Your smile might be the first thing people notice about you. However, dissatisfaction with your smile could have a profound effect on almost all areas of your life. For example, if you are conscious about your smile, your job prospects might suffer, your social and personal life stunted, and satisfaction diminished. Fortunately, you can explore improvement options through dental porcelain veneers. Washington Dental in Lomita can work with the best master ceramist to design customized porcelain veneers to complement your facial features and smile and restore your teeth’ functionality. We can also perform a dental exam of your teeth, mouth, and gums to determine whether you are a candidate for porcelain veneers.

Introducing Dental Veneers

Also known as dental porcelain laminate or porcelain veneer, a dental veneer is a water-thin, customized shell of tooth-colored material tailored to cover your front tooth surface to boost your appearance. The shell is bonded to your teeth’ front, changing their length, size, or color.

While veneers could be made from resin or porcelain, porcelain dental veneers resist stains better than the resin option. Moreover, they have the light-reflecting characteristic of your natural teeth.

Porcelain dental veneers are made from a wide range of ceramic, including:

  • Lithium disilicate — Its intense strength makes it ideal for patients with bruxism

  • Pressed ceramic — It is strong and thicker than other materials

  • Stacked ceramic — A dentist can customize it

History of Veneers

While porcelain veneers have been popular in the past few years, Dr. Charles Pincus first used them almost a century ago in the film industry. The Hollywood dentist devised veneers as a method for actors and actresses to improve their smiles and appearance on TV by placing false fronts on their teeth. It didn't take long before the temporary veneers became a staple in the industry.

In the 1960s, Dr. Michael Buonocore used a mild acidic solution to etch teeth. It led to a surface which permitted stronger bonding for dental sealants and restorations. And in 1982, J.R. Calamia and R.J. Simonsen introduced porcelain veneers.

Over the last three decades, veneers are now more convenient. Thanks to the developments in dental know-how and technology. Modern forms of porcelain veneers reflect light, are stronger, and function like natural enamel. Additionally, digital imaging techniques are available, allowing dental experts to create restorations faster.

Dentists can also integrate dental crowns and teeth whitening with dental veneers to offer a beautiful smile and complete cosmetic outcome.

Uses of Porcelain Veneers

Generally, dental veneers are used to solve the following conditions:

  • Discolored teeth due to root canal treatment, huge resin fillings, excessive fluoride, strains from medications such as tetracycline

  • Worn down enamel due to smoking, genetic predisposition, medication, or drinking beverages like soft drinks, coffee, or tea

  • Broken or chipped teeth

  • Irregularly shaped, uneven, or misaligned teeth

  • Teeth with gaps between them

Different Forms of Dental Porcelain

Generally, veneers are made of porcelain. Placing a traditional dental veneer needs more intensive preparation work than a no-prep veneer. The no-prep veneer options, including vivaneers and Lumineers, are less aggressive and take little time to place.

Applying traditional dental veneers comprises grinding down your tooth structure and sometimes past your enamel. While it permits proper placement, it is an irreversible dental procedure that could be painful and needs local anesthesia.

On the contrary, a no-prep veneer might require tooth alteration or preparation that affects only the enamel. You don't need local anesthesia.

Please note that porcelain veneers are different from crowns and implants. While the crown encases your whole tooth, veneers only cover the front side of your tooth. On the contrary, dental implants replace your entire tooth.

Determining Porcelain Veneers Candidacy

Healthy teeth and gums are essential for patients considering porcelain veneers. That means those suffering from gum disease, root canal infection, and tooth decay do not qualify. Nevertheless, if these health conditions are treated successfully, a patient can receive the veneers without any issue.

Please note that this is a permanent dental procedure, and some enamel is removed before the veneers are applied. Finally, you will need a veneer placement or another restoration. Since it is a lifetime investment, you should be sure about the cosmetic dentistry option in question.

Patients who grind teeth or clench jaws might not qualify. While veneers are strong and durable, the forces that happen during clenching and grinding could immerse strain on veneers, causing them to come off or break. Fortunately, dentists can treat these dental issues, and patients receive veneers.

To determine whether you are an ideal candidate for veneers, you should consult with your skilled cosmetic dentist. During your appointment, the medical expert will evaluate your dental health, enamel condition, and overall health. They can also notify you whether porcelain veneers are a feasible option or not.

Porcelain Veneer Process

Dental veneers have transformed thousands of smiles, improving many patients' self-esteem, confidence, and appearance. Competent dentists combine science, skills, art, and experience to ensure all cases are perfect.

Discussed below is a comprehensive dental veneer process:

Step One

The initial step is walking into your dentist's office for an initial consultation to discuss the available options. It is an opportunity to interview your cosmetic dentist and for them to demonstrate to you what is possible. They will take digital images of the smile and teeth and discuss your dental goals.

The dentist will display the images on a high-definition LCD. They will then analyze the photos and listen to your perception of the smile. It's where artistry meets skills.

Your knowledgeable dentist will show you photographs of smiles before guiding you on the smile that matches your face's contours and shape.

Any experienced dentist understands your needs and can provide personalized treatment plans.

Step Two

Your proficient dental expert will make impressions of your teeth and mouth and send them alongside instructions and guidelines to a skilled ceramist.

The ceramist will mount the models on a chewing simulator machine and place wax on your teeth to resemble your dental veneers. The wax-up blueprint ensures your restoration will function in the mouth. It also:

  • Allows you to preview your results before the dentist starts working in the mouth

  • Offers a model from which the dentist can design your veneers

Step Three

The dentist will then do all the necessary tooth contouring. Next, they will numb and prepare the teeth to design models on which your veneers are made. The contouring varies depending on your wax-up.

Your dentist can combine cases where only a few of your teeth are contoured. For instance, if you require ten veneers, the dentist can perform traditional veneer preparation on six teeth and handle the remaining four with a no-prep technique.

Then the dental professional will fit you with dental temporaries created from your wax-up. It allows your dentist to make both cosmetic or functional modifications. You will put on your temporaries for at least three (3) weeks, allowing you to make modifications if they are too short, round, or long.

Step Four

Once the veneers are in, you could book an appointment to have them applied. During the appointment, the skilled dentist will evaluate your veneers' coloration, shape, and fit to ensure they are ideal for you.

The dentist will then clean your teeth thoroughly. It prevents bacteria from being trapped beneath your dental porcelain veneers and causing tooth decay.

Then the dentist will use grinding tools to create a rough texture on all teeth on which veneers are to be placed, making it easier for your veneers to stick to your teeth.

The dentist will use dental cement to fix the porcelain veneers to your teeth. Then, they will use ultraviolet light to activate the chemicals in the cement, making it cure quickly.

Finally, the dentist will remove excess cement, check the bite and make all the required adjustments. Your cosmetic dentist might request you to return for your follow-up in a few weeks to review your veneers' placement and gums.

Instructions Following Porcelain Veneers Placement

If a patient was numbed during the procedure, they should wait until the anesthesia wears off before drinking, eating, or chewing. Do not eat or drink anything hot, so you do not burn your mouth.

As far as eating with the temporaries is concerned, you may eat normally. However, ensure you chew anything crunchy and hard on the back teeth to prevent your temporaries from breaking or cracking. Moreover, avoid gum, candies, or sticky foods that can dislodge your temporaries.

The temporaries will be vulnerable to straining from fruits such as blackberries and drinks like dark fruit juice, red wine, and coffee. If possible, use a straw to prevent contact with your temporaries' surfaces. Remember to rinse the mouth after drinking or eating these items.

While you can brush your teeth normally, avoid flossing until your permanent porcelain veneers are applied. Your temporaries are interconnected, making it difficult to floss between them. Also, avoid flossing on the adjacent edges since it could cause your temporaries to fall.

It is normal to experience sensitivity at the dental site for a couple of days. If the sensitivity exceeds a week, consult with your dentist. If you grind your teeth, you're likely to experience sensitivity for long. It would be best if you wore night guards following the placement to reduce the sensitivity.

Sometimes following the placement of the veneers, you might notice that you feel a little rough. The rough spots (from extra dental cement) wear down following a few days of teeth brushing and eating. If they do not, the dentist could smoothen them out.

Typically, traditional veneers last between ten and fifteen years, while no-prep dental veneers last between five and seven years. Following the precautions below can increase the lifespan:

  • Avoid chewing hard substances like ice, pens, fingernails, or ice.

  • Do not use your teeth to open condiment packages or packaging.

  • Eat hard foods using the back teeth.

  • If you clench or grind your teeth, obtain a retainer or splint to protect the porcelain veneers.

  • Be sure to put on a mouthguard when playing sports.

  • Comply with proper oral hygiene practices, including flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash, and flossing

  • Avoid strain-causing beverages and foods like tea, red wine, or coffee.

Dental Porcelain Veneers Benefits

Porcelain veneers come with the following advantages:

  • First, since they are semi-translucent, light reflects on them like your natural enamel, offering you a natural tooth appearance.

  • Your gums tolerate porcelain perfectly.

  • They are stain-resistant.

  • You can select a color that makes your dark teeth look whiter.

  • Unlike crowns, they do not require much shaping, yet they look better and stronger.

  • They offer increased happiness and confidence.

Dental Porcelain Risks

The cons of veneers include:

  • You cannot repair veneers once they crack or chip.

  • The dental process is permanent and can't be undone.

  • Dental veneers are more expensive than composite resin bonding.

  • Since the dentist removes your enamel, your teeth might be more sensitive to cold and hot drinks and foods.

  • Veneers might not match your teeth’ color. Additionally, you can't change your veneer's color after it is placed. Therefore, if you are considering teeth whitening, you should do so before obtaining your veneers.

  • Occasionally, veneers could dislodge and fall out. To reduce the possibility of this happening, avoid putting extensive pressure on the teeth by chewing on substances like pencils, nails, and ice.

  • Your teeth can experience decay.

  • The dental option is not ideal for patients who grind or clench their teeth since the veneers can chip or crack.

  • Patients:

  1. with unhealthy teeth,

  2. without adequate existing enamel on your tooth surface,

  3. suffering from gum disease, or

  4. with weakened teeth due to fracture, huge dental fillings, or decay,

do not qualify for veneers.

Why Do Your Dental Porcelain Veneers Smell?

It is not uncommon for patients to complain that beautiful veneers smell. There are common reasons for this. Most of them mean you will need the veneers redone or require more work.

Poor Dental Hygiene

The starting place is ensuring your dental hygiene is adequate. Dental veneers will not cover your natural teeth completely. As a result, your natural tooth is still exposed, and you can suffer tooth decay due to bacteria.

Poor dental hygiene could permit oral bacteria buildup around and in your teeth. Some of these bacteria are anaerobic bacteria that breathe sulfur instead of oxygen, producing odorous sulfur compounds in the mouth.

Ensure you clean your natural teeth and porcelain veneers properly. Floss daily and brush your teeth twice daily. If you find flossing difficult, consider using a water flosser or interdental brush.

If this does not help, rule out oral hygiene as the root cause of your bad breath.

Poorly Fitted Veneers

Your veneers can also sabotage you. If your dental veneers are not fitted well, they could create ledges around your veneer, allowing oral bacteria and food particles to accumulate. The ledge can also result in gum disease, cavities, and a bad smell.

Tooth Decay

Dental veneers protect only one surface of the tooth. That means the remaining part of your tooth could develop cavities. The cavities are ideal for anaerobic oral bacteria to accumulate and finally enter the center of your tooth, nerve, or pulp.

If your veneered tooth has a cavity, your tooth should be filled and might require having the dental veneer removed and replaced with a crown.

Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of tooth decay.

Gum Disease

If not adequately maintained, oral bacteria can infect the gums around the teeth. It might be attributed to poor oral hygiene, health conditions (for instance, diabetic persons are at an increased risk of suffering from gum disease), or genetic factors.

Check for inflamed and red gums around your teeth, including those with veneers. Another sign of gum disease is gums that bleed or are tender when you brush. If not treated, gum disease could result in receding gums and tooth loss.

Cost, Insurance, and Financing

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, traditional veneers can cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth and could last up to fifteen years. No-prep veneers cost about $800 to $2,000 per tooth and last up to seven years.

Some of the factors that might affect the price of your dental porcelain veneers include:

  • Special promotions and discount at the practice

  • The need for additional treatment before placing your veneers

  • The number of dental veneers required

  • The complexity of your case and your unique needs

  • The location of the dental practice

  • Dental Insurance

Generally, many dental insurance companies don't cover veneers. It is deemed a cosmetic procedure, and it isn't medically essential.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if you chipped your tooth when you were younger and had it restored, insurance would cover your new veneer.

Payment Plans

Most dental offices offer payment plan options through third-party lenders like CareCredit.

For instance, if you have a CareCredit card, you could use it to pay for out-of-pocket dental bills, but only with a dentist listed on the lender's official website.

Dental Loans

Another payment option is taking personal loans. A personal loan could provide reduced monthly payments and more competitive fixed interest rates as long as you have a good credit score. Nevertheless, you will pay interest alongside the veneer's cost, making them high-end.

Credit Card Payment

Most dental offices accept various credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. If you use a credit card, please remember to reach your bank and let them know you're making the purchase. If your one-time purchase involves a lot of money, some banks might flag it as suspicious. Therefore, it is wise to avoid getting into potential challenges by calling your bank early.

Available Dental Discount

Before proceeding with your dental work, find out the various dental discounts offered by your qualified dentist. You might find there are numerous money-saving opportunities.

If you want to stay on top of the latest available discount through the dentist, visit your dental office's website and fill out email information to stay on the email list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Discussed below are questions that the skilled dental experts at Washington Dental have answered over and over again:

  1. What Occurs When Your Dental Veneer Breaks or Falls Off?

You should pick the pieces of your veneer and store them. Do not use crazy glue. Then schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist to determine the next course of action.

  1. What Takes Place If Only Your Upper Teeth Require Veneers?

Since porcelain veneers should match your existing natural teeth, it is a wise decision. In addition, teeth whitening could be performed on your lower teeth to guarantee a match.

  1. How Many Dental Porcelain Veneers Do You Require?

A prosthodontic consultation is necessary when determining whether the veneer is a viable option and the required number of veneers. Please note that an even number of porcelain veneers give the best aesthetic outcome.

  1. How Long Does Veneers Placement Take?

Typically, traditional porcelain veneers need two (2) visits. The duration depends mainly on the number of veneers to be placed and the patient's needs. It can take up to three weeks between your initial consultation, dental impressions, and the placement procedure.

A dentist who places veneers in their office can perform all this within a couple of hours.

  1. Does Dental Porcelain Veneer Process Hurt?

You will be numbed for the process, and you should not experience any pain once the sedation becomes effective. However, you might experience some discomfort after the numbness subsides.

While you might experience soreness in the gums and jaw, over-the-counter medication can alleviate it.

  1. What is the Common Reason to Have Your Veneers Replaced?

Porcelain veneers are strong and shouldn't break under normal circumstances. However, if gum recession happens, your tooth's root might become exposed. You might want new dental veneers to cover your roots. The integrity of veneered teeth is compromised, and your veneer is bonded to your existing teeth.

  1. What are the Alternatives to Veneers?

If you are not an ideal candidate for veneers, our experienced dentist might recommend other options for achieving your cosmetic dental goals. They might include:

  • Tooth whitening to reduce discoloration

  • Dental bonding for minor breakage, chips, or cracks

  • Restoration with bridges or dental crowns

  • Implants to replace your missing teeth

Find a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist Near Me

Dental porcelain veneers are a cosmetic dentistry treatment option for several tooth problems such as gap-filled smiles, worn-down enamel, discolored teeth, and broken teeth. Veneers are attached to the natural teeth through the bonding process, resulting in whiter teeth that compliment your appearance. With the state-of-art and experienced dental team at Washington Dental, your dream of a beautiful smile can become a reality. We can marry your patient-centered focus with dental techniques to offer the best possible aesthetic outcome.

To schedule your initial consultation and learn more about dental porcelain veneers, contact us today at 310-326-5183. We are proud to serve patients in Lomita and the surrounding areas.