How Much Do Veneers Cost? The Basics of Porcelain Veneers

When people think of 'cosmetic dentistry', the first thing that comes to mind is typically porcelain veneers. While cosmetic dentistry is completely inseparable from general dentistry as a whole (everything should be cosmetic--you don't do construction on your house expecting the end result to look shoddy), there are a host of techniques, procedures, equipment, and materials that play a role in cosmetic dentistry, with veneers being only a single procedure of a much larger pool.

What people think are veneers can often be crowns or cosmetic bonding instead. We believe we provide some of the best veneers in San Diego and want you to be able to make an informed decisions before moving forward.

First, let's cover the basics on the process behind veneers:

Porcelain Veneers - The process and how long it takes

How Much Do Veneers Cost in San Diego?

A typical price range to expect is $1200 - $2000 per veneer, with additional charges typically for a wax-up for you to view a mock-up of the end result prior to proceeding. As each case is unique, there may be additional procedures necessary, like gingival contouring or orthodontics, to achieve an ideal result. If you're wondering how much of that is covered by insurance, the answer is none, except in extremely rare situations, and those would likely be crowns rather than true veneers. Cosmetic procedures are not covered by dental benefits.

With that said, I would strongly suggest not to shop purely based on price. All veneers are not created equal. You're investing a large amount of money in improving the appearance of your smile, and you want that to last.

In terms of longevity, the quality of the veneer and the quality of the preparation and bond to your tooth by your dentist will play a key role in determining the lifespan of your veneers.

In terms of the best looking result, again, the quality of the veneer and the quality of the preparation are paramount, but so is the shade chosen, transparency and coloring of the veneer, overall shape and thickness of the veneer, as well as how it fits with the surrounding teeth, your lips, and with your occlusion (how your teeth come together when your mouth is closed).

For example, the following two sets of veneers have different properties that will manifest in very different appearances once placed in the mouth. The upper veneers, have a bit less texture and significantly less transparency to them. They will appear whiter, but dramatically less natural in the mouth, primarily due to the lack of transparency. There's also a substantical price difference between them, with the fabriation cost per tooth nearly triple for the lower set.

As much as science and medicine are involved, artistry is necessary in equal measure to ensure the end result justifies your investment. This is a complex process that does not fit a one-size-fits-all model. Ultimately, shop around and seek second or third opinions. Choose a dentist that you feel comfortable with before moving forward. This is a permanent procedure that you want done right.

How Long Do Veneers Last?

Veneers do not last forever, and do require care to keep looking their best. When done properly, veneers should last approximately ten years, however, they can and do last much longer or shorter. Your habits also weigh heavily in their lifespan, with things like chewing ice or grinding your teeth dramatically decreasing their durability.

We typically recommend a simple night guard as a safety measure to protect them while you sleep. As stated above, personal habits along with the quality of the work and materials will determine the lifespan of your veneers.

How Many Veneers Do I Need?

A typical person will get 6-8 veneers, but depending on the individual, specifics of the case, and particularly how that person smiles (how many teeth are visible in a normal, natural smile on that individual), more or less can be done.

Most typically, the upper front teeth are done, but it's not uncommon to see veneers on the lower teeth as well, particularly if both arches are visible when you smile.

Porcelain Veneers vs Composite Veneers

When most people think of veneers, they are thinking or porcelain veneers. If you have been doing your research, you may have stumbled upon composite veneers and thought of it as a way to save money. The process involves roughening or preparing the surface of the teeth for proper adhesion, followed by layering different shades of composite material (the same material used in white fillings) to create a more esthetic layer.

While it is true that composite veneers are cheaper, composite veneers are also extremely reliant on the skill and artistry of your dentist. Additionally, composite veneers are not as durable as porcelain veneers as they are more susceptible to staining, wearing down, and chipping due to the limitations of the materials. Porcelain veneers are fabricated in a lab from a porcelain ceramic material which is stronger and more durable.

For small cases, composite veneers can be a very viable option, however, porcelain veneers are well worth the extra investment when you are looking to improve the appearance of multiple teeth.

How Long Does It Take To Get Veneers?

With porcelain veneers specifically, first, an impression or scan of your teeth will be taken. A wax-up, which is a mockup of what your finished teeth will look like, is then made from the impression or scan to determine the optimal shape and thickness of the finished veneers. The wax-up is also used to determine the appropriate amount of preparation, or tooth surface necessary to remove, in order to create the desired result. This step is also an opportunity to discuss with the dentist your preferences on how you would like your finished teeth to look.

After you're confident in moving forward, the teeth are then prepared for the veneers (a small amount of tooth structure is removed from the teeth). At this step, it's important that an appropriate amount of tooth structure is prepared so that the veneers do not cause your teeth to appear protruded.

Temporary veneers made in the office will then be placed on the teeth until the finished veneers arrive from the lab. One to two weeks later, the now finished veneers can then be bonded to your natural teeth during your last appointment.

The Bottom Line:

The entire process from wax-up to final bonding of the veneers will typically span approximately three appointments over a few weeks time.

What Are No-Prep Veneers or Lumineers?

Lumineers or "no-prep" veneers can be a viable option for some. The advantage to a no-prep veneer is that very little tooth structure is removed. However, this should be reserved for those patients whose esthetic result will not be compromised by a lack of tooth preparation.

If done on the wrong person, it can result in a very "bucky" or toothy smile with excessive lip protrusion. For example, if you have ever noticed actors in a movie, particularly in a period piece, you may have noticed the actor's lips pushed out due to the tooth prosthesis that is worn.

A similar effect can also be the end result of no-prep veneers. The viability of a no-prep veneer is extremely case dependent, but more often than not, a better result will be achieved with other methods.

If you have any questions or would like a no-cost consultation, please feel free to schedule an appointment with us. We would be more than happy to discuss your options.