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Porcelain Veneers

Written By: Dr. Thomas Bae, DDS

Veneers ModelWith the U.S. economy on life support and showing no real signs of recovery, dentistry has been one of those things that have moved to the very bottom of "to do" lists of most people. Understandably, cosmetic dentistry has fast become a disposable luxury that gets tossed to the wayside when people are presented with cosmetic treatment to enhance their smile. Buzzwords like porcelain veneers, bleaching, white fillings, and ceramic crowns no longer hold the public's attention like they used and unfortunately, have become an afterthought even with dentists when treatment planning. Patients are asking for more "economical" alternatives and are willing to compromise long-term success in order to save some money and dentists, for fear of losing patients, are willing to render less than ideal treatment.

I think the term "cosmetic" is a bit of a misnomer because it connotates procedures based on elective superficial desire and not on necessity. The fact is, in the hands of an honest, caring, and skilled dentist, "cosmetic" procedures can often be the best option for addressing functional and structural concerns.

"Porcelain veneers have been the darling of cosmetic dentistry and most people have never considered veneers as a restorative treatment option to strengthen cracked, chipped, or worn-down teeth."

Porcelain veneers have been the darling of cosmetic dentistry and most people have never considered veneers as a restorative treatment option to strengthen cracked, chipped, or worn-down teeth. With the advent of newer, stronger materials, veneers have been proven to be stronger than natural enamel and, if done properly, can last for decades. Veneers can be beautiful but can now be a restorative treatment option for many people. I want to answer a few frequently asked questions regarding veneers.

What is a porcelain veneer?

Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain or ceramic coverings that are permanently cemented to the tooth and usually cover the front, side, and wrap around the edge of the tooth. They can restore the ideal structure, shape, and look of the tooth permanently.

Who is a good candidate for veneers?

Actually, the real question should be: who is not a good candidate for veneers?

  • People who have severely crooked teeth are not ideal candidates. Orthodontics should be a consideration before talking about doing veneers.

  • People who severely clench and grind their teeth (bruxism). If you do grind and clench you should have a nighttime protective guard made for you to protect the veneers.

  • People with severely worn down or damaged teeth (due to trauma, cavities, grinding, etc…). If there is not enough healthy tooth structure then veneers may not be the ideal choice to restore the teeth.
  • What is the porcelain veneer procedure like?

    The first appointment will involve preparing the teeth for veneer placement. Depending on the clinical situation and goals, each tooth may require some adjustment of the enamel surface. The second appointment will involve "trying-in" the veneers to assess the look and feel. If everything is to the satisfaction of the patient and dentist then the veneers can be permanently cemented to the teeth.

    What is recommended to prepare for the procedure?

  • You should expect a thorough "consultation" with your dentist before deciding on veneers. At this consultation, the dentist should do an exam, possibly take x-rays, discuss your goals with you, and describe the details the procedure. You may also want to see photos of the dentist's work to assess their experience and knowledge.

  • You may want to bleach your natural teeth before the veneer procedure. Since the shade of porcelain veneers are matched to the natural teeth you ideally want the veneers to be as white as possible. Veneers cannot be bleached so the best time to whiten your teeth would be before the actual veneers done.
  • How is a porcelain veneer better than a crown?

    Veneers require less tooth structure removal to be placed on the tooth. A crown is a "cap" that goes over the tooth and usually requires more removal of tooth structure to accommodate it. Of course, there are clinical situations that will require crowns and it is up to the dentist to make that decision.

    How much do porcelain veneers cost?

    Cost varies between dentists. The average range is usually between $500 to $1500 per veneer. Most dentists will usually recommend four to six teeth to be veneered.

    Educating oneself about porcelain veneers and dentistry in general is important especially during these tough economic times. Ultimately, your decisions should be based on seeking and establishing long-term goals and success. The versatility and success of porcelain veneers in addressing "must do" treatment rather than "optional" cosmetic treatment may be new and counterintuitive information for most people but it can be a great option for many.

    CareCreditWe believe dentistry should be accessible and affordable for everyone. We value your trust and will work hard to earn it. We will make a commitment to provide you with the type of care that is right for you and with long-term success in mind.

    Please call us at 714-256-9400 to make an appointment.

    We accept most PPO's including Delta Dental, MetLife, Aetna, Dental Benefit Providers, Cigna, and Anthem. Please call us and we will be happy to assist you in reviewing your insurance information for your first appointment.

    We also provide CareCredit and financing to make dental care more affordable for you. We serve the North Orange County area including Brea, Placentia, Fullerton, La Habra, and Yorba Linda.

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