Porcelain veneers
and crowns

Do you ever feel embarrassed by your smile? Have you covered your smile in photos? It doesn’t have to be this way! A quality set of porcelain veneers can give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

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porcelain veneers

A porcelain veneer is a thin shell of tooth coloured porcelain.

Our dental veneers are  custom made in a premium Melbourne laboratory to precisely fit a lightly prepared tooth surface.

When fixed firmly to the outer surface of a tooth, the thin porcelain veneer becomes incredibly strong and life-like.

When well made dental veneers are roundly considered one of the most long lasting  procedures that 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 fix a wide range of smile problems.

Porcelain veneers and crowns are used when you’re after the best result.

A porcelain veneer can fix…

Crooked teeth

In most cases, orthodontic braces is the best treatment for crooked teeth. However, most adults don’t want to go through this process. This is where porcelain veneers excel.

Dental veneers are particularly useful if your crooked teeth are also oddly shaped, worn down, or are dark in colour.

Worn teeth

When we’re younger, the edges of our front teeth are more rounded. Their edges are all at slightly different levels.

As your teeth wear down, their edges flatten. The whole tooth shortens. Small chips and stained cracks form. Your teeth appear older.

Porcelain veneers can cover over all of these blemishes to bring back your beautiful youthful smile.

Thin enamel

Over time, acids in your diet and harsh tooth brushing can wear down the outer enamel surface of your teeth. When this happens, your teeth darken and lose their shine.

Porcelain veneers return a natural lustre to worn teeth. They help protect them from future wear.

Gappy teeth

A smile with gaps is not always easy to fix with braces. Sometimes teeth are smaller than the space they need to fill.

Porcelain veneers can be the best option to fill these gaps.

Heavily discoloured teeth

Bleaching is a popular way to lighten teeth that are dark. But some people want an even lighter result.   If you’re after an ultra bright smile, then porcelain veneers could be the answer.

Sometimes, the tooth colour is so dark that a thin dental veneer will not block out this colour. A crown may be the only solution for very dark teeth.

Digital Smile Design (DSD) Using Porcelain Veneers

Providing beautiful and predictable results
One of the challenges I’ve had with porcelain veneers over the years  has been in communication.

Finding out what it is about your smile that you don’t like is fairly easy. I’ve got great checklists for this.

But letting you know about the ideas or plans I had for your smile was a little harder.

And then I needed to translate all the information I collected into instructions for the laboratory. A skilled technician could then produce a set of beautiful dental veneers. But some things could be lost in translation.

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

Smile Guide Touch Pro
This is an easy to use smile guide app. It helps show you what your smile could look like.

The app shows an image of a smile. Each tooth in that smile can have its shape and length changed.

With a push of a button you can make some teeth more rounded, or more square. Shorten one. Make another longer.

It makes it easily to judge what different lengths and shapes of teeth will do to your smile.

Digital Mock-up
After taking high quality images, I can study your smile in fine detail. I consider your answers to my Smile Checklist, your Smile Guide Touch Pro choice. I take a look at any other images you have brought in for me.

I can then come up with digital simulation of what your perfect smile could look like.

After you’ve viewed this on the screen, I look for your feedback.

It’s easy to make as many changes as you’d like to the simulation. Once you’re happy with what you see, we can move on to the smile “test-drive”.

In-mouth Smile Trial
The most exciting smile preview happens at the smile “test-drive” appointment.

This is an extremely simple process. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete. No shots! No drills!

There’s no better way to get a preview of your new smile. You can even take the temporary version home for your friends and family to see.

With the smile test-drive you’ll know exactly what to expect from new porcelain veneers. And you’ll know it before you commit to a single dental procedure.

The porcelain veneer process

1

Visit 1

  • Complete a detailed consultation to find out your smile preferences
  • Take quality photo and video records of your smile in motion. These allow me to study your smile, and then design a new one for you.
  • Make models of your mouth. From these I can make a mould to to be used for your Smile Test Drive (if you chose this option).
2

Visit 2

  • Look over and discuss the digital design image. Together we decide on any changes that need to be made to the design.
  • Place the Smile Test-drive onto your teeth.
  • I then take a few more photos. I use these help me check if the planned design is in harmony with your face.
3

Visit 3

  • Using our design as a guide, we prepare your teeth. Having the end result clear from the beginning is so helpful. It means the teeth preps can be quicker and as minimal as possible.
  • Accurate moulds are taken to send to our lab.
  • Temporary veneers are placed. They cover and protect your teeth. They are designed according to the plan, so when you leave our practice you have a new smile. It will look remarkably similar to the final porcelain veneers.
4

Visit 4

  • The temporary veneers are carefully removed.
  • The new porcelain veneers are tried in. This is a final check to make sure we are both happy. With such planning it’s rare to need changes at this point.
  • The porcelain veneers are then fixed firmly into place.
FAQ’s about Porcelain Veneers

What do porcelain veneers cost?

Our Porcelain Veneers range from $1600 to $1800 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, by using cheaper, inferior materials, or by having the veneers made overseas.

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

“Prep-less” porcealin veneers (Glamsmile, Lumineers) are also promoted as a cheap form of veneers. With this technique, a dentist does not prepare the tooth. They just take a mould of your untouched teeth. This sounds great, doesn’t it! No drills and really short times in the dental chair. But with this process, you have very limited control over what your teeth will look like. And they will often appear to sit too far  forwards. More worryingly for me, the finish line (the join close to the gums) can never be smooth.

Any time a porcelain veneer fits poorly, it’s impossible to clean properly. The end result – puffy red gums, a black stained line near the gums, or decay.

There may be some additional costs before the process can begin. These will be discussed with you before being carried out and may include:

  • X-Rays. These are taken if there is any hint of nerve damage or Root Canal Treatment (RCT) in the past. It’s important to check that there isn’t an infection remaining. Such infections are often present with no history of pain.
  • Fillings. Decay or old leaky fillings should be repaired first. We need a strong healthy base to firmly fix the porcelain veneers to.
  • Smile Test-drive. If you chose to go beyond the Digital design stage of treatment, moulds of your teeth will be sent to the laboratory.  Using your smile design prescription, wax is added to each tooth on your models. This incurs a cost of $50 per tooth. It’s absolutely vital in the process so you can be sure you’ll get the result you want.

How many teeth should I veneer?

You should consider placing porcelain veneers on the teeth that you can see in your smile. This is different for every person. It depends a lot on how wide the upper jaw is.

In the past it was common to place porcelain veneers on the front six teeth. But this often resulted in a narrow looking smile. There appeared to be the front six teeth and then nothing much behind.

These days it’s more common to place porcelain veneers on the front eight to ten teeth. This gives a much broader looking smile.

Will my porcelain veneers look fake?

Natural looking veneers are a result of:

  • Ideal tooth preparation. This is straight forward when we follow a plan designed by the Digital Smile Design process.
  • Artistic and technically capable laboratory technicians. 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 porcelain veneers last?

Most porcelain veneers will last for 15 to 20 years.

The porcelain itself is extremely strong when it accurately fits the tooth and the bite is designed correcly. Modern adhesives used to attach the porcelain veneers are incredibly reliable when used correctly. However, the tooth structure below the veneer, and the gum and bone structures that surround it it are alive. They can become diseased or damaged and are the most common reason for early 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 porcelain veneer?

The preparation for porcelain veneers commonly only involves the front surface of the tooth. They can sometimes wrap just over the biting edge. On average, 0.5mm of the outer tooth surface is removed.

A crown is only chosen if the tooth structure remaining is weak and not able to support a porcelain veneer.

A crown preparation extends 360 degrees around the tooth. Typically they need around 1mm of tooth structure removed from all surfaces.

How much of my tooth will be removed?

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

With little or no tooth structure reduction (“prep-less” veneers) you really have the opportunity to create ideally shaped teeth. Dark teeth and blemishes can only be covered with thicker porcelain. Some veneers can make teeth look ridiculously bulky without correct tooth preparation.

On the other hand, if too much structure is removed the bond to what remains will be weak. Bonding to deeper parts of a tooth is of lesser quality. Over preparation of a tooth can lead to a less durable result, or worse still, to nerve damage.

Will my porcelain veneers stain over time?

Porcelain veneers should never stain. you don’t have to stay away from strongly coloured foods or drinks. However, the outer border of the porcelain veneer 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 fillings will change colour over time. So if you have only one or two veneers that are surrounded by natural teeth, they can end up looking too light in colour.

Not to worry though! Teeth whitening procedures will re-lighten the surrounding teeth to their original colour. And the porcelain veneers can be used to judge when to stop bleaching.

What are the risks of porcelain veneers?

When correctly planned and executed, the risks are actually very minimal. Porcelain veneers are actually one of the most reliable forms of treatment that a dentist can provide.

Some people have very heavy bites. Their teeth may fit together poorly or they grind their teeth while asleep. Porcelain veneers are more likely to break or become unstuck in a heavy bite. However, we can protect porcelain veneers from being damaged by making you a guard to wear while asleep.

Sometimes, porcelain crowns may be a better option in a heavy bite. Better still, teeth can be realigned with braces or a full bite rebuild. Having all teeth working together correctly can significantly improve the long term chances of all teeth and jaw joints.

If my upper teeth have porcelain veneers, will they match the lowers?

Most people don’t show the lower teeth as much as they do the upper teeth.

However, as we age, the lower teeth can become more visible. Gravity takes its effect on the lower lip.

If you do show your lower teeth in your smile, porcelain veneers can be a great option.

Many people will simply whiten their lower teeth to match the uppers.

We often encourage teeth whitening to be done before porcelain veneers are placed. The veneers are matched to the new colour of the lower teeth. More importantly, if the upper teeth are lighter, thick porcelain will not be needed to cover over dark tooth below. Thinner, more conservative veneers can be placed.

Will there be pain after porcelain veneers are placed?

There should be little pain after porcelain veneer treatment.

There may be some slight tooth sensitivity while the temporary veneers are in place. This will quickly go away 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. 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. That tooth can become slightly tender. This is easily and quickly fixed with a quick bite adjustment to the area.

Taking care of porcelain veneers and crowns
  • Taking care of Porcelain veneers is pretty straight forward. When they fit accurately, the join between the tooth and veneer should be perfectly smooth. Therefore, home care should be just the same as  any other teeth:
  • Use only a soft bristled toothbrush with regular fluoride toothpaste. Be sure that the paste is not too gritty. It should feel smooth between your fingertips.
  • Floss between your veneers daily. Carefully pass 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 let us know 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. This means that chewing on bones, ice, and fingernails should all be avoided.
  • If you grind or clench your teeth while sleeping we recommend you wear a night guard. This should lessen the load on all of your teeth. Be aware of clenching hard during strenuous exercise.