Porcelain Veneers: An In-Depth Look at a Cosmetic Superstar

The very meaning of the word “veneer” seems to suggest something superficial and lacking in substance. In practice, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Porcelain dental veneers look beautiful, can disguise a wide range of esthetic flaws, and have the strength and durability to withstand constant use. Today, we’re taking an in-depth tour of this handy little cosmetic restoration to help you decide whether veneers might be the right treatment option for you.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

Veneers are thin shells of durable dental porcelain, usually a millimeter or less in thickness which your dentist affixes to the front of your teeth. Veneers are incredibly strong, have the translucency of natural tooth enamel, and can cover up a number of cosmetic imperfections, including:

  • Severe, intrinsic stains that cannot be removed via teeth whitening.
  • Oddly shaped teeth, small teeth, or teeth of uneven length.
  • Gaps between teeth.
  • Chipped teeth or teeth with small breaks.
  • Crooked teeth (in fact, veneers can even be used instead of orthodontics in certain cases).

Your dentist will take the appearance, size, and shape of your natural teeth, the appearance of your lips and surrounding facial structure, and other elements into account when designing your veneers.

Two Appointments, One Great Smile

Placing porcelain veneers requires at least two separate visits to your dentist’s office. During the first appointment, your dentist will prepare the tooth enamel, which allows the veneer to rest naturally along your gum line and avoid a horsey look. Next, he will take impressions of your teeth to serve as models for the skilled lab technicians who handcraft our veneers. Finally, he may place a temporary set of veneers to protect the prepared teeth and avoid any issues with sensitivity. At the second visit, your dentist will make sure your veneers fit properly and bond them permanently into place. If there are any issues with size, fit, or shading, you may need to come back for another appointment so that the lab make adjustments to your veneer.

Tips to Keep Your Veneers Sparkling

Despite the resilience of dental porcelain, it can still chip, break off, and stain if you don’t take good care of them:

  • Brush with a non-abrasive tooth paste (your dentist can recommend a good brand for your needs) and floss daily to keep the teeth supporting the veneers healthy.
  • Make sure to avoid chewing your fingernails, crunching on ice, or opening packages with your teeth.
  • If you play contact sports or enjoy rigorous outdoor activities, wear a mouthguard to protect your veneers.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS provides cosmetic dental services, including porcelain veneers, from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.