Porcelain Veneers: Costs & Procedure

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What are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are custom-made, thin shells that enhance your smile by changing the shape, color, and overall look of your teeth. They are strong and long-lasting, stain resistant, and look natural.

Many dental patients opt for porcelain veneers over dental bonding or teeth whitening because the results last longer.

teeth with veneer

You may visit a general or cosmetic dentist to get porcelain veneers for a few reasons, such as the following:

  1. Porcelain veneers can lengthen worn down teeth
  2. Porcelain veneers can fill gaps between teeth
  3. Porcelain veneers can cover up chipped, cracked, or crooked teeth
  4. Porcelain veneers can give you a whiter smile if your natural teeth have discoloration

Porcelain Veneer Procedure Steps

There are several steps to placing porcelain veneers. Here’s how the procedure typically goes:

  1. Your dentist will remove some enamel from the front and sides of your teeth to make room for the veneer.
  2. Your dentist then makes an impression (a mold) of the prepared tooth structure.
  3. You and your dentist will decide on a veneer shade that best matches your smile so that the veneer looks natural.
  4. Your dentist will send the tooth impression to a dental lab that custom-makes the porcelain veneer to fit just right. This step can take several weeks, and your dentist will cover the teeth with temporary veneers to wear in the meantime.
  5. At your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary veneers and place the permanent veneers on your teeth to confirm the proper fit and appearance. 
  6. Your dentist will clean your teeth before bonding the veneer to your tooth.

Benefits of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are strong, which means they’ll last you a long time. Because porcelain doesn’t easily stain and you can choose the shade to match your smile, porcelain veneers can look very natural, as well. If you cover all of your teeth with whiter veneers, they also have a teeth whitening effect. 

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Overall, porcelain veneers can give you a more beautiful smile.

Composite vs Porcelain Veneers

A composite veneer is made from a composite resin, which is a tooth-colored filling material, that bonds to the tooth. Typically, composite veneers don’t require as much enamel removal as porcelain veneers, and they tend to be cheaper, too. This also means that they require fewer visits to the dentist and are more easily fixed if they’re damaged.

While they can be repaired or replaced easily, composite veneers are not as durable or resistant as porcelain veneers. They are also not stain resistant. 

How Much Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers tend to cost more than other types of veneers, crowns, and caps. But you get what you pay for — porcelain veneers will last you and give you the ultimate smile makeover.

Common Questions and Answers

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about porcelain veneers:

Are porcelain veneers permanent?

While porcelain veneers are not permanent, they are intended to last for several years. On average, porcelain veneers last more than a decade. That said, some dental patients still have porcelain veneers after 20 years. Practicing good oral health and wearing a protective night guard while you sleep will help your porcelain veneers last longer.

How long do porcelain veneers last? 

On average, porcelain veneers last about 10 years. In many cases, however, porcelain veneers can still look great after 15 to 20 years. With the right maintenance and good dental health, your porcelain veneers can last you for decades.

What are the disadvantages of porcelain veneers?

While there are obvious advantages to porcelain veneers, there are also disadvantages. Some of the downsides of porcelain veneers include:

1. Porcelain veneers are more expensive than other available options.
2. While they can last for many years, porcelain veneers are not intended to last a lifetime. This means that, eventually, you may have to pay another visit to the dental office to replace them.

How strong are porcelain veneers?

Dental porcelain is a strong type of veneer material compared to composite veneers. While all materials can crack or chip like your natural teeth, normal biting and chewing should not damage your porcelain veneers. Bad habits like gnawing on ice cubes and opening bottle caps with your teeth, of course, can still damage your veneers.

Do you have to brush veneers?

You should brush your veneers with a nonabrasive toothpaste like you brush your natural teeth. Practicing good oral hygiene will increase the longevity of your porcelain veneers and help prevent oral infections and gum disease. 

Beyond brushing your veneers, you should continue flossing daily, rinsing with mouthwash, and wearing a nightguard if you have a habit of clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. Likewise, be sure to visit your dentist for regular cleanings twice a year or as recommended.

Are veneers covered by insurance?

Most veneers, including porcelain veneers, are not typically covered by dental insurance because veneers are considered cosmetic procedures. If you need veneers because you were involved in an accident or due to a medical situation, your insurance provider might cover these kinds of dental procedures.

Be sure to check with your dental insurance provider about whether or not your porcelain veneers are covered in your plan. 

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Resources

“Dental Veneers.” Aspen Dental, www.aspendental.com/dental-services/cosmetic-dentistry/dental-veneers

Dentistry, Pennino Family. “Home.” Pennino Family Dentistry, 17 June 2019, penninofamilydentistry.com/patient-education/how-strong-are-porcelain-veneers/.

“How Durable Are Porcelain Veneers versus Real Teeth?” Philly Dentistry, www.phillydentistry.com/durability-porcelain-veneers

Lewis, Dr. Guy M. “DOES DENTAL INSURANCE COVER COSMETIC DENTISTRY.” Houston, TX Cosmetic Dentist, Texas Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, 25 May 2018, lovethatsmile.com/dental-articles/does-dental-insurance-cover-cosmetic-dentistry.

Updated on: October 20, 2020
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