How much do porcelain veneers cost?

- Dentist's fees for veneers. | The real (total, seldom explained) cost of having laminates placed. | Circumstances when insurance might cover this procedure.

A tooth with its porcelain laminate in place.

A veneered tooth.

This page discusses fees dentists charge when placing porcelain veneers (dental laminates). Then, and just as important, it also explains the kinds of long-term expenses you're likely to encounter once you've had yours placed.

It also discusses special circumstances where dental insurance might pay benefits for this procedure.

Fees for porcelain veneers -

Here's an estimate of the price you might pay to have a porcelain veneer placed on one tooth.

$740.00 - $1360.00 per tooth.

Low end of range = Small rural city or town.
High end of range = Large metropolitan area.
How did we come up with this estimate?

Costs for similar procedures.

If you're interested in making a comparison, the following links provide fee estimates for other types of dental laminates:

Notes:

a) Fees are quoted on a "per-unit" basis.

Dentists usually quote porcelain veneer prices on a per-unit (per-tooth) basis.

That means if you were to have them placed on all six of your front upper teeth you could expect your costs to be exactly six times your dentist's basic per-unit fee. (There's usually no discount just because multiple teeth are being treated.)

b) Will temporaries be placed?

The quote that your dentist gives you probably does but may not include the placement of temporary veneers. And just so you don't get any surprises, you should ask.

Temporaries are worn during that time frame while your permanent laminates are being made. With many cases, they are not needed.


Are veneers covered by dental insurance?

Insurance plans typically will not provide benefits for procedures that are strictly cosmetic in nature. And, for the most part, porcelain veneers usually fall under that classification. But there can be some exceptions.

Possible coverage for adults.

Coverage might exist if your dentist can make the case that veneer placement will correct a dental-health issue.

This could include the situation where the seal of a previously placed laminate has deteriorated to the point where plaque can now accumulate underneath it, thus placing your tooth at risk for decay. If so, your dentist might be able to obtain authorization from your insurance company for its replacement.

Possible coverage for children.

We've seen policies that will provide benefits for veneers for children (ages 8 through 19) who have severe tooth staining caused by tetracycline or fluoride.

Don't overlook the cost of replacement work.

No dental restoration can be expected to last forever. And this is especially true for restorations placed on front teeth where even if structurally sound may be cosmetic failures simply due to the development of minor flaws. (See our discussion below.)

What are the true costs of having veneers placed?

Unlike most other dental procedures, having dental laminates placed is usually an elective one. And before you have this type of work performed, you should at least give some consideration as to what your total long-term costs will be.

1) There's the cost of the original (first) placement of the veneers.

(As discussed above on this page.)

2) The cost of replacing the original work at some time in the future must be figured in.

Replacement laminates.

Even if an estimate of a twenty-year lifespan for porcelain veneers is used (which is a pretty optimistic projection), most patients will likely reach a point in their life when their original work will need to be replaced. (We discuss longevity and reasons for veneer failure on this page.)

As examples:

  • A forty-year old can expect that their veneers will need to be replaced at least once, and possibly twice during their lifetime.
  • For a twenty-year old, this need translates into an expected two or more additional veneerings.
Crowns may be required instead.

With some cases the complication may crop up that so much tooth enamel has been trimmed away during previous placements that veneers now no longer offer a predictable outcome. (A common problem is that the veneers simply won't stay in place well.)

When this complication exists, the usual solution is to place dental crowns. And although their per-unit fee is frequently similar to porcelain veneers, they require much more extensive tooth trimming. So what was intended originally as a minimally invasive transformation has now become an aggressive one.

A tooth that has been prepared.

Once a tooth has been prepared for a laminate, it won't look right unless one is in place.

3) Don't overlook the cost of unexpected repairs.

Besides initial and planned costs, there are also repair and maintenance expenses that may be encountered.

Even during time frames when a person's laminates can be expected to have a survival rate in the 95% range (see link above), some people will experience problems.

Veneers can chip, break or come off. And while it may be possible to create some type of short-term repair, in most cases a damaged laminate will need to be replaced. (This page addresses this topic.)

Replacement will require the same number of visits, and the same treatment time frame, as the initial placement process (usually two visits over two weeks). It will also carry the same cost.

4) Costs associated with side effects and unexpected outcomes must be factored in too.

The placement of porcelain laminates can generally be considered to be safe enough to be an elective procedure. But unexpected or undesired consequences can occur, especially over the long-term. And there can be substantial costs associated with resolving them.

Generally speaking, anything that makes a tooth more difficult to clean (like placing a veneer on it) places it at greater risk for complications associated with tooth decay and especially gum disease.

Restoring the patient's dental health in these situations may involve multiple treatment approaches (such as managing the patient's gum disease and then replacing their veneers so their appearance is acceptable again). All of which add to the total cost of choosing veneer placement in the first place.

These are just considerations and not necessarily reasons not to have laminates placed.

Don't be put off by the fact that these extra costs exist. They by no means mean that placing porcelain veneers can't make an excellent choice.

But since the usual purpose for placing them is just cosmetic, you should consider the above expected and potential expenses and weigh them. You should also take the time to evaluate alternative procedures that might be able to create a similar, yet less costly, end result.

 
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