What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin wafers of porcelain, about half a millimeter
thick (the thickness of a fingernail) that are bonded onto the front of
teeth to create a smile makeover. They
create a beautiful result. Porcelain mimics tooth structure better than
any other restorative material. It is harder than enamel, so it resists
wear and can last for many years. Dental artists can manipulate the color
and translucency to re-create the look of any tooth. And it resists stain
better than tooth enamel. Very rarely will it discolor, unless the surface
has been damaged.
Some advertising creates the false impression that placing porcelain
veneers requires that your teeth be "ground down". It would be more
accurate to say that your teeth are shaved a little. The amount of
reduction is minimal and doesn't damage the teeth. The picture on the
right shows how thin they are and how a prepared tooth looks very much
like an unprepared tooth.
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What can be accomplished with Porcelain Veneers
Many problems with your teeth can
be solved with porcelain veneers. As shown on the left, they are great for
restoring worn or chipped teeth.
They can be used to cover stained teeth. If
you have tetracycline teeth stains,
this is the only way to get a beautiful smile. And while whitening works for
many other types of stains, with porcelain veneers your dentist/artist has
the ability to control the exact shade and to also alter the shapes of the
They can also be used to close spaces between the teeth, or to lengthen
And they can also be an alternative to braces. Some people call
them "instant orthodontics" because with porcelain veneers you can have your
teeth straightened in two appointments rather than waiting one to three
years for regular orthodontic treatment.
How Porcelain Veneers Are Made
Click here to read about the porcelain veneers procedure.
A beautiful smile makeover
with porcelain veneers
created by Dr. David Hall,
author of this website
Porcelain Veneers should be placed by an
expert cosmetic dentist
General dentists, as a rule, are not very artistic.
What attracts them to dentistry is that they like to fix things, so they are engineers
at heart rather than artists. However, placing porcelain veneers is an art—in
fact, it is a very demanding art form. My
estimate is that 98 to 99 percent of dentists don't have the
artistic passion required to create a beautiful smile. And they
don't have the passion required to motivate them to pursue the extensive continuing
education required past dental school to master the techniques
involved. Click here to find a cosmetic
dentist with the artistic passion and training to be able to
create a new smile.
Let me illustrate this lack of artistic
sensitivity in the dental profession with an incident that I viewed
on a popular online dental forum. A dentist posed a situation: A
beautiful woman who was his patient had a large space between her
front teeth. It was large enough, he said, that he could fit an
extra tooth in the space, so he asked about the feasibility of
placing a dental implant there. There followed a discussion of whether there
would be enough bone to support this, how long it would last, and
whether orthodontics would work better. I came into the discussion
late and was the only dentist participating in the forum to have a
serious problem with how this would look. This is typical with
dentists—they are generally great, sincere people but have little
Can you imagine going to
a technician dentist to get a new smile with porcelain veneers when
that dentist thinks that having three front teeth instead of two
looks okay? But that is what happens, and my e-mail files are full
of complaints from disappointed patients who, after getting a smile
makeover from their family dentist, are wondering why it doesn't
look beautiful and sparkly like they expected.
Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question about this
or any other cosmetic dentistry topic.
For information about what they cost, click the link in the right sidebar of this page.
Other porcelain veneers information:
- Lumineers are extra tough
porcelain veneers that can be made very thin and bonded to the front of the
teeth without having to grind on the teeth beforehand. They are
made by Den-Mat. They are popular with non-expert cosmetic dentists, because
the technical aspects of placing them are easy. We warn you to be cautious in
responding to ads about Lumineers. Doing them right requires even more artistic
ability than conventional veneers, so it's important to go to an expert cosmetic dentist.
- See photographs of extreme
makeover cosmetic dentistry. You will marvel at what can be
done by talented cosmetic dentists.
- Learn about one-appointment Cerec
porcelain veneers. Dr. George Mantell, in Tucson, has patients
fly into Tucson and get a new smile in a single four-hour
- One patient asks, "I'm getting
stains on the edges of my porcelain veneers. How can I get rid
- Our cosmetic dentistry costs page has fee survey information
cosmetic dentistry costs.
- Some general dentists say
porcelain veneers don't last. Do they?
- Read some of the cosmetic dentistry horror stories we've received through e-mails from our visitors.,
where he answers questions from visitors.