Porcelain veneers are the cosmetic dental treatment of choice for A-list celebs, Hollywood stars… and plenty of “regular” people too. They offer an effective remedy for teeth that are chipped, cracked, stained or malformed. They can even close up small gaps between teeth, giving you the red-carpet smile you’ve always dreamed about. But along with the undeniable benefits of veneers, there are a few less-than-desirable features – including the price tag. Are veneers worth the cost? Let’s take a closer look.
Porcelain veneers themselves consist of wafer-thin shells of tough ceramic material that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of your teeth. Lustrous and semi-transparent, they look completely realistic, and can last up to 20 years. They are completely stain-resistant, and can be made in a variety of shades – either matching the pearly hue of natural teeth, or giving you a brilliant “Hollywood white” smile.
Because they are custom-made for you, and they cover the most visible part of your smile, veneers can solve a number of problems at a single stroke. With one set of veneers, it’s possible to correct chips and cracks, even out gaps or spacing irregularities between teeth, and make your smile as white as you want it to be. What’s more, getting veneers involves just a few appointments – instead of the months required for orthodontic treatment, or multiple sessions for various cosmetic treatments. Once they are permanently placed, veneers are easy to maintain; they generally need no more care than your natural teeth do.
So what’s the downside? For one thing, veneers are expensive. A single veneer may cost from $500 to $2000, and an average patient will probably spend several thousand dollars on treatment. But leaving cost aside, there are a few other potential issues with veneers.
In most cases, placing veneers requires the removal of a thin layer (1-2mm) of the tooth’s surface. This prevents the veneers from feeling too bulky – but it also means the procedure is considered irreversible. So after being treated, there’s no going back. In a small number of people, veneers may cause tooth sensitivity or other problems. And if you regularly chew pencils, grind your teeth or munch on hard candy, your veneers can break, necessitating re-treatment. In fact, if you have bruxism (a teeth-grinding habit), severe gum disease, or compromised tooth structure, you may not be a good candidate for veneers in the first place.
When it’s all said and done, are the benefits of porcelain veneers worth the cost? For some people, the price tag alone may seem like the ultimate deal-breaker. However, it can’t be denied that veneers produce quick and dramatic results, and their cost is in line with other popular cosmetic procedures. Since veneers can last for decades with only routine care, their durability can also make them a good long-term investment. If you’re thinking about getting veneers, ask your dentist to give you a realistic estimate of the costs of your treatment, and the expected lifespan of your veneers. When you consider the long-term enjoyment and increased self-confidence you could get from a great-looking smile, investing in veneers may prove to be a good value indeed.