Porcelain veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures. They can easily fix a number of cosmetic issues at once, while still looking real. You can achieve a gorgeous Hollywood smile that no one will suspect isn’t totally natural. Plus, porcelain veneers can last for decades with proper maintenance, making them a worthwhile investment.
If you’re interested in learning more about dental veneers, call Flatrock Family Dentistry today at 864-297-5268 to schedule your consultation at our Greenville, SC office. Accomplished dentists Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland answer your questions and help you determine whether you are a candidate for the procedure.
What Are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin shells made of dental enamel that are placed on the front of the teeth. They are strong and lifelike, and can be customized to match your natural teeth. Patients often have their teeth whitened before having porcelain veneers placed, so that they can achieve a uniform, bright smile.
In order for porcelain veneers to fit comfortably in your mouth, your natural teeth will need to be shaved down a bit. This process doesn’t hurt, but it is irreversible. If one or more of your dental veneers are broken or fall off, they will need to be replaced.
What are the Benefits of Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers can correct many different types of cosmetic issues with the teeth, including:
- Chips and cracks
In fact, veneers are sometimes called “instant orthodontics” because they can cover up mild to moderate cases of crookedness or gapping. However, if you have a more severe case of misalignment, you may want to consider Invisalign.
Who are the Ideal Candidates for Porcelain Veneers?
You may be a good candidate for porcelain veneers if you:
- Have minor to moderate cosmetic issues on any of the front 8 teeth
- Practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly
- Understand that dental veneers are not reversible
- Do not grind or clench your teeth
If you have severe, structural issues with your teeth, porcelain veneers may not be the most appropriate treatment for you. Dental veneers are a cosmetic treatment, and are not meant to correct cases of deep dental decay or severe misalignment.
In addition, porcelain veneers aren’t meant for the back teeth. If one of your back teeth needs work, a dental crown may be better. Dental crowns are stronger than porcelain veneers and can withstand the force necessary for chewing.
If you grind your teeth, you may not be a good candidate because teeth grinding can cause dental veneers to loosen or break. However, we may be able to fit you with a night guard to protect your teeth. We’ll discuss your options during your consultation.
How are porcelain veneers made?
Porcelain is used in veneers because of its attributes: high strength, hardness, glassiness, high durability, translucence, and high resistance to staining. Porcelain veneers are created in a dental lab based off of color matching and dental impressions made with Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland.
Veneers are made in layers. The porcelain powder corresponding to the basic tooth color is mixed with water, and is then fired in an oven, not unlike porcelain dishes. Then a laminate is made by uniting layers of porcelain together in a process known as lamination.
Other practices may offer veneers made from composite resin, but we only use porcelain veneers at Flatrock Family Dentistry. We feel the strength of dental porcelain, coupled with the way dental porcelain mimics the slight translucence of natural tooth enamel, make it the perfect choice for our veneers.
How long do porcelain veneers last?
Your porcelain veneers can last from seven to 20 years. The lifespan can be dictated by changes with the underlying teeth or surrounding gum tissue. Usually if a veneer happens to detach it can usually be re-bonded to the tooth.
You need to remember that having porcelain veneers is a lifetime arrangement, due to the need to remove the slight amount of enamel from your teeth to make room for the veneers. Because of this, once your veneers have reached their lifespan, you’ll need to have new veneers applied.
Do veneers correct the underlying problems?
Porcelain veneers are only applied atop healthy teeth. They are not a remedy for issues such as decay. Any more serious issues such as decay or problems with the gums need to be taken care of before veneers are applied. Veneers simply overlay the problem, although in the most beautiful way!
How are porcelain veneers applied?
The process of getting porcelain veneers with Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland takes two appointments. During the first appointment your teeth are prepared for the veneers. To begin, we thoroughly clean your teeth. If the tooth enamel is stained, we may recommend whitening first to get the teeth back to their original color.
Next, your Flatrock dentist uses a shade guide to determine the veneer color that is the best match to your natural tooth color. Then the teeth are prepared for veneers. This involves shaving a tiny fraction (from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm) of tooth enamel off the front of the teeth receiving veneers.
This makes room for the veneers on the fronts of the teeth. Once we’ve shaved the enamel off, we take impressions of your teeth and send them off to the dental lab for the fabrication of your veneers. This process takes from one to two weeks — in the interim we apply temporary veneers to your teeth to cover the areas we’ve shaved down.
When your custom-made porcelain veneers arrive at our Woodruff Road offices you return for a second appointment. We first check your veneers for color match and fit. If necessary, we shave tiny bits off the veneers to make the perfect fit. Once both you and Dr. Rouse or Dr. Crosland are satisfied, the veneers are permanently cemented onto your teeth, and you’re finished.
See What Our Patients Are Saying…
“I’ve been coming to Flatrock for many years now and am very happy with both my hygienist Marina and with Dr. Rouse. A few years ago, following orthodontic work, I made the decision to touch up the appearance of my teeth with dental veneers, due to enamel erosion and wear from grinding my teeth at night for many years. The entire procedure for several teeth was completed in one day, with no discomfort at all. The fit and appearance is now top notch, and I’m very pleased I had the work done. Dr. Rouse takes great care in making sure veneers and crowns fit exactly right, and I’m very happy he’s a perfectionist when it comes to my teeth!” – Rick C.
Is it painful having porcelain veneers placed?
The process of shaving off the enamel is the only part of the entire procedure that can be mildly sensitive, but most people don’t need anesthesia. Still, if you choose, a local anesthetic is available. The cementing process is absolutely painless.
After placement, you will have some increased sensitivity to hot and cold due to the removal of the small portion of your enamel. This passes within a few days after your veneers are placed.
Is there any recovery time involved in having porcelain veneers placed on my teeth?
No. After your first appointment, where we shave down the enamel on the front surfaces of the teeth to receive veneers, your teeth can be somewhat more sensitive to hot and cold.
This will pass once the finished veneers are placed and your teeth adjust. Otherwise, there isn’t any recovery or downtime.
How many porcelain veneers will I need to be fitted with?
The number of veneers we place will depend on your goals. If you want to address just a tooth or a couple of teeth — maybe they were stained by tetracycline given to use as a child, for instance — then we would only place veneers on those teeth to cover their intrinsic staining.
Other patients want to give their entire visible smile a dramatic update; they want veneers on all their visible front teeth. This is usually eight veneers. If you opt to place a full set of veneers this will remake your entire smile.
How to Maintain Porcelain Veneers
If you maintain your veneers well, they should last for a very long time without any problems. The main causes of problems with veneers are:
- Tooth decay
- Using your teeth as tools
- Chewing on hard items such as ice or pencils
- Trauma to the face
Tooth decay is by far the most common reason porcelain veneers fall off. When cavities form underneath your veneers, they cause the bond keeping your veneers on to loosen and eventually fail. This is why it’s so important to maintain good dental hygiene habits at home and visit us regularly for checkups and deep cleaning.
You can help to maintain your veneers by:
- Brushing and flossing every day
- Visiting the dentist every 4 to 6 months for a cleaning
- Avoiding hard and sticky foods
- Avoiding sugary drinks and foods as much as possible
- Not using your teeth to open packaging
If one of your veneers does fall off or break, we will replace it for you.
Schedule Your Porcelain Veneers Consultation
If you’re interested in improving your smile through dental veneers, call Flatrock Family Dentistry today at 864-297-5268 to schedule your consultation. We serve patients in Greenville, Mauldin, Greer, Simpsonville, Taylors, and other nearby areas of South Carolina.