Cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and smile. This type of dentistry is differentiated from restorative dentistry, which focuses more so on the management of oral health problems and restoring the mouth to a functional state. In the vast majority of cases, cosmetic dentistry aims at improving the appearance of your teeth and smile whereas restorative dentistry focuses more so on the health. Cosmetic dentistry services can range from Botox to teeth whitening, and even braces or Invisalign. One of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments, sought after by Hollywood stars and simply those who just want an improved smile, is porcelain veneers. Veneers come in to play by offering an “instant smile makeover,” but what exactly are they?
Dental veneers are custom-made shells of porcelain that are attached to the front surface of the teeth and permanently bonded in place. As stated earlier, veneers are used to treat concerns based on appearance, such as chipped, discolored, or small-than-average teeth. These shells are highly durable, allowing you to still eat your favorite foods as normal, and they can also be customized to the correct or preferred color of your teeth. Most people get a full set of veneers to fully transform their smile, but some may choose to only get one or two in the case of a chipped tooth. The cost of veneers ranges between $900 and $2,500 per tooth but take into consideration that they can last between 10 to 15 years.
Porcelain veneers are commonly confused with crowns and dental implants. A dental crown is a cap that covers the entire tooth, whereas a veneer only covers the front. Crowns have many of the same benefits as veneers, including the restoration of broken or chipped teeth, but is more so used for those that have severely broken-down teeth, or a large portion of decay around the tooth. It is also important to note that a veneer must be bonded to a tooth with healthy enamel. If you have any decay that negatively effects your enamel, a dentist may recommend a crown over a veneer. On the other hand, dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically positioned into the jawbone beneath your gums. Dentists recommend implants over veneers to those who have more severe tooth damage. Implants are popular if you’ve lost one of your teeth or have problems biting and chewing, and can easily be used as a substitute for dentures. They provide a permanent base for fixed or replacement teeth, and are designed to look like your current set of teeth; the part that looks like a tooth is actually just a crown that is attached to the implant.
The process of getting veneers is a lot simpler than crowns and implants. You’ll have an initial consultation with your local dentist, followed by some enamel preparation. Your dentist will then take an impression or mold of your teeth and send it off to their team of expert lab technicians who will handcraft your veneers in order for the perfect fit. At the second visit, your dentist will bond the veneers into place using a special adhesive, and that’s it! Your dentist may schedule a follow-up visit, just to make sure the veneers are placed properly and that you are happy with the outcome.
If you’ve been wanting porcelain veneers, but never knew if it was right for you, then consider what area of the smile you’re trying to fix. If it is simply a chipped or discolored tooth, or you are unhappy you’re your smile, then porcelain veneers may be the best option. Veneers, crowns, and dental implants each have their place in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, so it’s best to contact your local dentist to learn which is right for you.