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Question: “I am interested in porcelain veneers. Will my dentist have to grind my teeth down, and will the veneers look natural?”

Answer: Porcelain veneers can improve many types of aesthetically compromised smiles. They can often help to correct stained, chipped, crooked, gapped, and cracked teeth. In the majority of cases, some tooth structure must be removed in order to create space for the porcelain. Every case is different, and in order to achieve the desired functional and aesthetic results, some tooth reshaping is usually necessary.

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One of the wonderful things about porcelain veneers, however, is that the veneers are made to fit the existing dentition, making the preparation more conservative than for full crowns. Fortunately, veneers or other all-porcelain restorations can be bonded directly to the remaining tooth structure, which allows dentists to preserve more of the natural tooth.

Modern porcelain veneers fabricated by master ceramists should look very natural. Considerations such as tooth shape, length, contours, “reflective” and “deflective” zones (how light bounces off of different surfaces), a transition of shades, incorporation of color, texture, translucency, and the functionality of the finished product must all be carefully analyzed, discussed, and planned before embarking upon this course of treatment. If not done properly, the fit, function, and/or aesthetics will be compromised.

While some tooth modification is almost always necessary to ensure an excellent result, smile enhancement can be more conservative than ever due to new materials and techniques available today. Porcelain veneers, when fabricated and placed properly, can make obtaining a natural, healthy smile easier and more predictable than ever

The important thing to remember is that porcelain veneers are not a “once size fits all” solution for everyone. Some people just aren’t good candidates for veneers. The more research that you do, and the more questions that you ask your dentist, the happier you’ll be with your decision.