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What are porcelain veneers? You may have seen some of your favorite celebrities and influencers rocking a new smile with porcelain veneers. Well, if you're at home and you're desiring to change your smile, or you're not happy with your smile, we are going to break it down today so that you can decide if you're a candidate for veneers and if veneers are right for you. So let's get started.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are designed by your dentist and created by a local dental ceramist to create a new smile. It actually looks similar to a contact lens. It's like a contact lens for the natural tooth.

Veneers are really thin, and we can have the ceramist design the color, the shape, and the size that we want. It lies right over the front of your teeth, it's glued and bonded to the pores of your teeth so it doesn't come in and out. I love this procedure for anyone who is not happy with their smile.

Why Get Porcelain Veneers?

Maybe you're at home and you're not happy with the color. Maybe you have white spots, brown spots, or your teeth have aged and gotten a lot darker, or yellow, or even brown over the years from all the things that you've consumed, or even just the natural aging process. We can enhance the color and mask any flaws in the color with porcelain veneers.

Or maybe you're at home and you feel like when you look in the mirror, your teeth are too short, or maybe your teeth are too long. We can adjust the lengths of your teeth with porcelain veneers and cosmetic dentistry.

Maybe you have been thinking about straightening your teeth. You might have some gaps between your teeth, or they're a little rotated, or you may have crooked teeth, a chipped tooth, or your teeth may be a little crowded.

In some instances, if your teeth are mildly mispositioned, or they're mildly rotated, we may be able to create an illusion with veneers to help you get a beautiful smile makeover without having to see an orthodontist and get braces, which could take years. With a dental veneer, I love the procedure because it can quickly transform your smile.

how are porcelain veneers made

How Are Porcelain Veneers Made?

To make a custom-made porcelain dental veneer, it only takes the cosmetic dentist and dental ceramist generally about 10 to 14 business days. Each dental lab is different. Some have the capacity and some labs are larger and they can do the work a little bit faster. But if it's a small dental lab, it might take them a little bit longer.

 

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

When you're talking about the cost of transforming your smile with porcelain veneers, it can cost anywhere on average nationwide, between $1,200 to $1,500 per tooth as a starting point.

In New York City there are dentists that charge $3,000 and $4,000 per tooth. So we'll just say you should expect to invest anywhere between $1500 to $4,000 per tooth.

It may sound like a big investment, but it is worth the investment, I'm here to tell you. I even have porcelain veneers. I think that if you want to quickly transform your smile, it's something that you should really consider.

Composite Veneers

Now, if you're on a budget, another alternative is a composite veneer. Composite veneers are plastic. They are made from putty-like material that comes in a tube. It's actually just like a Play-Doh kind of material.

It's applied right in the dental chair, so you don't have to wait two weeks, and your cosmetic dentist typically has this material on hand in the office. Your dentist will take this material, place it over the front of your teeth. Next, they will hand-sculpt it and mold it, harden it with the LED light, sculpt it, shape it, and make it look pretty. Hopefully, and you walk out the door with your composite veneers that same day.

Composite vs Porcelain Veneers

Now let's talk about the advantages and the disadvantages of porcelain veneers vs composite veneers. Well, basically one is a plastic material, and one is a ceramic material.

So let's just do an analogy of a plastic plate versus porcelain or a china plate. You know that a plastic plate is not going to be of very high-quality, is not going be as strong. It may chip and tear a lot easier, and it may bend and not really hold its durability. The same with the composite veneers.

With the porcelain veneers, you're investing in a strong material that is going to withstand forces, like chewing. It's going to come with a glaze, so it will be glossier and more life-like. It is going to not pick up staining, unlike the composite veneers.

 

what are porcelain veneers

 

Durability

Over time composite veneers can change colors if you drink a lot of coffee, tea, smoke, or drink red wines. If you bite into something the wrong way, it could chip a lot easier, so you may end up reinvesting in a composite veneer. Or you could end up repairing and polishing a composite veneer a lot more frequently than you would if you invested one good time in porcelain veneers.

So when you're thinking about the pros and the cons, you have to think about how long you're going to get your investment's worth. The advantage is with the composite veneers, you walk out the door in one visit. With the porcelain veneers, of course, you have to let the lab create your new smile, and that, again, may take anywhere between 10 to 14 days. So in the meantime, you have to wear temporary veneers, and they look great, so it's just a little in-between phase.

 

How Much Do Veneers Cost

 

Trial Smile

But what I love about the temporary veneers is you get to try out your smile, and see how you like it, and if you want to change the shape or anything like the color, you can see how it fits in your face, and then make the necessary adjustments if need be.

Once you get the composite veneers, that's pretty much it. You can make some chairside adjustments if you don't like what you see with your dentist.

But I love the porcelain because you get to be a little bit more involved with the process, and we also give you the ability to do a trial smile.

 

how much do veneers cost

 

Veneers Consultation: What To Expect

The first thing that you want to do if you're thinking about getting veneers whether porcelain or composite veneers, is set up a dental consultation. And with the consultation, your dentist is going to do a dental x-ray, and a clinical exam to make sure your teeth are healthy enough to actually get veneers.

You can't have gum disease or tooth decay. You can't have cavities, and you can't have large existing fillings on your teeth already. Those are disqualifying factors. Your dentist is going to discuss what you want out of your smile, what color, and what shape you want during the consultation. And if you have a picture of your old smile and how it used to be, you can bring that to your consultation. With cosmetic dentistry, we can design your smile the way that you want it.

Your cosmetic dentist can also make suggestions and show you some new smile styles. Teeth come in different shapes and arrangements. You can have teeth that are round, square round, or completely oval, and that's usually determined by the shape of your face. So if you have a square face, then we want to add some squareness to your teeth.

If you have an oval or heart-shaped face, then we probably want to round out the corners of your teeth to make them look natural. That's the name of the game.

Conclusion

I hoped this answered your question: what are porcelain veneers? When we do these smile makeovers, we want them to look natural. Remember, you have a role in this process to decide what you want the ultimate outcome to be, and I like that.

I love designing the smile with the patients, and then giving you exactly what you want. If you are considering porcelain veneers and want to discuss your options, feel free to contact my office to schedule a consultation.

Catrise Austin, DDS