dental health provider should be able to offer a flexible, affordable payment plan.

When choosing between crowns and veneers, discuss with your dentist what you believe are your best options. Remember to consider your long-term dental goals, cost, and maintenance.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Cost?

Porcelain veneers are more costly than composite resin. Their cost ranges from $925 to $2,500 per tooth, while a composite veneer ranges from $250 to $1,500.

Typically, the cost of porcelain veneers depends on numerous factors, including the following:

  • The dentist's fees for performing the dental procedure.
  • The technical and artistic skills of the ceramist making the porcelain veneers and the dentist placing them.
  • The dental health facility’s location.
  • Your health insurance.
  • The total number of teeth being treated.

Most dental facilities offer flexible payment plans for dental treatments. Ask the dentist about their financing options.

You can be eligible for third-party financing via firms like CareCredit if the dentist does not offer financing options. Eligible patients can work with a financing firm to develop monthly payment plans to suit their dental goals and budget.

How to Tell When It Is Time to Replace Your Porcelain Veneers

By practicing a proper oral health routine and seeing your dentist twice yearly to ensure the veneers effectively function, you can increase their lifespan and get the most out of the treatment. There will come a time when you have to replace them. Watch out for the signs below and see your doctor once you notice them:

  • The veneers are cracked or chipped — Porcelain veneers are durable, but that does not mean they cannot be damaged by hard substances or wear out over time. Broken or chipped porcelain veneers are both functional and aesthetic issues and can affect the ability to chew and talk.
  • They are uncomfortable — If your porcelain veneers are too big for your teeth or not properly custom fit, they can be uncomfortable. They could affect your bite. Your dentist should correct the issue.
  • You have a cavity in your underlying tooth — Porcelain veneers are tailored to fit tightly to your underlying tooth, blocking out decay-causing bacteria. If they become loose, your underlying tooth can decay, and your veneers will detach. The dentist will remove your veneer to treat tooth decay before replacing it.
  • The veneers are stained — Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant, but tiny scratches can appear on your veneers’ surface from abrasive dental products or wear and tear. Plaque and food particles could be trapped in the crevasses, discoloring them. Additionally, the underlying teeth are vulnerable to stains, and if your tooth discolors, it can make the veneer look darker. Tooth whitening cannot affect the veneers’ color, so replacing them is the best solution to improve your smile.
  • You should visit a cosmetic dentist if you run your tongue over the veneers and they are rough. Biting and chewing can cause your porcelain veneers to wear down.
  • Your gums are pulling back — Issues like poor oral hygiene and gum disease can cause the porcelain veneers to separate from your gums, causing receding gums or gaps. It is a sign that you should replace your veneers urgently because your natural teeth or veneers could become loose and fall out.

Find a Competent Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

Porcelain veneers are thin ceramic materials bonded to the front teeth's surface as a smile enhancement option. You can consider this solution to effectively conceal stains, chips, gaps, and tooth misalignment. At Washington Dental, our knowledgeable Carson dentists can customize veneers to match the shape and color of your nearby teeth, ultimately assisting you to achieve a beautiful smile with long-lasting, natural-looking results. Our dentists are dedicated to offering world-class dental care for all patients; we provide patient information and accept various payment and financing options to make the treatment affordable.

We invite you to contact us at 310-217-1507 to learn how porcelain veneers can fix your dental health issues and help you achieve a healthy and appealing smile.