Home/Cosmetic Dentistry/Porcelain Veneers

Reviewing teethPorcelain veneers are considered a stand-out treatment in cosmetic dentistry. Unmatched in natural-looking beauty and durability, porcelain veneers have the potential to dramatically enhance the appearance of your entire smile. Dr. Mark Griffiths, our highly skilled cosmetic dentist, places porcelain veneers at our Bankers Hill practice for patients seeking a conservative solution to minor tooth imperfections.

“Being a retired dentist after 40 years in the business, and also being an Accredited Member and Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry as well as an Examiner for both Accreditation and Fellowship, I have seen the work of many dentists applying for these prestigious achievements. Dr Griffiths has all the skills necessary to take care of his patients. He also has an incredible staff to help him. I am sure that anyone seeking excellent dental care at a reasonable price will be most happy with this office.”

Cary B.

What are Porcelain Veneers?

A porcelain veneer is an ultra-thin shell designed to restore the proportions of a full, healthy tooth. It is bonded to the front of a tooth using a strong cement, thereby masking common cosmetic concerns such as gaps, chips, cracks, and staining. Dental porcelain closely resembles the appearance of enamel, so a porcelain veneer should look and feel like a natural tooth.


What are the Benefits of Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers can dramatically transform the appearance of a tooth by making it look fuller and  healthier in as little as two office appointments. For most patients, even a single porcelain veneer placed over an imperfect front tooth can powerfully enhance their entire smile. Plus, there is very little tooth preparation necessary before placing a veneer and results often last for 10 to 15 years or longer. Among the chief benefits of porcelain veneers include:

The smile transformations featured in our before-and-after gallery can give you a good idea of how porcelain veneers can be used to conceal many types of dental flaws. On top of hiding deficiencies in the structure of a tooth, a porcelain veneer can also mask localized discoloration in the enamel.

Who is a Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers can be an ideal treatment for patients who wish to improve:

The best candidates for treatment include individuals whose concerns are primarily cosmetic in nature. If you experience more functional issues, such as difficulty biting or decayed teeth, a dental crown may be a more beneficial restoration for your needs.

Porcelain Veneers vs. Porcelain Crowns

Porcelain veneers and crowns are two highly effective solutions to improve a flawed tooth. While both restorations can offer functional and aesthetic advantages, the main distinction between porcelain veneers and crowns is that each treatment is designed to address different concerns. For example, issues that are more cosmetic in nature — such as small gaps, short teeth, and chipped enamel — can be addressed with a porcelain veneer. These problems do not usually require extra support or reinforcement from a restoration.

In contrast, concerns that affect the health or function of a tooth, such as tooth decay or severe damage, usually necessitate a porcelain crown. Unlike veneers, which are simply bonded to the front of a tooth, dental crowns are placed on top of a tooth to provide additional protection, or to aid in the rehabilitation of missing or broken teeth. Therefore, veneers can be thought of as a more aesthetic restoration while crowns are typically considered a reconstructive solution.

How is Treatment with Porcelain Veneers Performed?

The porcelain veneer process is typically completed in two appointments. First, the affected tooth is prepared for treatment by buffing and mildly reshaping the surface of the tooth. This is necessary to allow a natural fit for your veneer. Dr. Griffiths will then take an impression of your teeth and select a matching tooth shade to help ensure your veneer blends in seamlessly with the rest of your smile. The impressions are sent to a dental lab, where your porcelain veneer is custom-crafted by a ceramist. On your second visit, Dr. Griffiths will cleanse your tooth and prepare it for bonding. The porcelain veneer is then bonded to the affected tooth using a special light designed to complete the dental bond.

Is There a Recovery Period After Getting Porcelain Veneers?

One of the best parts about treatment with porcelain veneers is the ability to continue your life and normal routine without major downtime. There is no recovery necessary after getting porcelain veneers, although Dr. Griffiths may instruct you to avoid certain foods on the day of your appointment to prevent unnecessary damage to your veneer. Swelling or general tenderness in the affected area is to be expected, although most patients do not report extensive discomfort. In any case, over-the-counter pain medications are usually enough to manage swelling. It’s very important to take good care of your porcelain veneers by wearing a night guard if you’re prone to grinding or clenching your teeth. We also recommend using a mouth guard whenever playing contact sports or other recreational activities that have a risk of tooth damage. Since a chipped or damaged veneer cannot be fixed, patients will have to replace their porcelain veneer if it becomes fractured in the future.

How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?

Porcelain veneers are considered long-lasting restorations and should provide a beautiful result well into the future; however, they are not lifetime devices and may require replacement due to chipping, fracture, or tooth decay. Good oral hygiene is critical to prolonging the lifespan of porcelain veneers, as well as minimizing stress on the veneers, routine brushing, flossing, and semi-annual oral examinations. These measures will vastly increase their longevity.

How Do I Maintain My Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers require very little upkeep to remain in good condition. The only maintenance required is the regular brushing and flossing necessary to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. It’s also essential to attend your semi-annual dental appointments and cleanings to allow your dentist to identify any cavities or decay that may be affecting your restoration. While veneers are usually resistant to staining, your natural teeth are still vulnerable to discoloration. To help ensure results appear natural and harmonious within your smile, we recommend brushing your teeth after consuming foods with dark staining agents, such as coffee, tea, red wine, pasta sauce, and blueberries. With proper care and regular attention, your porcelain veneer(s) should continue to provide beautiful results for many years.

How Much Do Porcelain Veneers Cost?

On average, porcelain veneers usually cost between $1,400 and $2,400 per tooth. Your cost estimate will ultimately depend on the details of your procedure, such as:

Our team will be able to provide you with a personalized quote after your needs are assessed by Dr. Griffiths. We accept dental financing plans for qualified patients through CareCredit®, a widely utilized healthcare lending company that can help you manage out-of-pocket expenses. If you have any questions about porcelain veneers or your potential payment options, please contact Griffiths Smiles today.

Are There Alternatives to Porcelain Veneers?

While a porcelain veneer is the most long-lasting restoration to correct dental imperfections, there are a few alternative options offered at our Bankers Hill practice. Dr. Griffiths also performs composite bonding to fix minor aesthetic issues, such as chips, cracks, and mild structural irregularities, without the need for prior tooth preparation. This is possible using a composite tooth-colored resin, which is applied to the affected tooth in layers and subsequently shaped to restore the correct proportions. The results can be extremely natural-looking and treatment is often much more cost effective when compared to porcelain veneers. That said, composite bonding cannot address all of the dental issues that are treatable with porcelain veneers. Dr. Hughes will examine your concerns and ask you about your goals during your consultation to help you determine the most ideal approach to enhance your smile.

Choosing a Top Porcelain Veneers Dentist

Porcelain veneers provide a lasting change to your smile and overall appearance; however, the results of porcelain veneers are irreversible. This emphasizes the importance of selecting an experienced cosmetic dentist to conduct your treatment and place your veneers. We understand that the process of choosing the right dentist for your needs can seem overwhelming, so our team has offered several tips to help you narrow down your options:

Lastly, meeting your prospective dentist in a one-on-one consultation will help you fully determine whether you can entrust him or her to achieve your dental goals. If you have any questions about our practice or Dr. Griffith’s credentials, we encourage you to call our San Diego office to speak with a friendly member of our team.

Additional FAQs About Porcelain Veneers

How do porcelain veneers work?

Porcelain veneers work by covering up or concealing the imperfections you wish to treat. These imperfections are generally cosmetic in nature and do not affect your tooth health or bite; therefore, masking your dental flaws with a veneer can be a fast, effective, and lasting way to uplift your entire smile. Before porcelain veneers are bonded over the front surface of your teeth, Dr. Griffiths creates room for the veneer by mildly reshaping the affected tooth. By removing a tiny portion of the enamel, the porcelain veneer can fit comfortably over your tooth as opposed to jutting out unnaturally. These hand-crafted veneers also have an impressive record of looking and feeling just like a natural tooth — some patients even forget they have them after a certain period of time!

What’s the difference between composite and porcelain veneers?

Porcelain and composite veneers work in much of the same way. The only difference between the two treatments is the material used to craft the veneers. Composite veneers are composed of a tooth-colored resin, which blends into the rest of your smile but often doesn’t last as long as dental porcelain. With veneers made from porcelain, the result is typically stronger and much more durable when compared to composite resin. Furthermore, porcelain bears a powerful resemblance to the translucency of natural tooth enamel. That said, composite veneers are often more affordable than porcelain veneers, though the material isn’t as enduring.

Will I ever have to replace porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers typically provide good results for at least 10 to 15 years, but a replacement may be necessary if you suffer an injury or the restoration becomes damaged. Keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth as healthy as can be often goes a long way in prolonging the lifespan of porcelain veneers, as these restorations are weakened by poor oral hygiene in similar ways as your natural teeth. We highly encourage patients to maintain excellent dental health in order to minimize the likelihood of needing a porcelain veneer replacement in the future.

Can I whiten porcelain veneers?

Porcelain veneers cannot be whitened or changed in shade. We recommend refraining from professional whitening treatment after your veneers are placed since bleaching your surrounding teeth will only make your veneers stand out more and prevent a natural-looking result. If you have tooth discoloration you’d like to address, we advise consulting with Dr. Griffiths about undergoing teeth whitening before you receive a porcelain veneer.

Do porcelain veneers stain?

Porcelain veneers are stable in color and, similarly to how they cannot be whitened, they should not stain. However, since your natural teeth are affected by staining agents, we recommend keeping up with your semi-annual dental check-ups and practicing good oral hygiene at home to reduce the possibility of your teeth becoming mismatched with your veneer(s). These measures are usually sufficient enough to prevent obvious staining and preserve a natural-looking result.

At Griffiths Smiles, we can help patients in San Diego and surrounding areas address aesthetic imperfections in their smile with minimally invasive solutions. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation, or to speak with a friendly member of our dental team.