While the teeth of the average American aren’t anywhere as aesthetically flawed as those of most people around the world, no one’s teeth are perfect. Your smile could be a bit too gummy. There may be a gap between a couple teeth. Maybe you have a tooth with a chip or crack. Fixing these issues would involve lengthy, expensive procedures such as orthodontics.
Instead, you could have a perfect smile in just two office visits with porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers from Dr. Frey can cover a variety of aesthetic issues and give you a beautiful smile.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin, porcelain shells placed over the front of your natural teeth to alter the tooth angle, shape, size, and color. Some people refer to porcelain veneers as “instant orthodontics” because they can correct spacing and alignment issues with the teeth that would normally require orthodontics. Dr. Frey only uses porcelain veneers because they closely resemble the shine and slight translucence of your natural teeth.
As the name implies, dental veneers are similar in concept to the veneers that may cover a dresser in your bedroom. In furniture, a veneer of higher quality wood is put on top of the underlying lesser quality wood to make the piece look perfect, yet not be as costly as if the entire piece was made of the expensive wood.
Am I a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
It’s important to note that porcelain veneers don’t correct the underlying problems with your teeth; they merely cover them. So, if your issues are cosmetic, veneers can be a great, long-term answer. If your problems are more involved, porcelain veneers may not be the right solution. For instance, if your teeth are crooked enough to create bite problems, orthodontics will be necessary to fix those problems. If a crack in a tooth is bad enough to jeopardize the structure of the tooth, a veneer isn’t the right answer; a crown is probably needed.
If your issues with uneven teeth or stained teeth are merely cosmetic, Dr. Frey uses porcelain veneers to provide long-lasting improvement. Veneers look great, are very strong, and can last anywhere from 7 to 20 years before needing to be replaced.
What Problems Can Veneers Fix?
Porcelain veneers are perfect to correct these cosmetic issues with your teeth:
- Gaps or misaligned teeth
- Unevenly or irregularly sized or shaped teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth with minor cracks
- Badly discolored teeth from drug reactions
On that last point, certain drugs such as tetracycline have permanently stained the teeth of many children. These stains can’t be rectified with whitening programs because the staining is in the dentin, the layer beneath the enamel. Veneers will cover this staining.
How Are Dental Veneers Made?
Your dental veneers are fabricated in a dental lab. They are made in layers by mixing porcelain powder matching the color of your natural teeth with water. The layer is then fired in an oven like a porcelain dish. Then the layers are pressed together in a process known as lamination.
Pam N. Treats Herself with a Perfect White Smile
Advantages of Porcelain Veneers
Veneers can be made of composite resin, but Dr. Frey only uses porcelain veneers for a variety of reasons. Porcelain veneers are very strong, very hard, highly durable, and have a high resistance to staining. They also have the glassiness and translucence that is very close to natural tooth materials.
Porcelain Veneers Vs Lumineers
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to porcelain veneers and lumineers. The main difference between the two is how much tooth structure needs to be removed to apply the veneer. Lumineers are able to go right over the tooth with little to no prepping, whereas porcelain veneers require that the tooth structure be shaved down. The actual veneer is identical. Lumineers are great for patients with small teeth who want them larger or patients with worn teeth, spaces or gaps. Lumineers are not good for people with large teeth and crowding; these patients should opt for porcelain veneers.
Porcelain Veneers Procedure
It takes two visits with Dr. Frey to place your veneers, beyond the initial consultation.
The first visit prepares your teeth for your veneers. We begin by thoroughly cleaning your teeth. If your enamel is stained, we may want to perform a whitening procedure to return your teeth to their natural color before choosing the porcelain shade to match. Dr. Frey uses a shade guide to choose the porcelain color that is the best match for your natural teeth.
Next, the teeth are physically prepared to hold the veneers. This involves shaving a thin amount (from 0.3 to 0.5 mm) of the tooth enamel off the front of each tooth receiving a veneer. This is necessary to make room for the veneer so that your teeth don’t become thicker with a veneer applied to the top of the tooth. Once we’ve shaved off the necessary enamel, we take impressions of your teeth and send them off to the dental lab to use in the creation of your veneers. We include photographs of your teeth, as well, to aid in color matching. The fabrication takes around two weeks and we apply temporary veneers to protect your teeth until your permanent veneers are ready.
When your veneers are finished you return for your second appointment. Dr. Frey first checks the veneers for fit and color match, shaving off areas as needed. Once the two of you are satisfied, Dr. Frey applies permanent cement and cures it with an argon laser to permanently bond the veneers to your teeth. Applying porcelain veneers can take 2 to 3 hours, depending on the number of veneers being applied. Now you can show your perfect smile to the world!
Are veneers Painful?
If you have particularly sensitive teeth, you may want a local anesthetic while Dr. Frey shaves off the tiny amount of enamel. Most patients don’t need any anesthetic. The process of placing the veneers onto your teeth is painless. Due to the enamel that has been shaved down, some people have increased sensitivity to hot and cold after receiving their veneers. This is fleeting, resolving itself in just a few days.
How long do veneers last?
On average, you can expect your porcelain veneers to last from seven to 20 years. Their durability can be impacted by the health of the underlying teeth and surrounding gum tissue. If a veneer does come off, it can usually be re-bonded to the tooth.
It is important to understand that porcelain veneers are a lifetime arrangement. Because enamel is removed from your teeth to place the veneers, your teeth cannot be left without a veneer covering the front. Once your veneers have reached the end of their lifespan you’ll need to have new veneers applied.
Can I see what my new smile will look like?
Thanks to our computer imaging capability, we can show you exactly what your teeth will look like with porcelain veneers before we even make the appointment. We design your new smile during your first visit to the office. Computer imaging will help determine the best shape for your new smile, from square to more round. From our Smile Catalog, you can choose from various options. Then you can see what they will look like in what we call your “trial smile.” Once the best smile is chosen, our lab will produce a diagnostic wax mockup for you to see and hold. This is the most important step in choosing a new smile.
Porcelain Veneers Before and After
Rick wanted a quick solution to fixing his teeth, so Dr. Frey provided him with a beautiful smile in less than 2 visits! View more from our before & after gallery!
Why does Dr. Frey use a trial smile?
It’s simple: because you may need time to adjust to the size and shape of your new teeth. This also provides the chance to tweak and modify your smile before it becomes permanent, making the permanent smile truly perfect.
schedule a consultation
If you are interested in porcelain veneers and would like to see if you are a good candidate, contact our Beverly Hills office at (310) 276-4537. David S. Frey, DDS serves Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and surrounding areas in California.