Porcelain veneers are often an excellent way for a dental patient to dramatically improve the appearance of his or her smile. This dental technology involves covering a portion of a tooth (typically the front) with an extremely thin layer of dental porcelain material. The porcelain not only improves the appearance of the tooth; it also protects the existing natural tooth from further damage. The dental porcelain used is extremely strong and durable, often lasting for several years, so it’s no wonder that patients from throughout the Austin, TX, area are choosing to have this dental procedure.
But first, let’s find out a bit more about porcelain veneers and why they are such a popular choice for many dental patients.
What Conditions Are Resolved with Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are often a great way to resolve minor dental issues, including some or all of the following:
- Eroded enamel
- Badly stained teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Worn-down teeth
- Teeth with wide gaps in between
While it’s true that veneers can resolve all of these problems, it’s also important to remember that the patient needs to be in good oral health before veneers can be applied. So issues such as tooth decay or gum disease, for example, will need to be remedied before the veneer procedure can be done.
Types of Veneers
Although porcelain veneers are typically the most common type of veneer available at most dental offices, patients have a choice of veneers made from other materials as well. Composite resin, for example, is a less costly (although not quite as durable) alternative to porcelain. And some non-permanent “snap-on” veneers are made of plastic.
The Porcelain Veneer Procedure
The first step in getting one or more veneers usually involves an initial consultation appointment with your dentist. It is during this consultation that you’ll be able to ask any questions you may have about your veneers, decide which teeth you’ll have the veneers applied to, and learn about the different steps in the process. Your dentist will most likely take an X-ray during this visit, as well as carefully assess your current oral health to determine if you need any other procedures prior to the application of the veneers.
Following the consultation, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for the first step in the veneer procedure. During this visit, your dentist will remove an extremely thin layer of enamel (typically a half millimeter or so) from the surface of each tooth that will receive a veneer. This will allow the veneer to adhere completely to the tooth surface. After that, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth, which will be sent out to the dental lab where your veneers will be made.
A note about the initial step in the veneer process: It’s important to remember that this is an irreversible procedure – in other words, once that portion of the tooth surface is removed, it’s doesn’t grow back, and you’ll be making the commitment to always have a veneer covering that portion of the tooth. Fortunately, porcelain veneers typically last between 10 and 15 years before they need to be replaced. And because the veneers offer so many benefits – including repairing the imperfections of the affected tooth, strengthening and protecting the natural tooth, and significantly improving its appearance – the vast majority of patients are more than willing to make the long-term commitment to veneers.
After the lab has created the veneers (usually between 10 and 14 days after your first appointment), you’ll return to the dentist’s office for application of the veneers. This involves the dentist using an adhesive and an ultraviolet light to harden the cement.
The Cost of Porcelain Veneers
As we mentioned earlier, the exact cost of your new porcelain veneers will vary depending on your dental provider. That cost includes every step of the procedure as described above, but it does not include any procedures that may have to be completed prior to the veneer application. If you have other oral health issues that need to be treated – such as fillings, crowns, or gum disease treatment – those costs would be in addition to the veneer cost.
Costs can also vary depending upon the expertise of your dentist. It may be tempting to choose a dentist that is offering veneers at a much-reduced cos, but that’s not always the best choice. Poorly applied veneers can cause a variety of problems, so it’s always best to choose a dentist whose prices fall in line with what most other reputable practices charge for this service. And, of course, you’ll want a dentist with several years of experience in applying porcelain veneers.
While it’s possible that dental insurance may cover a portion of the cost of dental veneers, many policies will not since veneers are often considered to be cosmetic dentistry. There are some other less expensive alternatives. Veneers made of composite resin, for example, are usually a more economical option for dental patients, although this type of veneer is not as strong or as long-lasting as porcelain veneers. The same can be said for “no-prep veneers” (veneers that can be applied to the tooth with minimal removal of the tooth surface beforehand). So in the long run, traditional porcelain veneers are often the more cost-effective for most dental patients.
To find out more information about the cost of porcelain veneers, and to find out if you are a good candidate for this procedure, schedule an appointment with your Austin, TX, dentist today. Many dentists are willing to accommodate the budget constraints of their patients and are more than willing to work out a payment plan – one that will allow you to afford the procedure and still enjoy all the benefits of porcelain veneers.