The porcelain veneers procedure can give you a brand-new smile in as little as a week or two, but the process can seem a little daunting if you don't know what to expect. Generally, patients who come to our Beverly Hills office have their dental veneers placed in as little as two appointments, although the exact timeline varies depending on your oral health and any other cosmetic dentistry treatments that your dentist recommends prior to getting veneers.

Step 1: Initial Evaluation

The first step if you're interested in porcelain veneers is to go for an evaluation with a cosmetic dentist who specializes in this cosmetic dentistry treatment. 

At this appointment, the dentist will:

  • Evaluate your oral health

  • Take photographs of your teeth

  • Take or view dental X-ray or 3-D cone-beam CT images of your mouth to get a good idea of your natural tooth structure

  • Explain the different types of veneers that he or she places, including composite veneers, no-prep veneers, and traditional porcelain veneers 

  • Explain alternative treatments for your dental concerns—especially if you're a young adult or only have a mild issue—such as laser teeth whitening for light stains, cosmetic dental bonding for small chips, a dental crown for structurally compromised teeth, or Invisalign for slightly crooked teeth

  • Suggest dental treatments that you might need before getting porcelain veneers, such as fillings, tooth whitening, or treatments for gum disease

  • Explain the cost of the entire dental veneer treatment process and discuss payment options such as payment plans and Care Credit loans

Important note: 3-D cone-beam CT imaging involves a slightly higher level of radiation than regular dental X-rays but provides the dentist with a three-dimensional image of your mouth—including the tissue and nerves—and of your craniofacial structure. This detailed image allows the dentist to create computerized mock-ups to show you what your new veneers will look like and place them with a very high degree of accuracy.

Step 2: Tooth Preparation

If the cosmetic dentist determines that you're a good candidate for dental veneers and you decide to go ahead with the procedure, you will typically schedule a second appointment for enamel removal and dental impressions.

At this appointment, your dentist will:

  • Trim a thin sliver of enamel off the front surface of the natural teeth that are to be fitted with dental veneers. A local anesthetic can be used so that you don't feel any discomfort.

  • Take a putty impression of your shaved-down teeth to be sent to the dental laboratory

  • Work with you to select the best color for your new veneers from the VITA Classical Shade Guide

  • Place one or more temporary veneers so that you can try them out for fit and see how the color looks before you receive your permanent veneers

Step 3: Porcelain Veneer Placement

After a week or two, your custom porcelain veneers should be ready to go and you will return to the dental office to have them placed. 

At this appointment, the dentist will:

  • Apply a local anesthetic, if desired

  • Apply an acidic gel to the tooth surface to roughen it slightly

  • Cement your custom veneers to the front surface of the teeth

  • Apply a special light to each tooth to harden the cement quickly

Once the cement has hardened, your new porcelain veneers will be ready to use. You can eat, drink, and speak normally and start flashing your beautiful new smile around.

What to Expect After the Dental Veneer Procedure

One question people often have before getting veneers is: "Do veneers hurt?" In reality, veneers cover the surface of the tooth, so the procedure won't hurt as much as a tooth extraction or a deep filling. However, you will probably feel some tooth sensitivity and discomfort for a few days after the procedure.

For the first couple of weeks or so, your veneers may also feel bulky even though other people won't even be able to tell that you have veneers. This is something you needn’t worry about because the sensation will eventually pass. In time, you may even forget the veneers are there! 

Caring For Your Custom Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers don't require any special care above and beyond your normal oral care routine. You can brush, floss, and rinse out your mouth with mouthwash normally. You can even practice oil pulling with veneers if you like! The main thing when brushing with veneers is to avoid abrasive toothpaste ingredients that could scratch the surface of the veneers. 

Aside from toothpaste selection, a few other things to keep in mind to prevent damage to your veneers are that:

  • You shouldn't use veneers to open packets.

  • You should avoid chewing on very hard foods like ice cubes.

  • You should get a custom nightguard made if you grind your teeth.

  • You should wear a mouth guard if you play contact sports.

After the initial placement, go for regular six-monthly cleanings and checkups with your dentist to remove any plaque buildup and to check that your veneers are still in good shape. With the proper care, well-made porcelain veneers can last for 10, 15, or even 20 years before they will need to be replaced.

Enjoy A Beautiful, Custom-Made Smile with Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a significant investment and it requires commitment on the patient’s part to see the process through. However, once the procedure is finished and any sensitivity has settled down, you'll quickly get used to seeing your veneers in the mirror and brushing your veneer-covered teeth.

When choosing a dentist to create and place your dental veneers, be sure to look for a professional who is registered with the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and who has extensive experience placing beautiful veneers. Doing your due diligence at the start will ensure that you end up with a smile you love!

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