Porcelain Veneers Benefits
In this article, we discuss the benefits of porcelain veneers.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Porcelain Veneers Benefits
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Nathaniel Podilsky, DMD
SENIOR SECTIONAL EDITOR
updated March 12, 2015
When it comes to your smile, a minor cosmetic imperfection can have a
major impact on your appearance and your confidence. Porcelain
veneers offer a fast and effective way to conceal these imperfections,
enhance the look of your smile, and boost your self-esteem. Veneers
are thin, all-ceramic shells that are bonded to the front surface of a
tooth to create a beautiful, yet natural-looking smile in as few as two
visits. They can conceal chips, cracks, stains, wide spacing, minor
misalignment, and more. Each veneer is custom-made in a dental
laboratory to match your natural teeth.
Porcelain Veneers Benefits
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I have placed a lot of veneers since 1997. In those days, we had limited
choices in materials and techniques. Today, veneers can be made
stronger and more realistic-looking than ever before. Though the
concept of concealing imperfections with a veneer is simple, there are
many subtle details that must be analyzed during the planning process
in order to achieve a natural-looking enhancement that effectively
complements your features. When your treatment is coordinated by a
reputable and experienced dentist, you can expect many benefits that
can transform not only your smile, but your entire appearance.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers: The Basics
Dental porcelain can be crafted to look indistinguishable from natural
teeth. It is also very strong, and with proper care, you can expect your
veneer to last many years. Once in place, your veneers can provide life-
Symmetry: Porcelain veneers can correct the appearance of an
asymmetrical smile. When you look at your teeth in the mirror, does the
left side of your smile look different from the right? A perfectly healthy
smile can look damaged, worn, or underdeveloped when aesthetic
issues disrupt symmetry. Achieving symmetry with porcelain veneers
requires analysis of the smile line, or the curvature of the top teeth in
relation to that of the bottom lip when you smile. Your dentist will craft
your veneers to refine the curvature of your top teeth and achieve a
proper smile line. In some cases, a patient may not have a symmetrical
lip, and depending on his or her goals, an injectable dermal filler may be
a good complement to veneers.
Along with the smile line, a skilled dentist will also analyze the positions
of your teeth in relation to one another. For example, the cuspids, or
canine teeth, should be in alignment with your centrals, or two front
teeth. The smaller teeth in between the centrals and cuspids should be
a little shorter. A dentist should also consider the overall shape of the
patient's face. If, for instance, the patient has a thin face, wider veneers
can prevent an elongated facial appearance. On the other hand, a
dentist may recommend longer veneers to a patient with a round face,
which can produce a thinning effect. As a general rule, the longer and
whiter the teeth, the more youthful the smile.
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A Healthy Appearance: Veneers are designed to help your smile look
bright, symmetrical, and properly aligned. Once your treatment is
complete, these characteristics can make your smile look natural and
healthy, which can in turn make you look younger. When it comes to
your teeth, form doesn't always necessarily follow function. For
example, stained teeth can actually be quite healthy, and a small chip or
slight misalignment won't necessarily compromise the health of your
smile. Veneers complement the healthy characteristics of your smile
with the outward characteristics that we associate with excellent oral
A Natural-looking Enhancement: Each porcelain veneer is milled from a
shaded block of porcelain selected to closely match the color of your
natural teeth. Higher quality veneers are further customized after they
are milled by a master ceramist in the dental laboratory, and can be
hand-painted to create a more natural look. Natural teeth have a
gradient of color that is darker near the gum line and lighter near the
bite surface, and veneers can be crafted to match this complex
A Single Treatment That Can Address
Porcelain veneers are a unique cosmetic dentistry treatment because
they can address several cosmetic imperfections at once. Because they
cover the entire front surface of your natural teeth, veneers can
Stains - Dental stains can occur for a variety of reasons, like taking
certain medications, eating foods like berries and wine, and smoking.
These stains occur on the outer surface of teeth, and can usually be
eliminated with teeth whitening treatments. However, intrinsic stains
(stains that occur on the inside surface of teeth) don't typically
respond to teeth whitening. They commonly occur following a root
canal. Porcelain veneers, though translucent, can completely mask
these stains to give your smile a healthy-looking color.
Chips - Teeth can become chipped for a number of reasons. If a
substantial portion of your tooth is chipped off, you may require
restorative treatment. Minor chipping, however, is easily covered with
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Cracks - Substantial dental cracks can compromise the health of your
entire smile, and require restorative treatment. Small cracks do not
necessarily compromise the structure or health of your tooth, but can
take a toll on the appearance of your smile. Minor cracks can be
easily concealed with porcelain veneers.
Misalignment - While veneers cannot straighten your teeth, they can
create the appearance of a straighter smile. By adjusting the width
and shape of your veneer, your dentist can make crooked teeth look
straight. Many of my veneer patients have undergone orthodontic
treatment in their youth, but experienced some shifting later in life.
Veneers can create the appearance of a properly aligned smile
without the need for lengthy orthodontic treatment.
It should be noted that in the pursuit of a natural-looking enhancement,
it can be very important to avoid making a smile look perfectly aligned.
The fact is that there is no such thing as a perfectly aligned smile, and
such a thing just would not look natural. A dentist with advanced skill
can create a look of slightly less-than-perfect alignment. These small
touches can make all the difference between a smile that looks naturally
dazzling and charismatic, and a smile that looks like it was designed in
Worn-down Teeth - Teeth can become worn down from grinding and
chewing over the years. If this erosion is not compromising the health
of your teeth, veneers can restore a healthy appearance.
The Unique Aesthetic Attributes of Dental
Expertly crafted porcelain provides the aesthetics and durability needed
to provide a long-lasting aesthetic dental enhancement, and it can be
customized to look indistinguishable from natural teeth. Modern
dentistry has made great strides in creating natural-looking
enhancements with dental porcelain:
Translucency - The more translucency, the younger the smile looks.
The outer structure of your teeth consists of dentin covered by a
layer of translucent enamel, through which light can pass. This
results in a very distinct effect when light hits a natural tooth.
Porcelain can be crafted to achieve the same degree of translucency,
making veneers virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Stain Resistance - Porcelain is a non-porous material, unlike natural
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enamel. As a result, porcelain is actually more stain resistant than
your natural teeth. With proper care, your veneers can retain their
original color for many years. However, this means that you should
take care to avoid staining any surrounding natural teeth and
disrupting aesthetic consistency. Ongoing teeth whitening can help
patients experience the greatest aesthetic benefits of porcelain
Chip Resistance - Dental porcelain, once bonded to the tooth, is
resistant to breakage, chipping, and fracturing. In fact, your veneers
can last up to 10 years or longer with proper care. You can maximize
the life of your veneers by practicing proper dental hygiene,
undergoing exams twice a year, and avoiding habits such as chewing
pen caps, fingernails, and ice chips. It is also important to wear a
night guard if you grind at night, or a properly fitted sports guard if
you participate in active sports.
Precise, Natural-looking Coloration - Most of my patients tell me they
want whiter teeth, but not unnaturally white teeth. In order to achieve
the most natural-looking coloration, veneers must consist of three to
four carefully blended colors. This shading is darkest at the gumline,
and becomes lighter near the chewing surface. This effect can be
further enhanced by using a bluish tint at the biting surface that
fades toward the gum line.
Making the Most of Your Veneers
To enjoy the best possible aesthetic benefits of porcelain veneers, it is
important to select a dentist with experience, technical precision, and
Dr. John F. Weston, owner and director of Scripps Center for Dental
Care in San Diego, and an examiner for the American Academy of
Cosmetic Dentistry, recommends taking a close look at a prospective
If you can find a member of an
organization like the AACD, or even an
examiner, it's very beneficial toward your
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"I tell patients to look at cases the doctor has performed, as experience
matters in the end quality of the veneers," Dr. Weston said. "Nothing
substitutes the type of experience that comes with performing a lot of
cases. If you can find a member of an organization like the AACD, or
even an examiner, it's very beneficial toward your end results."
Dr. Weston also advises that patients ask their dentist about the extent
of tooth alteration that treatment will involve. Before placing traditional
veneers, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel from your
teeth, allowing the veneers to lay in a natural-looking position among
your natural teeth. Thanks to advancements in materials and
techniques, thin veneers can be very durable and look extremely
realistic, so the amount of enamel removal necessary to achieve a
proper fit has decreased significantly. Fifteen years ago, the best
solution for concealing a cosmetic dental imperfection was a crown,
which requires substantial alteration of the tooth. Today, adequate
preparation often involves removing as little as 0.3 millimeters of
"If your dentist is doing a lot of grinding, they're not really participating
in what's considered the standard of care for porcelain veneers today,"
Dr. Weston said.
There are also specially branded types of prepless or minimal-prep
veneers, such as LUMINEERS®. These veneers are extremely thin. In
some cases, these veneers can help patients achieve great results.
However, these veneers may look bulky or unnatural in other instances.
An experienced dentist will be able to determine which kind of veneer
will provide you with the best aesthetic result.
Defining and Budgeting for Your Goals
Like other cosmetic dentistry treatments, you should consider your
porcelain veneers an investment in your appearance and, more
importantly, your self-esteem. To achieve the best possible benefits
from your veneers, you should ask your dentist many questions about
the materials he or she uses, and ask what they can do to help you
achieve the smile you envision. If you have a friend, loved one, or
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acquaintance who has undergone the procedure, and you feel they were
able to achieve beautiful results, get in touch with that person's dentist.
Meanwhile, be prepared to pay the price for outstanding work.
You must remember that if you truly wish to achieve beautiful, long-
lasting results, now is not the time to go bargain hunting. If your dentist
demonstrates an ability to give you exactly the smile you desire, find a
way to place the price of that dentist's services within your budget. The
fact is that you cannot place a price on the satisfaction you can achieve
with a beautiful, yet natural-looking smile. Meanwhile, revision
treatments down the road can actually cost you more than an
outstanding initial treatment. By making the necessary arrangements to
receive precisely the enhancement you want, you can spend your time
enjoying a wonderful new smile instead of worrying about how to fix
disappointing results. Would you go to the cheapest heart surgeon to
have your open heart surgery performed?
"I Am Absolutely Thrilled."
One of my patients, Seanna Collins, has been dissatisfied with the look
of her smile since she received two dental crowns at age 15. Over the
years, Seanna had her crowns replaced, but found that they did not
provide a good aesthetic complement because they were made at
different times and from different materials. Seanna makes her living as
an on-camera television host, event MC, and spokesperson, so it is
especially important for her to not only look great, but also exude
confidence and charisma.
I worked with Seanna to create a smile makeover plan that involved
replacing her crowns, and matching them with porcelain veneers placed
across her anterior teeth on her upper arch. We took X-rays and
impressions of her natural teeth to ensure a proper fit, but also spent a
substantial amount of time discussing the shade, shape, and size of
veneers needed to meet her goals.
"My veneers are absolutely
amazing," Seanna said. "I wish
veneers had existed 35 years ago
when I received my crowns.
When Dr. Podilsky applied
my veneers, it was the first
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Technology has changed so
much since I first got them, and
porcelain has improved greatly.
When Dr. Podilsky applied my
veneers, it was the first time ever
that all of my teeth actually matched."
Seanna received 10 porcelain veneers in total on her upper arch four
years ago. Both in her work and in her personal life, she has felt more
confident in her smile.
"I was going through a lot of turmoil for a lot of years with my teeth not
matching," Seanna said. "Receiving porcelain veneers was definitely an
investment, but I am absolutely thrilled with them."
Like Seanna, many of my patients have undergone several types of
cosmetic and restorative treatments in the past, but were unsuccessful
in achieving the natural look they wanted. Once these patients receive
porcelain veneers, they can feel satisfied knowing this treatment is
long-lasting, and makes them look like they were born with an incredible
Veneers Can Make the Smile of Your
Dreams a Reality
If you feel self-conscious about aesthetic imperfections in your smile,
there has never been a better time to explore how porcelain veneers
can make your smile look amazing and help you feel more confident.
Find a few promising dentists in your area, and meet with each of them
to determine who places an equal emphasis on science and art. A
dentist who works with an excellent dental lab, demonstrates an
advanced understanding of how your smile can complement your entire
appearance, and truly listens to your goals and concerns can help you
achieve life-changing results with porcelain veneers.
References & Resources
my veneers, it was the first
time ever that all of my
teeth actually matched
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Author: Nathaniel Podilsky, DMD