Dental veneers have come a long way. Previously the procedure required extensive preparation of a patient's natural teeth, but now only the outermost layer of enamel is removed before personalized wafer-thin porcelain veneers are bonded to the teeth, allowing for a stunning but natural-looking smile makeover. Porcelain veneers give the ultimate level of smile personalization. Patients can choose everything from the color to the shape to the spacing of their new teeth. We spoke to three people who have gotten veneers to discover what the process is really like and find out just how transformative the results can be.
Julie, Madison, IN
Julie chipped her front teeth in a horseback riding accident and was looking for a way to get her perfect smile back. She was also unhappy with the color of her natural teeth for some time, so she opted for veneers as a way to resolve both of these problems in one go. “I’d had issues with my teeth for some time," she says. "I had braces as a teen but hadn’t worn my retainers as I should have, so they shifted and became gappy again. They were also starting to discolor, so I was considering doing Invisalign and a teeth whitening treatment. Then I had the accident. I was fortunate because the structure of my front teeth wasn’t affected by the fall – it was purely cosmetic. I discussed options with my dentist and she suggested veneers would be a good way to resolve all my issues in one go.”
The AEDITION: What was the procedure itself like?
Julie: “The process of having the veneers made and fitted was spread over two appointments in my case. This seems to be pretty standard. During my first appointment, we discussed my options for resolving the issues I had with my smile and once I’d decided on which option I wanted to go with, we started straight away. My teeth were prepared by my dentist (I believe she took off a layer of enamel) and she took impressions much like when you have braces fitted. I was fitted with temporary veneers and we discussed the color I wanted for the permanent set. My follow up appointment was almost three weeks later and that's when the temporary veneers were removed and my permanent set was fixed. I was able to leave the dentist’s office after the second appointment with a completely new and stunning smile!”
The AEDITION: Was there any pain or discomfort?
Julie: “I opted not to have anesthesia because I have a pretty reasonable pain tolerance. I felt some discomfort when the dentist was taking the enamel off around my gum line and again in the same area when I was having the permanent set fitted, but it was bearable. After I left the dentist’s office, they were somewhat uncomfortable, not in a painful way, but more getting used to my teeth and jaw sitting in a new position. No part of the procedure was unpleasant.”
The AEDITION: How satisfied are you with the result of the procedure?
Julie: “It was the best way for me to achieve the results I wanted quickly and without any painful procedures. My new smile has made me so much more confident. The veneers look natural and like my own teeth used to, only better. I really love them and can’t recommend veneers highly enough.”
The AEDITION: Do you have any advice for people considering getting porcelain veneers?
Julie: “Do your research about the procedure and about cosmetic dentists if you’re considering a practitioner that you haven’t used in the past. Have a clear idea of the result you want but be open to what the experts suggest. Follow aftercare advice carefully to keep the results looking as good as possible.”
Kelly, New Rochelle, NY
Kelly smoked when she was younger and decided to get veneers to fix discoloration on her natural teeth. She was also bothered by her slightly crooked teeth since she hadn’t had braces when she was younger. “I had a few issues with my real teeth that had bothered me for some time, but I hadn’t ever prioritized my smile," she says. "I had a few other procedures done to reduce signs of aging but felt my teeth were letting me down. I sought to resolve that as quickly and as painlessly as possible.”
The AEDITION: How did you decide on your dentist for the procedure?
Kelly: “Until I decided to have a cosmetic dentistry procedure, my dentist was a standard dentistry office. They did some cosmetic stuff but not enough for me to consider them experts. I asked my friends for recommendations and then researched online. I found before and after photos really helpful in informing my decision. Then I had preliminary appointments with two practitioners and I ended up going with the second because I felt most confident and comfortable with him.”
The AEDITION: How did you manage your anxiety during the procedure?
Kelly: “I used to be anxious when going to the dentist, to the point that I had to take medication with me to calm me down. I partly dealt with the anxiety by picking a dentist that I felt completely confident in and who practiced in an office that was comfortable. I told my dentist during the first appointment that I was a nervous patient, so he scheduled longer appointments for me to have plenty of breaks if I needed them. The whole staff was really kind and made sure I was as comfortable as possible throughout all three appointments.”
The AEDITION: How much time away from work did you have to schedule for the procedure?
Kelly: “I only had to take three afternoons out of the office, one for each of my appointments. I scheduled them all for Fridays in case I had any pain after each of the stages. I’m glad I did because after the second and third appointments there was some discomfort, but nothing too bad. Getting time off can be difficult for me, which is partly why I chose to get veneers – the downtime was minimal."
The AEDITION: How have you found the results of the procedure?
Kelly: “The results have been amazing. They felt unfamiliar for the first few days, but I got used to them quickly and the visual difference is amazing. The change in my new smile combined with my other procedures has made me so much more confident in professional and social situations. It's wonderful. I highly recommend other people invest in themselves.”
Laurie, Eugene, OR
Laurie got her first set of veneers 20 years ago and is now on her second set. Porcelain veneers generally last around 15 years until they may need to be replaced. “I was told when I got my first set of veneers to expect to get around 15 years of wear out of them, but they looked fine until they reached 20 years old," she says. "The color had changed a little and I had a couple of small chips, so I got a full set again.”
The AEDITION: How did you like your first set of veneers?
Laurie: “I was so excited to get my veneers. I’d hidden my smile for years and was so happy to finally be able to show off nice teeth in photos. From what I understand, the procedure has changed, but back then they prepared my real teeth by removing parts of them to form a small area to attach the veneer. That part was uncomfortable and I did have anesthesia, but the result was worth it.”
The AEDITION: Was getting the new set different than the first time?
Laurie: “They removed my old set very carefully and gave what is left of my own teeth a clean to give the new set of veneers a good surface to stick onto. Then the procedure was pretty much identical to the first time. It wasn’t painful at all and I didn’t have any of the strange post-fitting feelings because I’d already gotten used to the old set.”
The AEDITION: Did you opt for a different finish the second time around?
Laurie: “I did. My dentist and I discussed it and I wanted a slightly darker color so my teeth would look natural for my age! But that was the only change I made. I was happy with the shape and spacing of the first set, so that was just replicated again.”
The AEDITION: Are you pleased with the results?
Laurie: “I was so happy with the first set and the results from this second set haven’t disappointed. It’s a great procedure and I’m amazed at how much of a difference having a nice bright smile can make daily life.”
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