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porcelain veneers before after

Most people want to have a bright, white smile. There’s a popular belief that people with great smiles as better people, not just more attractive. In fact, some research suggests there’s some truth to this. In contrast, other studies don’t find attractiveness ratings related to tooth color. It’s a tough thing to measure accurately. In any case, the desire for white teeth is behind the popular interest in the various methods of whitening teeth.  When whitening doesn’t work, porcelain veneers are an upgraded option.

The research is much more clear about the effects of crooked teeth. In one study, 78 percent of Americans perceive adults with crooked teeth to be unsuccessful Anway, it almost doesn’t matter what the attractiveness research finds. Individuals have their own feelings and beliefs, and these shape their responses to their teeth yellowing or darkening over time. There may even be a self-fulfilling-prophesy effect. If people believe their discolored teeth make a negative impression on others, they may behave like people who do. The people around them may respond in kind. That’s just how people are.


The thing about the whitening treatments, whether DIY or professional, is their effects are temporary. After all, if foods and beverages were staining teeth before whitening, they’ll stain again afterward. In addition, our tooth enamel gets worn with as we age. Thinner enamel reflects less light, losing brightness. It also makes the dentin underneath it more visible. Dentin tends to darken with age. Over time, teeth tend toward the darker and yellower.  Although whitening procedures have some effect in most patients, for some the “perfect” bright white can’t be achieved that way.



Dental veneers are a solution for some of these people. The concept is straightforward. If you we can’t change the color and brightness of your teeth to your liking, we cover them up. Cover them up, by replacing some natural tooth material with an artificial substance. A material with exactly the color and shine you want.  This is a type of prosthodontic treatment. The veneer itself is a super-thin wafer customized for the patient. It’s bonded to the front surface of a tooth. Voila! Perfect color and gleam. In fact, a veneer can also subtly change the shape of a tooth. This can help with uniformity and symmetry. Veneers are the way to a Hollywood smile.


Porcelain is the material of choice for fabricating dental veneers. Dentists use composite resins to treat some of the same conditions as porcelain veneers. This composite treatment is actually a type of bonding. While it’s only about half the cost of porcelain veneers, it only lasts half as long, , 5 – 7 years compared to 10-15 for far sturdier porcelain.  Porcelain is the choice where aesthetics are the top priority, and cost secondary. In addition, most dentists agree that porcelain provides the more natural look. Finally, porcelain veneers can address some types of issues that compostites cannot.

In the past, composite bonding had the advantage of shorter treatment times. That is, dentists could prepare teeth and apply composite bonding in one visit.  In contrast, porcelain veneers had to be fabricated in dental labs from putty or paste impressions the dentist made. Recently, however, advances in Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Manufacturing(CAM) indicate that soon, this will change. Thereafter, Dentists will be custom-sculpting porcelain veneers in the office, on the spot.

Composite bonding does retain the advantage of reversibility. As will be seen, dentists make permanent changes to teeth before covering them with porcelain veneers. This means the patient will always have to have veneers.

Lastly, a note on porcelain vs. composite: porcelain is much more stain-resistant. Composite resin is porous. It soaks up colors in food and drinks. Hence, keeping composite resin its original color and brightness may require some diet changes.


A porcelain veneer treatment generally completed in two appointments. The second appointment is after the veneers arrive from the dental lab.

The first step is preparing the front surface of the tooth. For porcelain veneers, about 1 millimeter of enamel is removed. This way, the tooth goes back to its original thickness when the veneer is bonded to it. This is a permanent, significant change to the structure of the tooth.  In contrast, dentists remove only a minimal amount of enamel for composite veneers. In either case, the dentist may have to adjust the trimming to work around a filling or decay.  It’s usually not a painful procedure. As a result, many patients don’t want or need anesthetic.

Having trimmed the enamel, the dentist then uses a shade guide to pick the best color and translucency for the porcelain.


The dentist next makes impressions of the tooth and its next-door neighbors. This is sent to the dental lab. The lab technicians use the impressions to custom-make veneers for the patient. Labs generally have the veneers back to the dentist in a week or so. The dentist may place a temporary veneer on to protect the tooth during that waiting period. It depends in part on how much enamel he or she trimmed away. In addition, a temporary veneer can conceal any appearance issues resulting from trimming.


When the new veneers arrive from the lab,  it’s time for the second and usually final stage of the treatment. The veneers are cemented in place. 

This procedure is similar to cementing a crown, but with an extra complication. Veneers are translucent, not opaque. That is, they are all see-through to one degree or another. Thus, the color of the cement affects the final appearance.  This is where the skill and experience of Anderson Dental Lake Worth professionals really shines.

The dentist uses a method called “trial pasting” to adjust the color of the cement to perfection. Trial paste is basically cement without the “sticking” ingredient that makes it set permanently. This way, the dentist can stick the veneer in place, check the color, remove it, adjust the cement shade, and repeat. Concurrently checking the veneer’s fit along the way, the perfect cement shade is achieved.


At this point, the veneer and cement are ready to go. The dentist then conditions the tooth’s surface with an etching gel. In fact, this creates a rougher texture and more “grip” for the bonding agent, which he or she then applies to the tooth. Then, after costing the inside surface of the veneer with the color-adjusted cement, the dentist puts it in place on the tooth. Afterward, there’s a clean-up of any stray materials. Then, a curing lamp sets the cement. The treatment is then complete.


As has been noted, porcelain veneers have lifetimes averaging 10-15 years. They chip, crack, and wear away.  Over time, they can discolor. Recall that the tooth’s enamel is trimmed away to accommodate a veneer. Hence, they have to be replaced when their useful service lives are over.  The replacement procedure involves removing the veneer and as much of the old bonding material as possible. Then, the dentist basically repeats the original process. He or she makes new impressions and subsequently repeats the cementing process when the lab returns the new veneers.

porcelain veneers before after


After all, patients and dentists alike want porcelain veneers to last as long as possible. In sum, a good general approach to getting the longest service is to treat veneers like natural teeth. Above all, this means consistent and proper oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups. As with natural teeth, it’s wise to subject veneers to chewing hard objects. Additionally, as with natural front teeth, it’s smart to wear a mouth guard in sports or wherever a blow to that area is likely.