Dental veneers are a treatment that can subtly or dramatically enhance the look of your smile. Patients that get veneers have life-changing effects on their self-confidence and the aesthetics of their facial beauty. The process, however, is a permanent change to your smile. With so many factors that create facial beauty and a variety of personal preferences, you may worry if you will be happy with your veneer result. This article will discuss the process of dental veneers, how to set predictable expectations for your result and discuss options if you are unhappy with your result.

How the Process of Getting Porcelain Veneers Begins Properly

The process of getting dental veneers begins with research. Not all dentists have the top expertise in redesigning a smile with dental veneers. Research top cosmetic dentists or best veneer dentists in your area to find dentists that do a lot of these types of cases. A dentist that does a lot of cosmetic dentistry will typically have before and after photos on their website to give you a sense of the complexity of cases they have expertise in. Once you select a dentist, have a consultation to discuss your goals.

At an initial consultation, the cosmetic dentist will learn about your concerns, will take photos of your smile/face, and will recommend suggestions for how to achieve your goals. The smile will be evaluated to increase the beauty of the smile, but also the harmony of the smile in the context of the entire face. The dentist will help to set realistic expectations of what can be achieved.

After the initial consultation, a tentative plan will be created and the cost for the case will be presented. If you are ready to proceed, the next step is the planning phase. The planning phase is how expectations are set.

How to Increase Probability You Will Like Your Veneers

The planning phase of the veneers is the most critical time to build your confidence in your expected result. If there are any specific features of your smile that you would like to change, make sure you have communicated them by this point. The cosmetic dentist will begin creating models, or digital imaging of your smile to present a proposed result. The proposal will be based on ideals of smile aesthetics and facial aesthetics, but it can also include any requests you may have.

The proposed smile mockup is a very powerful tool to set expectations and make any modifications if needed. It allows the dentist and the patient an opportunity to make sure they are both on the same page before starting an irreversible treatment. After seeing the smile mockup, most patients are ecstatic and very excited to move forward with the treatment. By a patient seeing a proposed result prior to treatment, any uncertainty of treatment is typically cleared up.

The second opportunity for a patient to increase the probability of liking the final result is during the temporary veneer phase. When the teeth are prepared for dental veneers, a physical or digital impression is taken. The impression is then used to design the veneers. The patient is placed in temporary veneers which are modeled similar to the proposed result. We consider the temporary phase as “a dress rehearsal.” The temporary veneers can be evaluated in the patient’s mouth over the course of a few days to ensure the teeth are functioning and looking properly. If any changes are needed, they may be communicated before finalizing the permanent veneers. It is important to understand the temporary veneers are made of acrylic. They will generally be similar size and shape to the proposed result, but they will lack the fine details such as translucency, lobing, or precise shade match. The final result is made from porcelain and will always look more natural. The temporary veneers, however, help to further work out any changes needed prior to the final porcelain veneers.

What if I Want to Change the Look of My Veneers?

Once cemented porcelain veneers are a permanent long lasting treatment. The most common occurance with veneers is that the patient has a vision of how the veneers will look on them that doesn’t look exactly what is achieved in reality. It’s not that either the anticipated result, or the actual result is incorrect, it’s just the difference in expectations can be unsettling. If you are unhappy with your veneers, however, there are options to adjust the veneers or change them. So it is recommended to stay in contact with your provider to allow proper time to followup and make changes to suit your expectations.

Oftentimes when people first receive porcelain dental veneers there is a “settling in phase.” The first couple of months after getting veneers can be emotional. When a patient sees themselves looking different it can feel unsettling even if the result does look better. The mere idea of not looking like yourself can be very emotional and it takes time for the patient to reacclimate to the new version of themselves.

With that said, if you recently received veneers and are unhappy with them follow up with your treating cosmetic dentist. Often the veneers can be recontoured to shorten the length, level them, adjust the bite, change the contours, or make them look more bold or soft. Sometimes the veneers are done well, but too few teeth were veneered. When an inappropriate number of teeth are veneered it can create asymmetry. By veneering, a couple more teeth sometimes balance the entire aesthetics. In rare cases, the veneers may require a complete revision where the process can be completely redone. Newly proposed models are planned, and the veneers can be removed to be replaced with a completely different result.

Like all things in life, there is a lifespan for porcelain veneers. The average lifespan for porcelain veneers is 10-20 years. Over time the teeth can shift, decay or chip, and our facial features change as we age which may interfere with the ideal aesthetics. If you had veneers many years ago and are growing unhappy with the appearance of them, it may be time to consider having a consult to discuss replacing them. The process for replacing veneers is similar to the initial process. Replacing veneers begins with discussing goals, creating a proposed model, removing the old veneers, and replacing them with beautiful brand new veneers designed to enhance the overall smile and beauty of the face.

Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction is the top cosmetic dentist in the Boston area. Dr. Charles Sutera is a national leader in smile makeovers with porcelain veneers and full mouth reconstructions. His reputation is renowned due to advanced expertise in facial aesthetics, TMJ function, and board certification in IV sedation. Known as a Dentist of the Stars for its class-leading level of comfort, Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction has achieved numerous successful results for public figures, celebrities, and professionals of the east coast. Visit their website to view before and after photos.