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Porcelain veneers are individually crafted cosmetic enhancements that closely resemble the natural dental enamel in normal teeth. Made from advanced medical-grade ceramic, these thin, individually crafted casings are designed to attach to the front surfaces of teeth to provide patients with an instant smile transformation. Porcelain veneers are used by dentists for a number of cosmetic dental corrections ranging from orthodontic adjustments to teeth whitening. Due to the wide array of applications and their natural appearance, they rank among the most popular and trusted dental procedures used in cosmetic dentistry.
Although porcelain veneers have only become mainstream in the past couple of decades, their origin dates back nearly 100 years to the early days of the film industry when the famed dentist, Dr. Charles Pincus devised veneers as a way to enhance the smiles of Hollywood screen actors and actresses. Temporary false coverings were applied to the front teeth of stars to give them the stunning white smiles that soon became a trademark of Hollywood screenplays.
Innovative technology during the past 30 years has created veneers that are more convenient and lifelike than ever before. New types of porcelain materials are stronger and capable of reflecting light in a similar way to natural dental enamel. Using digital imaging systems, dentists are now able to create same-day dental restorations that closely resemble the color and shape of natural teeth. For truly stunning smiles and more comprehensive cosmetic results, porcelain veneers can be used in conjunction with other advanced dental procedures such as dental crowns and teeth whitening.
Ideal Candidates for Porcelain Veneers
A skilled cosmetic dentist will be able to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for porcelain veneers during an initial consultation. Only after evaluating a patient’s health history, the condition of the tooth enamel, and current dental health will a dentist be able to make an informed decision regarding suitability for this type of dental procedure. Alternative treatments will be recommended for non-qualifying patients.
Porcelain veneers are typically sought by patients for cosmetic reasons or to correct a multitude of different dental issues such as:
- Chips and cracks
- Gaps between teeth
- Minor misalignments
- Tooth discoloration
Requirements for Porcelain Veneer Placements
In order to be a good candidate for porcelain veneers a patient should:
- Have good overall and periodontal health
- Be committed to maintaining proper oral hygiene and care
- Have realistic expectations and specific cosmetic goals that are clearly stipulated at the initial consultation
- Possess a sufficient amount of healthy tooth enamel as a thin layer of enamel will have to be removed during the procedure
Patients with oral conditions such as gum disease, tooth decay, and root canal infections are not good candidates for porcelain veneers as healthy gums and teeth are required to qualify for the procedure. However, this may not necessarily be the end of the road as dentists are usually able to treat these conditions and eventually clear a patient for placing porcelain veneers.
Patients considering porcelain veneer treatment should note that this is typically a permanent procedure because dentists need to remove a layer of enamel before the porcelain can be attached to the surface of the teeth. If it becomes necessary, the veneers will have to be replaced by new ones or an alternative restoration solution taken to replace them. For this reason, patients should only consider having porcelain veneers fitted if they are absolutely certain about their decision.
Patients who grind their teeth or habitually clench their jaws may not qualify for porcelain veneers. Even though porcelain veneers are quite strong and durable, the forces exerted on teeth by bruxism can cause incredible strain on teeth causing the veneers to break or even come off entirely. In some cases the underlying causes of bruxism can be treated, eventually allowing some bruxism patients to receive veneers. In addition, new porcelain materials have recently been developed by dental technicians to create stronger veneers that may be suitable for bruxism patients.
What do Porcelain Veneers Cost?
The full cost of porcelain veneer placement will vary from patient to patient depending on the number of veneers fitted as well as other factors that include:
- The type of veneers chosen – veneers are made from several different types of dental porcelain. The latest, most durable and natural materials will, of course, be more costly than older products.
- The type of placement procedure chosen – advanced placement procedures such as no-prep veneers will affect the overall cost of porcelain veneers.