If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile, veneers can be a life-changing option. Veneers are small pieces of porcelain that an experienced cosmetic dentist bonds directly to your natural teeth to change the look of the size, shape, and/or color. Here are the most important things you need to know about veneers before you commit:
What’s the Process of Getting Veneers Like?
Your dentist should do an initial consultation to look at your teeth to decide what’s going to be best for you both aesthetically and functionally. The dentist may then provide a digital simulation or a smile preview with plastic veneers before you commit. If the decision is made to move forward, the dentist will shape the front sides of the teeth, obtain an impression, and have the lab fabricate the final porcelain veneers.
During this time, you’ll be wearing temporaries that will look fantastic.
Reputable labs, chosen by the dentist, can give you great results using a combination of modern computer technology, great hand skills, and artistry. All veneers are custom-made for each individual.
You also want to make sure that the dentist you work with allows you to have a “road test” with your temporaries. This means that they let you come in as many times as you want to tweak the temporaries until they feel and look perfect for you. Once you’ve reached the perfect look, the dentist uses the temporaries to make sure that the permanent veneers are exact copies of what you expect. This eliminates any potential anxiety that you might feel about the final result because you’ve already seen and personally approved the look and function of the veneers in advance.
How Long Does Getting Veneers Take?
Obtaining your final porcelain veneers may take several weeks. It all depends on the complexity of the case, number of veneers, color-matching challenges, and how long you’d like to road-test for. In general, most cases run from two weeks to two months.
Is Getting Veneers Uncomfortable?
In the hands of an experienced cosmetic dentist, obtaining veneers is no more complex than the most routine cosmetic procedures. The dentist will anesthetize the area they’re working on and prepare a very thin layer of the natural tooth. Temporaries are placed afterward until the final porcelain veneers are ready to be bonded in place. Any post-op discomfort can be addressed that day with Tylenol or ibuprofen.
How Strong Are Veneers (Really)?
Veneers are made out of porcelain and bonded directly to your teeth. An analogy I like to use with my patients is that it’s like tile in your bathroom. If you take the tile by itself, then yes, you can break or shatter it easily. But once you bond the tile to the floor, it’s incredibly durable and strong. Veneers are the same way.
Once you bond the porcelain onto your natural tooth, it has a solid foundation and can’t break that easily. The more specialized, experienced, and skilled your dentist is with veneers, the higher the odds are that they’ll get your veneers to adhere exactly as they should for maximum durability. If you take care of them, high quality, properly adhered porcelain veneers could last 10 to 20 years or more.
What Can I Eat if I Have Veneers?
Veneers are strong enough to hold up to regular eating habits. That said, you’re going to want to treat them exactly as you would treat your natural teeth. Avoid crunching down on hard ice or using your teeth to open bottles. You’ll still need to maintain a good oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing, too.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
Fees can range based on experience, materials, how many veneers are involved, and the individual process. Expect to invest anywhere from $900 to $4,500. The fee for a very experienced provider usually ranges between $2000 to $4500.
How Can I Find a Good Provider?
First, there’s no formal specialty to offering dental veneers. Any dentist can offer these services. However, most may not have the experience or in-depth knowledge of the procedures needed. A good preliminary way to filter down dentists is to check out their website photo gallery — are you seeing a lot of cosmetic cases there?
Once you’ve narrowed down a few dentists you’d be comfortable with, schedule a meet-and-greet interview with each provider and ask to see their portfolio of prior cases just like yours. They should take the time to answer all of your questions. Also, does the office convey a sense that they are suited to deliver great cosmetic dentistry? Is the office clean and welcoming? How is the appearance and demeanor of the staff? These can be some signs that the office pays good attention to details.
Skilled dentists are artists and are proud to document, show off examples of their work, and educate patients with a library of cases. If they tell you that they don’t document, then they’re probably not the best choice.
Veneers are a minimally-invasive way to achieve a great new smile. If you find an expert provider that you really connect with, who has vast experience, then they’re probably the right choice for you.