Porcelain veneers are a dental treatment to improve the appearance of a tooth or teeth. It is an artificial facing bonded on to the front of the tooth. It normally covers the entire visible portion of the tooth to improve the appearance. Veneers allow us to change shape, colour and, to a certain extent, the position of the tooth.
What are veneers made from?
Veneers can be made from porcelain or from composite. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. In each case your tooth is prepared to accept the veneer. This may be minimal, such as surface polishing, or may involve cutting some of the tooth. When the tooth is cut, this is permanent and so it should be carefully considered taking into account maintenance, ongoing treatment needs and benefits. If you do not take care of your veneers, they will not last.
Porcelain veneers are custom made in a dental laboratory. After your tooth is prepared, moulds are taken of your teeth, which the laboratory technician can use to make the veneers. This can take two weeks. Photographs of your face and teeth are taken before and after any preparation, and your dentist will record the chosen tooth shade for the veneers. When the veneers are ready, they are tried in to make sure they fit well and look great. They are then bonded to the tooth. Before they are bonded, changes to colour or shape can still be carried out by returning them to the lab.
Porcelain veneers are very thin, but when bonded to your tooth, can be long lasting with a profound change in appearance. However, they will not last forever, so when considering them as an option, remember that they will need to be replaced throughout your life, and that each time the tooth may undergo further damage. It is possible to have veneers constructed with chairside computer milling, but we recommend a master ceramist makes them as veneers require a level of artistry that a machine has yet to duplicate.
Composite veneers are bonded directly onto the tooth chairside, so are a more affordable option. Composite can look great, but over time will tend to dull, whereas porcelain keeps its sheen better. There are options for premade porcelain bondings which can be attached to your tooth, however a custom look tends to look better as it is matched to your individual circumstances.
How will I know what they will look like?
Before construction of veneers and certainly for a full set of porcelain veneers, a mock up of the veneers can be made in wax on a model of your teeth. This allows you to see the shape and positioning, to make sure the final result is what you expect. Sometimes a visit to the lab technician allows a better result so he/she can see your teeth in the flesh, so to speak. Real life always conveys the full picture better than a photograph. Our teeth are very complex structures with differing characteristics. This is not as simple as the colour, but the reflection, hue, value (light/dark), chroma (intensity of colour), translucency as well as surface characteristics. Remember the colour properties of the underlying tooth also have to be considered. The final appearance is a confluence of all of these characteristics. For this reason it is worth remembering that a match to adjacent teeth will never be absolute. Your teeth will change over time and they have a different appearance in differing light intensity and quality. Matching a single tooth can be problematic and if you are considering veneers, it is much better to do them at the same time rather than a few at a time. Also be aware that your veneers will not change with whitening agents, so if you use whitening products on your teeth afterwards, it can cause a mismatch.
How much do veneers cost?
Porcelain veneers cost approximately $1250 – $1500 per tooth, but there can be discounts for multiple teeth due to decreased duplication. Composite Veneers cost $250 – $280 per tooth. For a consultation to find out how much it will cost and what is possible, you can book online now.
Are there other options?
Your dentist will discuss all available options with you. If there is a problem with position of teeth, it may be worth considering orthodontics or invisalign to move their position. If it is a problem with colour, tooth whitening may be an alternative. If it is the shape, a partial bonding may be an options. Discussing all the options to identify your requirements and priorities is crucial to an optimum outcome. We want you to take pride in your smile.