If you feel self-conscious about crooked, chipped, discolored or unevenly spaced teeth, porcelain veneers may be an ideal option to help you achieve the beautiful smile and improved self-confidence you deserve. Perhaps you’ve been considering braces but don’t want to deal with the time or maintenance involved with orthodontic treatment. Porcelain veneers are a great way to enhance your smile quickly and painlessly.
To learn more about porcelain veneers, please contact us online or over the phone to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists. If you live in the Arlington, Virginia area, call Arlington Dental Aesthetics at 703-527-1020. If you live in South Riding, please call South Riding Smiles at 703-327-7705.
What Are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are made of remarkably thin shells of porcelain that fit over the top of your natural tooth to create an attractive appearance. Each veneer is customized to fit your smile and match the color of your existing teeth so that your results appear completely natural.
Veneers are an effective cosmetic dentistry option used to improve the appearance of teeth that are:
- Stained or discolored
Porcelain veneers are long-lasting. It’s important to remember that the decision to get veneers will affect your smile for many years to come.
What are the benefits of having porcelain veneers?
What’s the benefit of having a perfect smile? Having Dr. Oh or Dr. Lee place porcelain veneers onto the front surfaces of your teeth will give you just that. Beyond the aesthetic appearance, having porcelain veneers is a far easier solution to various dental problems when compared to placing dental crowns over teeth, or replacing teeth with dental implants. Those really are not options when addressing many teeth, as the price would be exorbitant.
Porcelain veneers can solve a problem such as widespread staining in the dentin layer of your teeth from a reaction to a drug such as tetracycline when you were young. Teeth whitening cannot whiten teeth whose stains are in the dentin, rather than on the surface enamel. Porcelain veneers can cover all the stained surfaces and give the patient a perfect smile.
Plus, this only takes two appointments. Procedures to close gaps and the like could take months or even years of orthodontic tooth movement.
Who is a good candidate for porcelain veneers?
Basically, anyone with any of the flaws listed above would be a great candidate to have those flaws covered with beautiful veneers. You may have a single tooth that was adversely affected by tetracycline staining. You may have a misshapen tooth. In those cases, you may simply want one or two veneers, as you’re happy with the appearance of your other surrounding teeth.
Other candidates may want to upgrade all of their visible teeth, opting for a full set of porcelain veneers. That would give you a movie star smile.
The one common thread between any good candidate for porcelain veneers is their oral health. Veneers are only a cosmetic procedure; they are meant to mask cosmetic flaws. But the underlying teeth must be healthy before veneers can be placed over them. So, if you have issues such as decay, gum disease, or deep cracks or overly large chips, those need to be treated and corrected before Dr. Oh or Dr. Lee can apply veneers.
What is the process for getting porcelain veneers?
Porcelain veneers require two appointments with us at Arlington Dental Aesthetics or South Riding Smiles. We start with a thorough cleaning. We may opt to perform some whitening if your teeth are stained from coffee and the like; this will return them to their natural color. To match that natural color, Dr. Oh or Dr. Lee uses a shade guide to determine the veneer color.
Next, we prepare your teeth for the veneers. To do this, we shave off a tiny amount of the enamel from the front of the teeth (from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm). This makes room for the veneers on the front side of each tooth. When this process is complete, we take impressions of your teeth and send these off to the dental lab for the fabrication of your custom veneers. In most cases, this takes around one week. In the meantime, we attach temporary veneers to your teeth to protect them.
When your veneers arrive at our office, you return for your second appointment. We check the fit and the color match of each veneer. If necessary, we may shave a bit off here or there. Once satisfied with the fit, the porcelain veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth, and you can show your new smile off to the world.
Is there recovery after getting porcelain veneers?
There is no recovery for this procedure. During your first appointment, when Dr. Oh or Dr. Lee shaves a fraction of the tooth enamel from the teeth to receive veneers, we typically apply some local anesthetic to keep you from feeling any sensations. Then temporary veneers are placed over these teeth as we wait for the dental lab to fabricate your custom veneers. The second step of cementing the veneers onto your teeth is also painless. You can immediately begin showing off your perfect smile as soon as you leave our offices.
How Long Do Veneers Last?
Many of our patients enjoy the dazzling results of their porcelain veneers for decades, and regret not getting them sooner. The lifespan of your veneers will depend significantly on your commitment to oral hygiene and regular visits with our dentists. Veneers are made of durable, stain-resistant dental porcelain, but without adequate care, the porcelain can become discolored. Fortunately, maintaining porcelain veneers is easy; you simply treat them as you would your natural teeth, with routine brushing and flossing.
It will also be helpful to use some caution when you eat. Try to avoid biting down on hard substances like cherry pits. Chewing on other materials, such as pencils or fingernails can also negatively affect your veneers.
If you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism), our dentist may fit you with an oral appliance to wear during sleep to protect your veneers.
Veneers vs. Crowns
Both dental veneers and porcelain crowns have advantages in certain cases. The best way to determine which cosmetic dental procedure is best for your situation is to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists. Generally speaking, the main differences between crowns and veneers include:
- Crowns can withstand greater force from chewing than veneers.
- Veneers are generally used for only cosmetic purposes, covering teeth that are usually healthy. Crowns are used for teeth that need strengthening or are badly damaged.
- Veneers are thinner than crowns and are usually only placed on the front teeth.
- Once a tooth gets a crown, it will always need one. The same is often true with veneers, however some veneers are reversible.
Are porcelain veneers safe?
Applying veneers to your teeth doesn’t require any incisions or drilling, just shaving off a thin amount of your enamel. This doesn’t expose the inner tooth in any way. These are virtually risk-free treatments.
The one thing you do need to remember, however, is that once we shave down the enamel on your teeth those teeth will always need to be covered by veneers moving forward. Once your current set of veneers reaches its lifespan, you’ll need to have another set applied.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
A radiant smile is worth a lot. An investment in your appearance can greatly improve your self-image and confidence in social and professional interactions. When considering the cost of veneers, it’s important to also weigh the value of a dazzling smile.
The cost of veneers varies depending on the amount of work needed and the difficulty of your unique case. The best way to find out what you can expect to pay for your veneers is to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists. Not only will you be provided with a detailed cost estimate, we will explain the pros and cons of alternative treatments so you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.
As with most cosmetic dentistry treatments, dental insurance does not typically cover the cost of dental veneers. However, we believe that cost should never stand in the way of a beautiful smile, so we have a variety of payment and financing options to choose from.
Are porcelain veneers covered by insurance?
Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic procedure; they do not treat any issues such as decay. As such, insurance companies consider them to be elective procedures, and they are not covered. You can use health savings account dollars, and we also have payment plans to spread the cost out, if you are interested.
Contact Us Today to Schedule an Appointment
If you live in Arlington or South Riding, Virginia and would like to learn more about porcelain veneers, please call us today to schedule an appointment. Please call Arlington Dental Aesthetics at 703-527-1020 or South Riding Smiles at 703-327-7705.