What are porcelain veneers?
Fully cosmetic in nature, porcelain veneers are custom-made thin porcelain shells made in a dental laboratory. Veneers are placed onto the fronts of your visible teeth to improve their appearance and match the patient’s existing teeth. Veneers can cover various imperfections in shape, size, alignment, or color. Dr. DeStefano only uses porcelain veneers since their appearance closely resembles that of natural tooth enamel.
What Issues can veneers fix?
In reality, no one’s teeth are cosmetically perfect. However, if you have Dr. DeStefano apply porcelain veneers to your teeth, you’ll have a nearly flawless, beautiful smile. Veneers offer a great cosmetic improvement for various flaws including:
- Concealing chips
- Covering badly stained or discolored teeth
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Masking alignment problems
- Covering cracks or excessive wear
- Covering misshapen teeth
Benefits of Dental Veneers
Patients sometimes wonder why Dr. DeStefano doesn’t offer cosmetic resin veneers. He uses only porcelain because of its high strength, hardness, durability, glassiness, translucence, and high resistance to staining. Dr. DeStefano also prefers the way porcelain closely resembles the look of natural tooth enamel in the way it reflects and absorbs light. Additionally, veneers typically cost less than crowns.
Veneers Before & After
Am I a Candidate For Porcelain Veneers?
It’s important to note that porcelain veneers are not a restoration, but are a cosmetic procedure to improve your visible teeth. Patients with underlying problems such as decay, serious cracks, inadequate amount of enamel, and gum disease, will have to address those issues before Dr. DeStefano can place the veneers. Additionally, patients that grind their teeth are not ideal candidates for veneers. However, if you have flaws, especially deep staining from a drug reaction or a root canal, veneers provide a beautiful overlay to cover the flaws and give you a stunning smile.
How many porcelain veneers will I need?
This depends upon your goals. If you have a misshapen tooth that you would like to change, maybe you’ll only need a single veneer. If you’d like to close a gap, maybe two veneers.
However, if you really want to change your entire smile, then you’ll need to start by doing just that — standing in front of a mirror and smiling. Now count how many teeth show when you smile naturally. If you want to remake your entire smile that number could be six on top and six on the bottom. If you have a wide smile, it could be more. Less if your smile is more narrow.
When considering how many veneers you want, consider if you want to remake your entire visible smile, or just a few teeth that are cosmetically flawed. From there, Dr. DeStefano can give you some options depending on those goals.
Porcelain Veneer Procedure
Receiving porcelain veneers takes two appointments with Dr. DeStefano. At your first appointment, our staff will prepare your teeth for the veneers. We begin with a thorough cleaning, and if you have enamel staining we may recommend whitening first to get your enamel back to its original color. Dr. DeStefano then uses a shade guide to match the veneer color to your natural tooth color.
Then, the teeth are prepared for the veneers. This involves shaving off a tiny fraction of the front enamel on each tooth receiving a veneer. This is necessary to make room for the veneer on the tooth front. When this preparation is complete, Dr. DeStefano takes impressions of your teeth and they are sent to the dental lab for fabrication of your veneers. This takes from one to two weeks, and in the interim, we place temporary veneers onto your teeth.
When your custom-made veneers arrive at our office, you return for your second appointment. Dr. DeStefano checks each veneer for fit and color match. It may be necessary to shave off a minute bit here or there. Once both you and Dr. DeStefano are satisfied with their appearance, the veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth.
Veneer Patient Testimonial
Because my natural teeth were discolored and pitted, I asked Dr. Thomas DeStefano what could be done to improve their appearance. He suggested porcelain veneers. He applied them and they are perfect with a very natural whiteness. Now I have the confident smile I’ve always wanted.
porcelain veneer Results
There is a variance in the lifespan of your veneers, based on the health of the underlying teeth and the surrounding gum tissue. Porcelain veneers can last from seven to 20 years. Before opting to have this procedure, it’s important to understand that porcelain veneers are a lifetime commitment. Because a portion of your enamel is removed to make space for the veneer on each tooth, a veneer has to cover that tooth the rest of its life. Once a set of veneers reaches its lifespan or the cement fails, it will be necessary to replace them as the teeth are unprotected.
Maintaining & Caring for veneers
Porcelain veneers don’t require any special maintenance and should be treated just like natural teeth. Patients should brush and floss twice daily in order to maintain their veneers. Veneers are very resistant to staining, so if your other teeth become stained by coffee, wine, and the like, you’ll probably want to have them whitened occasionally to match your veneers. At DeStefano Dentistry, we use the highest quality porcelain, fit them with precision, and bond with the most advanced adhesive materials.
Porcelain Veneers Frequently Asked Questions
Who is not a good candidate for porcelain veneers?
It’s important to remember that porcelain veneers are only a cosmetic treatment. The thin porcelain shells are placed over the front surfaces of your teeth. They’re great for masking flaws, such as a chip here or there or a gap between two teeth. What they don’t do, however, is fix underlying damage. For instance, a tooth with a deep crack cannot receive a veneer. Same for a tooth with decay. It makes no sense to place veneers when the patient has gum disease.
If you have serious issues with your teeth, those need to be addressed before any veneers could be placed.
Also, if you grind your teeth at night, you’re not a good candidate for veneers, as your grinding will eventually make them come loose.
Plus, placing porcelain veneers on your teeth is a lifelong commitment. That’s because to make room for the veneers Dr. DeStefano needs to shave a small amount of enamel off the front of each tooth. Without a veneer on the tooth it will look funny, and it won’t have any protection (that’s the main job of tooth enamel). So, once your first set of veneers reaches the end of its lifespan you’ll need to have a new set placed.
Is the process of getting porcelain veneers painful?
Most patients say there isn’t any pain at all when getting veneers. The amount of enamel removed from the fronts of the teeth isn’t enough to cause any pain. Those teeth will be a little sensitive for a week or so moving forward, but that will pass.
Are there alternatives to porcelain veneers?
Dental bonding can achieve most of the same cosmetic changes as with porcelain veneers, but bonding isn’t really meant for the entire smile. Bonding is meant to change a tooth or two, if you chip a tooth, for instance. Also, bonding only last five years or so before it needs to be redone.
Other alternatives would be a crown or crowns on a few teeth that you seek to change the look of. If you need to close gaps and adjust the characteristics of your smile, orthodontics could achieve those goals, but that is a much more involved timeframe and procedure.
If you seek to simply whiten your smile, Dr. DeStefano offers KöR Teeth Whitening, which delivers amazing whitening.
What’s the difference between porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns?
These two procedures are completely different. Porcelain veneers are only cosmetic cover-ups that are applied to the front surfaces of teeth you seek to change the appearance of. They do nothing for underlying problems with the teeth. In fact, veneers can’t be placed until problems such as decay are fixed. Veneers also will last from 10-20 years.
Porcelain crowns cover the entire tooth down to the gumline. They are meant to return strength to a tooth that is thoroughly damaged, say by a deep crack or lots of decay. Without the crown, the tooth would otherwise be in danger of needing extraction. A crowned tooth can last for decades, as long as the natural tooth beneath it stays healthy. It wouldn’t be cost effective to place a crown on all of the visible teeth to remake an entire smile, either.
Are there disadvantages to porcelain veneers versus other treatments?
There are two things to consider about veneers. First, they are not permanent. Porcelain veneers will last up to 20 years, but probably less (it depends on your personal habits and care). You’ll have to get another set of veneers when the current set reaches the end of its lifespan. If you want a more permanent way to change a tooth or two, a porcelain crown would be a better solution, and crowns last for decades.
Second, if you simply want a bright white smile, teeth whitening would be a more cost effective option. Nothing quite matches the beauty of a full set of porcelain veneers, though.
What is the most common reason to have veneers replaced?
The most common reason is when the patient chips or fractures a veneer. This usually only happens when the person has some trauma, such as getting hit in the mouth with a ball or something, or if they chew on hard objects like bones or ice.
Beyond damage to a veneer, other reasons for replacement would be decay in the natural tooth holding the veneer. Over time, the cement used to anchor your veneers may also weaken or erode, and that could dictate replacement of one or two veneers or all of your set. Finally, if you have natural teeth mixed with veneers, if your natural teeth become overly stained they may appear odd next to your veneers, as veneers do not stain.