Are porcelain veneers the best choice? - Things to consider before having them placed.
Porcelain veneers are a proven technique, but they do carry a price.
Porcelain veneers (including Lumineers®) are a proven dental technique that can be used to reliably and beautifully rejuvenate the appearance of teeth. But this does not mean that a decision to have veneers placed should be entered into blindly.
Porcelain veneer placement has many consequences. And because of this, some alternative (yet esthetically similar) dental procedures may provide a better, more conservative approach in some cases.
You owe it to yourself to evaluate other options.
On our page Alternatives to porcelain veneers, we go into detail about what types of dental restorations and treatments might provide a substantially similar end result as veneers. And we discuss their specific advantages and disadvantages.
As a part of understanding these options, however, you must also have an understanding of what the true cost of having porcelain veneers is.
That is the purpose of this page. It describes the true, sometimes over looked or hidden, costs of having porcelain veneers and how they might impact your decision to have them placed.
What are the true costs and consequences of having porcelain veneers placed?
1) There is the initial cost of the veneers.
Every set of porcelain veneers will have a price associated with it. And depending upon your needs, this price can be substantial.
2) The cost of replacing the original work at some time in the future must be considered.
Even when electing to use the (possibly overly) optimistic (probably unrealistic) estimate of a twenty-year life span for a set of porcelain veneers, for most patients it seems there will be a point during their lifetime when their porcelain veneers will need to be replaced.
A forty-year old can expect that their veneers will need to be replaced at least once and quite probably two or more times during their life. For a twenty-year old, this need translates into an expected three or more veneerings.
3) Don't overlook the potential need for unexpected repairs.
Besides initial and planned costs, there are also repair and maintenance factors that must not be overlooked. These include not just financial but also emotional, embarrassment, inconvenience and time-spent factors.
Veneers can chip, break or come off. And if one does, of course it will do so at the most inopportune moment.
And although a damaged porcelain veneer may be patched or temporized immediately, its replacement will take the same number of visits, and the same time frame, as its initial placement (which will be at least several days, possibly as much as two weeks). It will also carry the same cost.
4) The potential for side effects and unexpected outcomes does exist.
The long-term health of a patient's teeth must also be considered. Even though the placement of porcelain veneers can generally be considered to be safe enough to be an elective procedure, unexpected problems can present themselves.
Placing porcelain veneers can cause tooth trauma. And, of course, it often does result in the loss of at least some tooth structure. Because periodic veneer replacement will likely be need, the cumulative effect of these procedures might become an issue.
We'll also mention that the placement of a veneer (especially when the resulting shape of the tooth is somewhat bulky) can make tooth cleansing (brushing and flossing) more difficult. If adequate oral home care is not practiced, the tooth will be placed at greater risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
These are just considerations and not necessarily reasons to not have porcelain veneers placed.
You shouldn't necessarily be put off by the fact that these considerations exist. They by no means suggest that choosing porcelain veneers can't be a good, or even the best, choice for a patient.
But since the usual purpose for placing porcelain veneers is purely cosmetic, it just makes good sense that all other (possibly more conservative) treatment approaches that might be expected to create a similar aesthetic change should be considered.