Do you ever look at someone’s perfect smile — a movie star, maybe, or a model, or even just a friend — and think, “My smile could never look like that”? As disheartening as it may be to have a smile that can’t be transformed with a little whitening or straightening, it’s inaccurate to say that a smile with deeper flaws can never be perfect.
In fact, for those big transformations, there is one powerful tool that can resolve nearly any cosmetic defect: Porcelain veneers.
As the name suggests, a porcelain veneer is a thin facade for a tooth that is made from a high quality dental ceramic. Each veneer is a paper-thin covering that is applied on top of your natural tooth. Despite what the word “porcelain” may imply, the dental ceramic used for veneers is so advanced and durable, it has been used in bulletproof vests and tank armor — meaning that it’s incredibly strong! Veneers are durable and shouldn’t be damaged by any of the day-to-day wear that your teeth go through. If cared for properly, porcelain veneers can last a lifetime. Around 90-95% of veneers last for more than ten years, and 80-85% last for up to twenty years.
Veneers are extremely flexible and can resolve nearly any cosmetic problem with the teeth. A single veneer can correct the appearance of just one problem tooth, or a whole set can transform your entire smile. Porcelain veneers can effectively correct worn teeth, including chips and cracks, as well as gaps between teeth, misshapen or small teeth, crooked teeth, and discolouration.
If you think porcelain veneers are right for you, the first step is speaking with an experienced cosmetic dentist about it. They will be able to evaluate your oral health and make sure you’re in a good position to get veneers. If you have decay or gum disease, these things will need to be corrected before you can get veneers. Also, if you have bruxism (a condition in which you repeatedly grind or clench your teeth), veneers may not be the right answer for you, since bruxism can damage veneers.
Once you’ve decided to go forward with veneers, you will usually need two visits to have them applied. This means you could have a brand new smile in just a month!
The procedure is very simple: The dentist will remove some of your natural tooth material to make way for the veneers. Anesthesia will be used to ensure that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the process. After the teeth have been prepared, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth. You may receive a temporary veneer to wear while the veneers are being fabricated to fit your teeth. At your second appointment, your dentist will check the fit and appearance of the custom veneers, and then bond them to your teeth. That’s it — you have a smile that looks brand new!