Go ahead ask it, the question on many people’s minds who are debating cosmetic dentistry…Are veneers worth it?
The answer to the question, are veneers worth it, depends less on dentistry and more on you. The answer will vary person to person, but what I can tell you is… we each value our smile, our health, and our appearance differently. Every person also is coming from a different starting point. What might be a good cosmetic dentistry option for one person, may not be the best option for another.
In this article, I’m not going to try to convince you to get veneers. You’re going to decide if veneers are worth it for yourself.
What we’ll do is look at what veneers can do for you, the process of getting veneers, who is a good candidate for veneers, and the common pitfalls of veneers. I’ll try to present these points in a concise manner. I’ll give you what you need to know and nothing more. No fluff, no-nonsense. You can get that elsewhere. So buckle up and get ready for a crash course on the most important points to help you decide…are veneers worth it.
Are Veneers Worth It: Do Your Research
If you are reading this article, you’re doing exactly what you should. Do your research first. And by research, I don’t mean to understand all the technical aspects of veneers. I mean, decide what your goals are for yourself. What are you trying to accomplish and why? Try to think of what you dislike about your smile, if anything.
Depending on your answer to this preliminary question will determine if dental veneers are worth it for you.
Look at examples of smiles you like and read information about options in dentistry to correct different issues. Mostly any smile you see on a celebrity can be yours with cosmetic dentistry. But a smile on a specific celebrity might not be what’s best for YOU.
I recommend evaluating the features of your smile that you like and dislike. It might be things like alignment, shape, color, size of the teeth, worn teeth, overbite, etc. The list is numerous, and trust me, everyone has a list of things they’d like to improve about themself. So don’t for one second feel embarrassed. This is about being honest with yourself. It’s about understanding your goals. After all, you’re trying to better yourself and there’s no shame in that for anyone.
What to Expect: The Process of Dental Veneers
Step 1, The Veneer Consultation
After much self-reflection, you can decide if you want to move forward.
The planning phase of veneers, or any cosmetic dentistry for that matter, is the most critical time.
It all begins with a consultation which includes an oral examination, photos, x-rays, and building rapport. The dentist listens to understand the patient’s aesthetic goals and motivations. The dentist will also share any suggestions he or she has. It might be veneers or there might be other alternatives to achieve your goals.
During the consultation, the dentist determines if the patient is a good candidate for dental veneers and aligns the patient’s expectations to an achievable result. Patients who are good candidates for veneers are adults with good oral health, no issues of TMJ disorder, and are not seeking veneers in a state of emotional distress. Patients with these issues may still be candidates, but any underlying issues should be addressed first.
From there, the dentist will create models or digital imaging to present a proposed result. The proposal will be based on ideals of smile aesthetics and any special requests of the patient. When the proposal is reviewed with the patient, it allows for further discussion.
Step 2, The Veneers are Started
After the consultation, a plan is created. The veneers are completed in two visits.
In the first visit, the teeth are reshaped and reduced. The goal is to create space for the veneers to be placed over the teeth. This prevents the teeth from looking bulky. The secondary purpose is to adjust or reinforce any weak areas of the teeth by building up the substructure, if needed. After the teeth are reshaped, impressions are taken of the teeth, and temporary veneers are placed. The veneers are then custom made in a dental lab and the patient returns in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Step 3, The Veneers are Finished
At the second visit, the temporary veneers are removed and the permanent ones are tried in. If the fit is acceptable and the cosmetics are approved, the veneers are cemented and become seamless with the teeth underneath.
Step 4, Follow-up
Sometimes adjustments are needed as the veneers settle in. Common adjustments to veneers are adjustments to the bite and minor cosmetic reshaping or leveling if needed.
Are Veneers Worth it: Is there anyone who shouldn’t get veneers?
The success of veneers comes down to expectations.
The patient and dentist should thoroughly discuss the goals of the treatment prior to starting veneers to make sure they are envisioning the same result. A patient should also understand the hygiene required for longterm success.
In addition, cosmetic procedures can be very emotional for a patient. There’s sometimes a psychological component to seeking veneers. Some patients may believe that having a beautiful smile will make them happier. Sometimes it does, but a patient should seek veneers for the right reasons–not in haste or because of suggestions of others. And although happiness is linked to smiling, internal happiness is a product of our identity, our choices, and current circumstances. Happiness is not created only by a cosmetic procedure.
Effective communication prior to veneer treatment and establishing proper goals is the remedy for most pitfalls.
Are Veneers Worth It: What can they really do for my smile?
Veneers can change the shape, color, size, and alignment of the teeth. Depending on the cosmetic goals, some or all the teeth may be veneered.
It’s important to understand that when only some teeth are veneered, it limits the changes that can be made. For example, when a veneer is next to a natural tooth, the color should be matched to the natural shade and the overall shape should harmonize with the unveneered teeth.
If a patient wants to make a dramatic change in color and shape of their teeth, then it is typically recommended to veneer all the teeth that show in the arch.
How Long Does an Appointment for Veneers Take & Are there any side effects?
The first veneer appointment is called veneer preparation. It takes about 2 to 4 hours, depending on how many veneers are completed.
The second veneer appointment is called the veneer delivery. The delivery typically takes about 2 hours.
The most common side effect to dental veneers is sensitivity to cold after having them placed. Sensitivity typically subsides in a few weeks.
Are Veneers Worth It: What about the investment to replace them?
Veneers on average last 10 to 20 years.
After a couple of decades, they may need to be replaced due to decay, cosmetic issues, or aging of the materials. Therefore, you should understand that there is some long term investment required to replace veneers after a period of time.
Are Veneers Worth It: Tell Me Any Little Known Secrets about Veneers
Little Known Secret #1: Veneers can affect the harmony of the entire face. Studies have shown that the symmetry of the smile and face have a major effect on the perception of attractiveness. The symmetry of the smile can draw attention away from less desirable features such as a facial scar or an asymmetrical nose. So you can interpret that study however you like, but the way I look at it is…people notice healthy smiles both in themselves and in others.
Little Known Secret #2: The temporary veneers are more than they seem— they serve as a dress rehearsal for the permanent veneers. The temporaries are a similar shape and size to the proposed permanent veneers. If the patient is having cosmetic or functional concerns with the temporaries, its an opportunity for working out those changes before finalizing the permanent veneers. The feedback from the temporary veneers prevents issues from replicating in the permanent veneers.
Okay, That’s All Great, but How Much do Veneers Cost?
The average cost of porcelain veneers is usually between $1400 and $2,000 per tooth. Some may be higher or lower. It primarily depends on the reputation of the dental practice and the cost of living of the geographic location. I’ll be brief for this article, but if you want to take a deep dive into the cost of veneers check out my other article.
Are Veneers Worth it: How do they change my teeth, does it damage them?
Once cemented veneers are considered a permanent treatment. The tooth has been reshaped to receive the veneer. Therefore, once someone has a veneer on a tooth, they will generally require a veneer or crown on that tooth. However, the veneers may be changed or modified without significantly changing to the underlying tooth further than the initial veneer.
What is Maintenance like for Veneers?
Hygiene with veneers is similar to natural teeth. The veneers are susceptible to decay and periodontal disease like that of natural teeth. It is recommended to brush at least twice per day with fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once per day, and see a dentist every 6 months for professional maintenance.
So Are Veneers Worth It? What’s the answer
The answer is it depends on YOU. Now that you know the possibilities of dental veneers, the process, and the pitfalls…you can decide for yourself! What I can tell you is that it depends on your goals and expectations. If you establish realistic goals and communicate them with your cosmetic dentist, he or she will guide you to the best treatment to meet those expectations. Often amazing results are achieved with veneers and often amazing results are achieved with other alternatives, so from a dental perspective… it all comes down to where your starting and where you want to get to.