What Are Veneers & Why Should I Consider Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are a type of shell that is placed over the surface of teeth in order to restore the aesthetic appearance and protect the surface of damaged teeth. They give someone nicer looking teeth by filling in broken spaces or gaps and covering discolored spots.
If whitening just isn’t enough for your teeth either because of intense staining or gaps, chips or other imperfections that are ruining your smile, you should consider porcelain veneers. These thin overlays are custom designed and molded to fit your teeth perfectly and cover any issues with your smile that you may be having.
Porcelain veneers also benefit your smile by helping increase the strength of your teeth overall by providing a durable layer to their outsides. Not only will your teeth look better, but they also will feel better and be stronger.
When the entire smile line is being replaced, veneers can be designed to be very bright and white, according to the preferences of the patient. However, if only a few teeth are being covered, the hue can be adjusted to match the adjacent teeth perfectly, giving a very natural appearance.
Veneers are a good alternative to orthodontic procedures for people who would rather not deal with the ongoing hassle and discomfort of braces. In a much shorter amount of time, they can create a result that is just as striking—if not more so. Of course, major tooth problems, such as teeth that are very misaligned, might require orthodontics.
History on Dental Veneers
Dental veneers began as essentially an actor’s prop in Hollywood, a vital tool for makeup artists to use in creating specific looks for characters. In the 1930s, there weren’t many cosmetic dental procedures available for correcting problems that actors or actresses had with their teeth. And in an age when smoking was common, there were a lot of unsightly tooth problems.
Fortunately, a dentist in California named Charles Pincus came up with a rather ingenious solution. He used porcelain to create a set of thin veneers that could glue over an actor’s real teeth to give the appearance of a clean and beautiful smile. This became known as the “Hollywood smile.” They proved to be a relatively easy way to give someone a beautiful set of teeth that looked good even in close up.
However, these early veneers were temporary, used only while the actor or actress was filming a movie. Afterward, they were removed. The bond was far too weak to function as a normal tooth. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that a bonding process was invented that could attach veneers permanently.
Suddenly, dental veneers weren’t just a prop to hide bad teeth from the camera; they were now a long-term solution, available to pretty much anybody and not just actors. Since then, the process of creating and applying veneers has only become more refined. It’s now safer, more affordable and more attractive than ever.
Although porcelain veneers remain popular in Hollywood, they are now available to anyone from the west coast to New York City, so it’s possible for people from all walks of life to have a bright and perfect smile with just a few visits to the dentist. Porcelain works well because it has a slight translucence—just like natural teeth—so people won’t even be able to tell the veneer isn’t your normal tooth.
5 Things You Need to Know About Getting Porcelain Veneers
1. You Need to Start with Healthy Teeth
Before you can get started with veneers, your teeth must be free from cavities or infections.
You can’t put cosmetic restorations over infected teeth. The gums around your teeth should also be healthy and free from inflammation.
If this means you need to up your oral hygiene habits so you can move forward, now is the time to do so. If you are looking to improve a smile with decayed, broken or worn teeth, porcelain crowns might be a better solution.
2. You Can Choose the Shape and Color
One of the great things about veneers is you can completely customize your new look. You’ll be able to pick from a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and shades.
Your dentist can help you with this process as you try different single veneers to help you find the perfect color and fit. Some patients choose veneers that are extra white and bright, while others go for a more natural, less obvious look.
3. Porcelain Veneers Are Made to Last
Though porcelain veneers won’t last a lifetime, they will last 10 to 15 years on average (with proper care). Just like natural teeth, veneers are still susceptible to damage.
Your dentist will teach you how to care for your new teeth to help them last for many years. It’s up to you, the patient, to increase the lifespan of your new veneers.
4. Veneers Require a Two-Step Process
Most veneers are made out of porcelain handcrafted to fit each patient’s unique mouth.
Your dentist will start by getting an impression of your bite, which is then sent to a lab. You’ll wear temporary veneers for a few weeks before the permanent ones are ready to be put into place.
Even “no-prep” veneers need this separate step before customization can take place.
5. Veneers Are a Long-Term Commitment
Once your veneers are in place, take care to avoid anything that can damage them. Don’t open packages with your teeth, avoid hard candies, and resist biting your nails.
If you ever do need to have your veneers removed for restorative reasons, your original teeth will have been altered. This means that if you take your veneers off, you’ll have to replace them and keep wearing veneers for life.
The Pros and Cons of Porcelain Veneers
Pros of Veneers
The biggest advantage of having dental veneers is that they are beautiful and look natural. Veneers are not bulky and are designed to perfectly replicate the dimensions and contours of natural teeth in their natural shape. Furthermore, gum tissues generally tolerate veneers well. They are durable enough to withstand biting force and are actually harder than natural enamel. Finally, veneers are stain-resistant, resisting common stain sources like tobacco, coffee, tea, and certain foods.
Porcelain veneers can repair gaps, chips, discolorations and other imperfections. The dentist can choose a shade to match any natural teeth or porcelain crowns in the patient’s mouth.
The treatment usually takes two appointments. The average wait between visits is generally one week. Patients wear provisional veneers in the interim.
Cons of Veneers
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of veneers is their expense. Because veneers are often used in cosmetic applications, they are often not covered under dental insurance plans. Another disadvantage of veneers is that if they break, they may be impossible to fix and may have to be replaced. Some patients find that a tooth with a veneer is more sensitive than their other teeth. Patients should be conscientious about caring for their veneers. People who have veneers should refrain from using teeth as “tools” for opening bags or ripping apart chewy foods, for example.
Porcelain Veneers FAQs
Are Veneers Reversible?
No, porcelain veneers are considered a permanent procedure because the dentist will need to shave some of your natural tooth in order to adhere to them.
Do I Have to Use Anesthetic?
Every patient is different, and we find that while some require the use of anesthetics, others do not. Your comfort is our priority, so we’ll talk to before the procedure to determine your comfort level.
Will the Color Match My Other Teeth?
Yes. The dentist will use a shade chart to match the color of your natural teeth in order to choose the color of your new porcelain veneers.
Will There Be Recovery Time?
Some patients experience sensitivity to hot and cold for a few days after the procedure. That’s because some of your natural tooth layer will be removed when the dentist places the veneers. After a few days, you shouldn’t experience any discomfort.
Will I Have Limitations After the Procedure?
Porcelain veneers are just that—porcelain, which is a glass-like material. And while glass is very strong, it does have its limitations. That means that you can eat most normal foods, but you should avoid things that you have to bite on down hard on, and should never use your teeth to open things or crack nuts.
If you’re interested in improving your smile with dental veneers, the first step is contacting an experienced cosmetic dentist like those at the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. Your cosmetic dentist should not only have extensive training in cosmetic dentistry, but should take the time to understand what makes your smile uniquely beautiful and help you achieve the look that you want.
Our porcelain veneers are crafted by our one of the top dental ceramists in New York City and this is what separates us from the rest. We have crafted perfect smiles for many celebrities that you see and hear about every day but we love to help everyone. Please call us at 212.288.4455 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment for a consultation.