Porcelain veneers are porcelain moldings made from a patient's teeth. They are thin shells of porcelain that are applied to the front side of teeth, the side that is shown when a person smiles. Teeth that are chipped, discolored, or crooked are often fitted with porcelain veneers. These porcelain coverings greatly improve the appearance of unsightly teeth.
Porcelain is a brittle substance, but when it is attached to a strong structure such as a tooth, it becomes more durable. Veneers are ideal for problem teeth because they look like real teeth. They are also stain resistant, combating the damaging effects of tea, coffee, tobacco, and red wine.
People who need porcelain veneers may need them for a variety of reasons. For example, older people may have teeth that have worn down throughout the years. The teeth may have chips, cracks, or a misshapen appearance. People of all ages may have uneven teeth because they grind them. Others may have spaces between the teeth because of their genetic background, with the gaps growing wider as the years pass.
Finally, those who drink a great deal of soft drinks, tea, or coffee might have teeth with deteriorated enamel. Smokers or those who frequently take medication may also have teeth with worn-down enamel. These are all situations where porcelain veneers can be used to improve the teeth's appearance.
The porcelain veneers procedure usually takes about three office visits. During the first visit, the dentist decides on the size, shape, and style of veneers that will best complement a patient's facial structure and smile. Next, he files down the tooth to a tapered shape in order to fit the porcelain veneer to the tooth. He places a temporary veneer on the tooth as a dental lab creates the permanent porcelain veneer.
Once the permanent veneers are ready, the patient returns to the dentist's office to receive them. The cost to receive them depends on the number of teeth treated. They usually cost between $700 US Dollars (USD) and $2000 (USD) per tooth. Remember that porcelain veneers last for many years, so it is a wise investment to make. Other dental treatments may cost less but will not last as long as a porcelain veneer.
Since porcelain veneers are made from thin porcelain, they can shatter or break. For this reason, the dentist will caution the patient against eating certain foods such as carrots. He may also tell the patient to wear a protective device when she sleeps.