Whether you have a tooth that no amount of teeth whitening can help or you had a root canal treatment and that tooth in question is discoloured, you have definitely looked into porcelain veneers.
And if you’re looking that brilliant white tint that is a typical feature of the perfect smile, you definitely looked up porcelain veneers.
You must have a lot of questions revolving in your head because porcelain veneers are a big decision. They are permanent after all.
We conducted a thorough research and found 6 burning questions that a lot of patients are very keen to get the answers for.
Well, you don’t have to search anymore because we will address all of them below.
Let’s kick off with them.
1. What are porcelain veneers?
These are layers of a specific material, made out of porcelain in this case, that is placed on a tooth’s surface.
Veneers are used for prosthetic and aesthetic purposes. They belong to the category of cosmetic dentistry, where the goal is primarily to improve the patient’s looks rather than dental health.
That said, there are cases where the patient undergoes a specific treatment for dental health reasons but not before decay has caused some visible damage and discolouration on a specific tooth or teeth.
Post-treatment, the dentist may offer the patient to adopt a cosmetic procedure which aims to match the natural shade of the rest of the teeth.
But where did this “painting over” on teeth idea come from anyway?
2. What is the origin of porcelain veneers?
Unlike dentistry itself, that has a history dating back to 7,000 BC, the veneer technique has only been around since Dr Charles Pincus invented it in 1928.
Around that time, photography was taking off and naturally, people wanted to have pictures that displayed them favourably.
Especially, actors. And if we are talking about the centre of the acting community in the world, Hollywood springs to mind.
Dr Pincus was solely responsible for inventing the “Hollywood Veneers” which were actually (just) snap-on tooth caps that made the smiles brighter at the time.
But he did improve the technique by developing an adhesive material that temporarily stuck the veneer to the tooth, improving the overall look and feel as well as actors’ ability to speak while the prosthetic was on.
It wasn’t before 1959 when Dr. Michael Buonocore began to experiment with etching enamel only to pave the way for further innovations that came 23 years later.
In 1982 studies by R. J. Simonsen and J. R. Calamia predicted that with a composite resin material it is possible to bond porcelain to enamel permanently.
The technique continued its evolution to reach its advanced form today and it has become one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in dentistry.
3. Why people have porcelain veneers?
Primarily to fix aesthetic problems such as a discoloured tooth or a gap.
But also, to take advantage of the long-term benefits such as:
The new-found confidence for these patients can be a life-altering outcome of the treatment.
According to a study looking at self-assessed tooth discolouration in the UK, this is an issue that the general public is affected by and if teeth whitening is not an option, porcelain veneers can definitely be an option that can address this problem.
In very simple terms, veneers is a prosthetic applied to a tooth’s surface.
But how does it work exactly? What does the dentist do to get it right?
Let's get into it!
4. The veneers process
There’s a carefully developed technique to this cosmetic procedure.
Like with most visits to the dentist, first an oral examination is made in order to ensure there are no underlying health issues or risks that should take priority over a visual improvement.
Your dentist will then proceed to give you a customised treatment plan and cost estimate before your next visit.
Are veneers done in one day?
You need to bear in mind that applying veneers usually take 2-3 visits to your dentist, the first of which will always be a consultation.
So, what are the technicalities of the second and third appointments?
How are veneers put on?
Some cosmetic dentists actually try and create a temporary partial or full set of veneers to simulate the look and feel of the new smile.
Since porcelain veneer applications are permanent, it is worthwhile to go through this step even if it means a cost increase.
Do they shave your teeth for veneers?
The first hands-on part of the visit will be the preparation of the tooth’s surface to receive the adhesive material as well as to ensure you don’t end up with particularly thick teeth.
This is done by the medical professional reshaping the enamel to a thinner format.
Don’t worry, you will receive local anaesthetic to numb the affected nerves, so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure.
It will also undergo some polishing and some etching, making sure everything is smooth and in order.
The moulds that had been taken previously are by this time in the hands of a ceramist specialist who will create the prosthetics.
Depending on the work queue, it will take a couple of weeks for the porcelain veneers to complete and to be returned to your dentist.
During the actual application, the now reshaped tooth will receive the adhesive on its surface and the dentist will then finally put on the veneer to find its final position.
Once the cement colour and everything looks according to plan, the dentist will use a light beam to trigger chemical reactions inside the adhesive agent and for the bonding to complete.
The last step in the process would be a follow-up visit where any excess cement is removed, and the overall health of the surrounding teeth and gums are intact.
That hopefully covers the whole process, but perhaps there is a lot more burning question in your head that goes something like this:
5. How much do porcelain veneers cost?
Needless to say, that there always be a variety of costs and service fees when it comes to porcelain veneers depending on the location of the practice primarily.
However, what we have seen in the industry are the following ranges:
Please note that since this is treatment of highly cosmetic in nature and function, it is highly unlikely that you will have veneers put on via the NHS.
NHS dentists have to crank out a shocking amount of UDA every year and it is unlikely that they will be able to fit in a procedure of this kind.
Should you have a situation where your NHS dentist can help you, there’s an NHS dental charge that you need to put forward before getting it done.
After the money talk, you may still wonder if this is genuinely a good idea or not.
Let’s have a look at the below example of a porcelain veneer application before and after treatment.
It looks really good right?
This is just one of the many examples skilled dentists can do for you.
However, not everything is up to them.
Here’s the thing.
Even though porcelain veneers are highly stain-resistant, you do need to look after them.
Chances are you shelled out more than £1k for a pair anyway. (like this guy below)
6. Porcelain veneer aftercare
Here’s a list of watch outs when looking after your shiny, new prosthetic veneers.
How long does a porcelain veneer last?
If you are trying your best to follow the aforementioned tips, a well-crafted porcelain veneer can last up to 10 years.
With regular visits to the dentist and the occasional maintenance/repair on top of that, the shelf life of your implants can go up to even 20 years.
Do porcelain veneers stay white?
Yes and no. With good maintenance and perhaps even a change in lifestyle and food consumption habits your porcelain veneers can stay brilliant white for many, many years.
However, with excessive smoking and/or tea or coffee consumption those stains will begin to affect even the shiniest ceramic surface.
Ok so we have touched on a number of things so far.
Is this really for you?
Let’s try and have a final comparison between the positives and the negatives.
In summary, the process is going to make you feel like a million pounds but you definitely have to invest a decent sum of money to get that.
Don’t forget, this is a cosmetic procedure with primarily visual benefits, but we can never underestimate what a healthy dose of self-confidence can do to a man or to a woman.
Over to you now.
Are porcelain veneers worth it?
Let us know in the comments!