Porcelain veneers
and crowns

Modern techniques produce beautiful predictable results that you help to design.

“I truly believe my job is to help people smile”. Dr David Treherne

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porcelain veneers

A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of tooth coloured porcelain. It is custom made to precisely fit a lightly prepared tooth surface.

When bonded to the outer surface of a tooth it becomes incredibly strong and life-like.

When completed well, they are roundly considered one of the most durable procedures a dentist can provide.

They can dramatically improve a crooked, worn or gappy smile.

Smile Makeovers

Watch how we blend art and science to design ideal smiles.
This process can be used to address a wide range of aesthetic issues and often utilizes porcelain veneers and crowns.

Free Cosmetic e Consult
Have you been thinking about investing in cosmetic dental treatment?
Submit your request for a complimentary e-consultation here.
Describe your issues, upload one or more photos and we will outline some treatment options that will help you achieve the smile you’re after.

A porcelain veneer can fix…

Crooked teeth

In most instances, orthodontic straightening is the most ideal treatment for crooked teeth. However, many people do not wish to go through this process, and this is where veneers excel. This is particularly so if the teeth are also misshapen or dark in colour.

Worn teeth

Worn teeth result in a departure from a youthful appearance where the teeth are all more rounded and their edges do not form a completely straight line.

Thin enamel

Over time, acidic erosion or harsh tooth brushing habits can lead to the loss of enamel on the outer surface of the tooth. This will result in the teeth being dull in lustre and darkened. Porcelain veneers will return the natural beauty to these teeth and should protect them from further structural loss.

Gappy teeth

This problem is not always able to be corrected with orthodontics as sometimes the teeth develop to be smaller than the space available. Porcelain veneers offer the most ideal solution to fill such gaps.

Heavily discoloured teeth

Some teeth are resistant to bleaching and the only way to fix the problem is to cover over the darkened surfaces. Sometimes, the discolouration is so dark that a thin veneer will not mask the underlying colour. A crown may be the only solution in this instance.

Digital Smile Design (DSD)

Providing beautiful and predictable results
One of the difficulties of designing a new smile has been in communication. The challenge is to determine what it is about your smile that you don’t like, what you actually want for your smile and then to communicate all of these preferences to our laboratory. They need to then transform this information into a 3-D product that is in harmony with your face and personality.

The DSD protocol takes all the guesswork out of the process. The standout parts of this process are:

Smile Guide Touch Pro
This easy to use software package is an animated smile guide that helps show you what your smile could look like. It allows easy visualization of various shapes of the edge of teeth as well as different smile line contours. You will readily see the difference that different lengths and shapes of teeth will make.

Digital Mock-up
With high-resolution photos and video taken in our Digital Image Studio, we can create for you a realistic digital simulation of what your perfect smile would look like in your mouth. This can be previewed on the screen in a detailed consultation with us and you can provide input to further refine the design.

3-D Trial
You can opt for a second smile makeover preview in which a resin cast of the proposed work is transferred into your own mouth. This is an extremely simple chair-side procedure, taking less than 5 minutes to complete. There’s no better way to see a preview of your new smile in place. You can even take the temporary version home for your friends and family to see.

The porcelain veneer process


Visit 1

  • Carry out a comprehensive consultation to find out your smile preferences
  • Take detailed photo and video records of your smile in motion to allow study and digital manipulation of your smile.
  • Take impressions of your mouth to allow considered study of your smile. They would also be used for the 3-D Trial, if you chose this option.

Visit 2

  • Discuss and refine the digital mock-up.
  • Place the 3-D Trial onto your teeth and take further photos and video to assess if the planned treatment is in harmony with your face.

Visit 3

  • We prepare your teeth to the DSD plan to accept porcelain veneers.
  • Highly accurate impressions are taken which are sent to our laboratory.
  • Temporary veneers are placed according to the DSD plan.

Visit 4

  • The final veneers are bonded into place.

What do porcelain veneers cost?

At Melbourne Dentist, our Porcelain Veneers range from $1200 to $1600 each. The final price depends on the number of veneers, the degree of difficulty and the quality of finish you are looking for.

In Melbourne, we have seen prices promoted significantly cheaper than this. These fees are generally offered by dentists with less experience and can only be made possible by cutting corners, or by using cheaper, inferior materials.

Some are charging prices that would barely cover the lab cost from a high end Australian laboratory.

Prep-less veneers (Glamsmile, Lumineers) are also promoted as a cheap form of veneers. With this technique, a dentist does not prepare the tooth and just takes an impression of untouched teeth. This sounds good in theory – ultra conservative and quick clinically. However, you have limited control over the result on most occasions and most importantly, the finish line at the gum margin forms a ledge. This is the hardest area to clean in every restoration and poor fit here can only lead to a higher incidence of gum irritation and decay in the future.

If completed only adequately, most porcelain veneers should be strong, but not all will fit correctly (eventually leading to staining at the periphery) and most will not have a natural appearance – most all will lead to a fake looking smile.

There may be some additional costs incurred before porcelain veneer preparation can begin. These will be discussed with you before being carried out and may include:

  • X-Rays. If there is any hint of previous nerve damage or a previous Root Canal Treatment (RCT) it would be prudent to check that there is no underlying persisting infection. This can be present in the absence of pain.
  • Fillings. If the teeth to be veneered have decay or old leaky fillings these should be replaced first – we need a strong healthy base to bond the porcelain veneers to.
  • 3-D Trial. If you chose to go beyond the Digital mock-up stage of treatment, your models will be sent to the laboratory with your design prescription and this incurs a cost of $140 per tooth.

How many teeth should I do?

Generally you should consider placing porcelain veneers on the teeth you want visible in your smile. This is different for every person and depends a lot on the broadness of the upper jaw. Placing veneers on only the front six teeth will often lead to a narrow looking smile where the front six teeth appear to sit forward while the others behind them tend to disappear a little in the smile. The current trend is to consider veneering the front eight teeth and sometimes even the front ten. This will lead to a broader looking smile.

Will they look fake?

Natural looking veneers are a result of:

  • Ideal tooth preparation. This is only possible if we are following a predetermined plan determined by the Digital Smile Design process.
  • Artistic and technical capabilities of the laboratory technician. We use only the most senior technicians at one of Melbourne’s largest and most technically advanced laboratories. Find out more about our lab TDSA here.

How long will they last?

Most porcelain veneers will last from 15 to 20 years. However, they can last considerably less than this if trauma or decay is involved.

The porcelain itself is extremely strong and stable, but the tooth structure it is attached to, and the gum and bone structures that attach to it are alive. As such they can become diseased or damaged – the reason for early failure is not commonly because of porcelain failure.

If the porcelain veneer does happen to pop off, it is commonly readily cleaned up and re-bonded to the tooth in quick time.

What’s the difference between a crown and a veneer?

The preparation for a veneers mostly involves the front surface of the tooth, extending just over the biting edge. Typically, 0.5mm of structure is removed. A crown is only chosen if the remaining tooth structure is not adequate enough to support a veneer. The crown preparation extends 360 degrees around the tooth and typically involves around 1mm of reduction from all surfaces.

How much of my tooth will be removed?

With thorough and adequate planning, a blueprint is provided by Digital Smile Design that allows for exactly the right amount of reduction.

With minimal or no reduction (prep-less veneers) you have limited ability to create correctly balanced shapes and underlying blemishes cannot be covered.

On the other hand, if too much structure is removed the bond to the remaining structure will be of lesser quality leading to a less durable result, or worse still, to nerve damage.

Will my veneers stain over time?

Porcelain veneers should never stain. Therefore, it is not necessary to abstain from strongly coloured foods. The junction of the veneers to the tooth however can stain, but only if the fit here is not perfect.

The fact that they don’t stain can be an issue. This is because the surrounding natural teeth and resin restorations will change colour over time. Therefore, if you have one or two veneers only, that are surrounded by natural teeth, they may end up looking too light in colour over time. Not to worry though…teeth whitening procedures will re-lighten these surrounds to their original shade and the porcelain veneers can be used as the finish shade control.

What are the risks of porcelain veneers?

If correctly planned and executed the risks are actually very minimal – this is one of the most reliable forms of treatment that a dentist can provide.

Some people have excessively heavy bites, particularly related to grinding while asleep. Porcelain veneers may be more prone to fracture or de-bonding under these circumstances, However, we can protect against this by providing you a guard to wear while asleep. Porcelain crowns may be a better option in such circumstances.

If my upper teeth are treated, will they match the lowers?

Most people don’t show the lower teeth as much as they do the upper teeth. Therefore, most porcelain veneers are placed on the upper teeth.

If you do show your lower teeth in your smile, the option to place porcelain veneers here can be discussed – particularly if they are also crooked. However, most people will simply whiten their lower teeth to match the uppers.

We often encourage teeth whitening to be done before the veneers are placed, so we can match to an actual final whitening result. The simultaneous whitening of the upper teeth would provide colour lightening here and allow for thinner, more conservative veneers to be placed.

Will there be pain after treatment?

Pain should be minimal after porcelain veneer treatment. There may be slight sensitivity experienced during the two week period that the temporary veneers are in place, but this will quickly resolve when the permanent veneers are bonded.

The preparation and bonding process requires strict control over the surrounding gum tissue. They are lightly pushed out of the way during the procedure, and some people can have mild discomfort in this area for a day or two after treatment.

Rarely, the bite can be left a little too heavy on a tooth after bonding leading to slight tenderness in that tooth. Again, this will be easily and quickly resolved with a quick bite adjustment as required.

Maintenance of porcelain veneers and crowns
  • Maintenance of Porcelain veneers is relatively straight forward. When produced to be accurately fitting and then bonded correctly, the junction between the tooth and veneer should be imperceptible. Therefore, home maintenance should be similar to any other teeth:
  • Use only a soft bristled toothbrush with regular fluoride toothpaste. Be sure that the paste is not too coarse or abrasive – it should feel smooth between your fingertips.
  • Floss between your veneers daily, carefully passing the floss all the way up to where the tooth joins the gums.
  • If your bite feels slightly heavy on any of your new veneers, please advise us straight away.
  • Do not bite on anything hard and brittle. A good rule of thumb is to avoid chewing anything that you should not chew with your natural teeth. (i.e. bones, ice, fingernails, olive pits, Opening pistachio nuts with your teeth, and popcorn kernels).
  • If you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping we recommend you wear a night guard to minimise the stresses on all of your teeth. Be wary of placing high stresses on your teeth during strenuous exercise.