A smile makeover with porcelain veneers is much like renovating a home. If you’ve ever watched HGTV, you know there are dozens of house flipping shows. The premises of the shows are all based on the same principle— renovating a home builds immense value. If you watch enough episodes, you’ll notice that real estate investors consistently seek out homes with cosmetic defects, but solid structure. The shows begin by showing a house in complete despair and end with a beautiful renovation that is the envy of the neighborhood.

If there were a dental equivalent to dramatic home renovations, it would be porcelain dental veneers. Dental veneers can turn even the most disappointing into a shimmering smile makeover. If you are looking into a smile makeover, you probably have researched porcelain veneers. But with so many other options, you may wonder…how do dental veneers work? Are porcelain veneers best for me? This article will concisely explain all you need to know about dental veneers.

How often do people get Veneers?

When you see a beautiful smile you may wonder if it is natural, or not. That is the mark of a truly beautiful smile. A smile should never look unnatural. So if there is a beautiful smile you notice, it very well could be natural, or it could be from porcelain veneers from a top-rated cosmetic dentist.

A study in 2015 showed that over 80% of people feel their teeth look bad in photographs. The study also found that nearly 30% of people don’t show their teeth when smiling in photos on social media because they don’t like the way their teeth look. That is way too many people needlessly ashamed of their smile!

Most people who are unhappy with their smile begin researching the options available. There are many options made available with cosmetic dentistry. Most cosmetic dentistry addresses very specific improvements: Invisalign improves underbites, overbites, and teeth alignment; whitening improves color; bonding improves shape. However, if a patient desires to improve the alignment, color, size, shape, and fractures of their teeth, porcelain veneers can make several cosmetic changes all at once.

Wait, What are They?

Porcelain veneers are custom-designed to enhance a patient’s smile. The veneers are made of thin layers of porcelain that are bonded to your teeth. Once bonded to the teeth, the porcelain becomes one with the tooth, enhances the strength of the tooth, and dramatically enhances the appearance of the teeth. The treatment may be completed in as little as two visits. If you are unhappy with the look of your smile in photos, porcelain veneers are a powerful option to enhance your smile.

How do Veneers Work?

So let’s go back to the HGTV analogy. To help explain how veneers work, think of a house-flipping show when a house is re-shingled. Over time, the siding on the house can become weathered, damaged, worn, and old. The shingles can easily be removed without damaging the framing of the house. Once the shingles are removed, the structure underneath is inspected. If the underlying structure is solid, reshingling is a simple way to dramatically improve the curb appeal of the house. Veneers are like re-siding your teeth. The key point to keep in mind is that the underlying structure is still the same. In other words, they are still your teeth— just with an enhanced surface.

What Can Dental Veneers Do?

celebrity example of dental veneers simon

Veneers are an excellent option for cosmetic dentistry to correct many problems including: stains, gaps, crooked, chips, spaces, length, and color of teeth. Veneers can lengthen worn teeth creating a more youthful smile.

Dental veneers can also be used to improve the function of the teeth and help to improve TMJ symptoms when done by a TMJ specialist. The reason veneers can improve TMJ symptoms is because often the positioning of the overbite can create interferences in the bite, muscle soreness, and other TMJ symptoms. Veneers can be used to improve TMJ dysfunction by improving the overbite/overjet and equilibrating the occlusion.

Veneer treatment is painless and has minimal recovery. It is important to know that veneers are generally not reversible. Once you commit to veneer treatment, you can’t go back to your “old” smile. The veneers can be adjusted or replaced if they are not how you hoped, but the teeth will always require a veneer covering.

How to Get Started?

The first step of any cosmetic dentistry is research. Seek out top-rated cosmetic dentists in your area to find the best dentist for veneers. You will want to find a practice that has significant experience with these types of cases, and also knows when to suggest alternatives. Not everyone is an ideal candidate for veneers, so an experienced cosmetic dentist will be able to guide you to the best option.

Once you find your top-rated cosmetic dentist, the next step is a consultation. The consultation should be comprehensive. The dentist should listen to your goals and concerns. He or she should thoroughly examine your entire mouth, as well as the head and neck. They should evaluate x-rays, and take photographs of your smile to discuss with you.

The dentist will discuss some options with you and offer a recommended treatment plan based on the information you’ve provided. He or she may have a full plan to discuss the same day, or they may request for you to return to discuss models of your mouth with you or digital renderings. Planning and discussion prior to treatment helps to set clear expectations and eliminate any unexpected surprises.

You will also get the estimated cost of the treatment plan from your dentist. If you are happy with the plan then you may move forward with scheduling, or you should have a second opinion until you do feel comfortable.

How Much Do Smile Makeovers with Veneers Cost?

The cost of porcelain veneers can vary based on the material, treatment, and expertise of the cosmetic dentist. As a ballpark, expect anywhere from $1000 to $2500 per veneer.

A full smile makeover requires at least 6-8 veneers to achieve ideal aesthetics, so it can be expensive. Think of veneers as a long term investment in yourself. Although the cost may seem intimidating at first, you also need to understand veneers make a beautiful cosmetic enhancement that lasts for upwards of 10 to 20 years. Top cosmetic dentists that perform veneer cases will have options for financing. Financing options for veneers can help to spread the cost of treatment into monthly payments.

How Long do Veneers Last?

Veneers have wear characteristics similar to natural teeth. Like your real teeth, veneers are not indestructible. An experienced veneer dentist will plan to balance the forces on the veneers to anticipate and prevent problems in the future. Veneers done by an experienced cosmetic dentist can last 10-20 years or more. There is a commitment also required of the patient to properly care for the veneers by brushing, flossing, and maintaining routine dental checkups every six months.

Does Insurance Cover them?

Most medical and dental insurances only cover treatments that are deemed medically or dental necessary. Dental veneers are generally considered a cosmetic procedure that are not eligible for insurance coverage. However, the consultation and other treatments required in the process of veneers such as core buildups, study models, etc may be covered by insurance, so there is a good chance you will be able to utilize some insurance assistance.

There are small number of cosmetic dentists that may bill medical insurance. For types of trauma like an accident or motor vehicle crash, veneers may be considered medically necessary to reconstruct the damaged area from the accident. If you have had an accident, do not hesitate to have the damage evaluated and reconstructed. Trauma is one of the few situations where cosmetic procedures may be covered by your insurance.

What If I Don’t Like my Veneers? Do I Get to Pick Them?

Before a patient has veneers, this question does come up, and it can create some anxiety for them. Typically, as the patient goes through the process they gain confidence and understanding of what to expect. The veneers will be shown to the patient on a model and can be discussed before proceeding. The patient will also be placed in temporary veneers for a couple weeks while the permanent ones are created.

The temporary veneers are thought of like a dress rehearsal. The temp veneers will be similar size and shape as the permanent veneers, just without the fine details. The temporary phase of veneers gives the patient time to adjust to the new positioning and allows the dentist and patient to discuss any changes needed before finalizing the permanent veneers. Although it is common for patients to question if they will like their veneers to start, most patients are thrilled when they see the beauty of their final result.