Porcelain Veneers

Perhaps you’re considering getting veneers for your teeth. A veneer is a thin covering that is placed over the tooth. Our dentists apply veneers in a simple, comfortable procedure that takes just a few visits. Veneers are a popular treatment for several reasons. They can change the shape, color, length, or width of your teeth.  Often they are  placed on upper front teeth that are severely discolored, poorly shaped or slightly crooked. Veneers may be used to lighten front teeth that are naturally yellow or have a grey cast and cannot be whitened. Veneers are also used to correct teeth that are chipped, worn or to correct uneven spaces or a diastema (a large noticeable gap between the upper front teeth).


What are Dental Veneers?

There are two types of veneers: ceramic (sometimes called laminates) and resin-based composite veneers. Ceramic veneers are are extremely thin shells made of a strong and durable dental ceramic. The dentist removes a small amount of enamel from the front and sides of the tooth. This makes room for the veneer and prevents the restored tooth from feeling or looking bulky or unnatural.

Resin-based composite veneers generally are placed in one appointment. After the tooth is prepared or reshaped, the dentist carefully bonds and sculpts the composite material in a color that matches your other teeth. A special light is used to harden the composite. The veneer is smoothed and polished to look like a natural tooth.

dental veneers palos verdes


Dental Veneers at Rolling Hills Dental Group

Application of a veneer can be more complex compared to direct bonding. It is a three-step process: Consultation and planning, preparation of your mouth and impressions, and the application of the veneers. Normally, two or three visits will be required for the entire procedure, depending on whether a separate consultation visit is made or not.

  • Consultation and Planning – This takes place during your first meeting with one of our dentists. Dr. Jeff Goodman, Dr. Jerry Bottomley, Dr. Norton Donner or Dr. Kevin lin will explain your problem or esthetic desires, and conduct a thorough examination and then determine whether or not a veneer is the best fit for you and your situation. If there is a bite problem, that has to be addressed before proceeding. You will also be receive an explanation about various alternative cosmetic restorative options available to you if applicable.
  • Preparation and Taking Impressions
    • Preparation – This includes removing a layer of enamel equal to the thickness of the proposed veneer(s) (more for composites and less for porcelain) from the front surface of the tooth. In the case of crooked or crowded teeth, more material may be trimmed. If you have any partially broken teeth, they will need to be restored before proceeding.
    • Impressions – At this point, your dentist will have impressions prepared. The impressions, along with the material and color choice, are then sent to the lab for preparation. The lab prepares custom veneers according to the impressions and dentist’s instructions.  This may take up to three weeks, however a temporary, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing veneer is placed on the tooth during this appointment.  
  • Application – Your teeth are cleaned again, polished and chemically etched to roughen their surfaces. This will improve the bonding process. The veneers are then attached with a transparent cement. If they’re porcelain and are being applied to discolored teeth, an opaque cement is used to glue them on. The cement color can match that of the adjacent teeth. Following the successful application, your will adjust your bite as needed ensuring a comfortable fit.


What are Dental Veneers used for?

The purpose of veneers is primarily cosmetic. There are many situations in which they can be used to your advantage. The decision to choose them or not will be made in discussion with your dentist, after he has examined you and presented you with your options. Veneers may be useful in the following situations.

    • Discolored – This is a very common situation. Teeth can become discolored because of various reasons, including neglect of oral hygiene, gastric reflux, root canal treatment, large resin fillings, use of drugs like tetracycline and more. It may seem surprising, but excessive fluoride can also cause a discoloration to occur. Tobacco and alcohol may also have this effect.
    • Worn Down – Teeth may get gradually worn down over a period of time. The most common reasons for this is neglect of oral hygiene. However, other factors may contribute to this situation. Disease, like diabetes, deficiency of fluoride, and genetics may be responsible. With patients who regularly grind their teeth, veneers may not be suitable.
    • Chipped or Cracked – Chipped or cracked teeth can be easily repaired and restored.
  • Gaps – If you have gaps in-between  your teeth, veneers might be the right choice to make, regardless of how small or large the gap may be.
  • Irregularly Shaped or Aligned – No many adults have naturally  perfect teeth.  Some may have misaligned or crooked teeth, or with unequal width or height. Surfaces may have depressions or bulges on the front. In all of these situations, veneers can be used to correct the problem.


Benefits of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are an attractive option due to the following advantages:

  • Natural tooth appearance is restored.
  • Porcelain is well tolerated by the gum tissue.
  • Porcelain veneers are more resistant to stains and chipping than bonding.
  • Porcelain is available in various shades of white. Dark, discolored teeth can be made to look white again.
  • Veneers require much less reshaping than crowns, and provide a stronger cosmetic option.
  • No significant bone loss is required for the procedure.
  • Metal is not used at any stage of the process.
  • Veneers can last indefinitely, depending on how well they are taken care of.


Limitations of Dental Veneers

Veneers are an excellent and popular and safe cosmetic choice. But they does have some limitations:

  • Although very little natural tooth structure is removed, enamel removed for veneer application cannot be restored.
  • The cost is higher than other types of cosmetic dentistry – such as a simple resin bonding.
  • Not easily fixable, with limited repairability.
  • Tooth sensitivity may develop in the initial few weeks.
  • The color cannot be changed after it is delivered from the lab. It’s best to whiten your surrounding teeth prior to the color selection of the dental veneer.
  • In rare cases, they may dislodge or even fall off. It is suggested that patients, especially in the time immediately following the procedure, avoid hard foods to this.
  • In the event that decay sets in, they may need to be replaced with a full crown.


When are Veneers Not Suitable?

Veneers are not recommended to individuals with teeth weakened by decay, active gum disease, fracture, large fillings, or in case the enamel is not thick enough. Similarly, people who grind or clench their teeth are also liable to chip or crack any veneer they’ve received, and it is recommended they seek an alternate, more permanent option.


How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?

Well-made veneers can last indefinitely, with good oral hygiene- their longevity is completely dependent on how well you treat them.


After Care

Application is not a painful procedure, but may require some local anesthesia during the initial preparation. If you experience pain following this, simply take an over-the-counter pain killer. Your teeth may remain sensitive for a few weeks, and may even hurt slightly when eating or drinking hot or cold meals. Once they are fully applied, veneers require no special aftercare. However, they do demand good, consistent oral hygiene (including brushing, flossing and rigorous rinsing) to be properly maintained. Occasional use of a mouthwash helps as well. However, you do have to watch what you eat, or else you may crack or break a veneer. A broken veneer cannot be repaired.


Cost of Dental Veneers

Veneers are considerably less expensive  when compared with braces, however it’s important that you have one of our doctors provide you with a complete exam and determine which treatment is best for you.

If you happen to be near Palos Verdes in the South Bay, Rolling Hills Dental Group dentists will be happy to provide you with a consultation to discuss whether or not veneers would be right for you.

Have more questions? checkout Veneers FAQs.