Porcelain veneers are one of the most effective cosmetic dental options to improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth and get the smile you desire. Veneers are a porcelain cover placed over the front surface of healthy teeth to improve their color, shape and appearance without affecting their structure. Porcelain veneers are an expensive dental restoration and insurance coverage is generally not available for veneers for cosmetic reasons. But there are non-cosmetic reasons to provide veneers and if the dentist documents medical necessity, even veneers can be a covered service. Dental billing companies are well aware of the coding and billing considerations for dental veneers.
The American Dental Association describes veneers as “a permanent change used to correct tooth imperfections, such as stained or chipped teeth”. Dental veneers are ultra-thin shell made of natural tooth-colored porcelain or composite that is fixed over the front surfaces of the teeth to correct various issues and improve appearance. The placement of porcelain veneers is usually a pain-free procedure. They are a great option for people who are looking to resolve concerns such as:
- Teeth that are discolored as a result of root canal treatment, stains from medications, excessive fluoride, large resin fillings, and other reasons.
- Teeth that are worn down, chipped or cracked
- Misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped teeth
- Uneven teeth, gaps, and crowding
Veneers are expensive and permanent, and you need to evaluate their pros and cons before going ahead. First, let’s look at what would make you a good candidate for porcelain veneers.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Porcelain Veneers?
Generally, you are ideal candidate for porcelain veneers if you have badly stained teeth and minor imperfections that you want to correct. An ideal candidate for this dental procedure would have:
- Chipped, discoloured, fractured or undersized teeth
- Healthy, decay-free teeth
- No indications of gum disease
- Proper bite alignment
- Sufficient amounts of tooth enamel to support the veneer
- No history of habitually grinding or clenching the teeth
- Good oral hygiene practices
Now that you have the basic information, you can make an informed decision about getting porcelain veneers by carefully considering their pros and cons.
Porcelain veneers can brighten your smile, fix minor cosmetic concerns, and replace worn enamel.
- Address worn enamel concerns: Certain foods and beverages can cause tooth enamel to become worn or dull over time. Tooth enamel can become worn out due to genetic reasons. As opalescent porcelain veneers replicate the translucency of real enamel, they are ideal for restoring smiles affected by enamel abrasion or enamel erosion. By covering your teeth, veneers also provide protection from tooth sensitivity.
- Look and feel natural: To make your porcelain veneers, your dentist will take impressions taken directly from your teeth. The veneers are then carefully crafted to look and feel natural in your mouth. You won’t notice anything different when you are talking, eating, or doing anything with your teeth. As veneers look natural, no one will know you had the work done unless you tell them.
- Durable and long lasting: Porcelain veneers have a long-lasting finish, are mostly stain-resistant, and are strong enough to tolerate biting force. They are actually harder than natural enamel and if cared for well, can last up to 10-15 years on average.
- Provide quick, customized results: Dental veneers are a highly effective and easy way to improve the appearance of your teeth. They provide instant results and getting them fixed would take just a few weeks with just 2-3 appointments with your dentist. At the initial consultation, your teeth will be evaluated and the nature of the issue to be corrected will be identified. An impression will be taken of your teeth and their color will be recorded. As veneers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and shades, your dentist will work with you to find the perfect color and fit. You will be provided with temporary veneers till your permanent ones are ready. Very little preparation is required before veneers are fitted as they are customized and contoured to bond with your teeth.
- Overcome wear and tear issues: Aging can cause natural wear and tear of the teeth and they can develop chips and cracks and discoloration. While improving your smile, porcelain veneers help improve the overall strength of your teeth by providing a durable layer to their outer surface. Veneers can restore the natural appearance of your teeth and also make them look and feel better.
- Fix gaps between front teeth: If small teeth gaps are spoiling your smile, you can count on veneers to fix the problem. Veneers last longer than bonding, another option to fix gaps. A small amount to surface enamel will be removed on either side of the gap and a porcelain veneer will be designed to fill the gap. Veneers last longer than bonding, another option to fill teeth gaps.
- Promote better oral care: Veneers promote better dental hygiene. You will be better motivated to take care of your newly acquired beautiful smile with proper brushing and flossing. This extra attention will help keep your teeth and gums in good condition. Your dentist will explain how you can maintain your veneers. Make sure to schedule regular dental checkups to keep your veneers looking beautiful
Like all dental restorations, porcelain veneers have their downsides.
- Cost: One of the major disadvantages of porcelain veneers is their cost. As they are typically provided for cosmetic reasons, veneers are not covered by dental insurance plans. Highly durable, robust veneers are very expensive and affordable veneers have a shorter lifespan. Factors affecting the price of porcelain veneers include the type of veneer used, the number of teeth restored, the location of the dental practice, and the cosmetic dentist’s work experience. If additional dental treatments are required as part of your porcelain veneer treatment, the total costs will be higher. Many practices offer discounts and financing plans for dental veneers and other procedures.
- Breakage cannot be fixed: Porcelain veneers can chip and crack. After veneer placement, some people experience an increase in tooth sensitivity to heat and cold, though this can be managed with specific products. If these veneers break, it may be difficult to fix them and they may have to be replaced.
- Irreversible: The dentist has to remove a thin layer of enamel from the teeth before fitting porcelain veneers over them. As the enamel cannot be restored, dental veneers are irreversible. Many veneers have to be replaced after a period of 10-15 years. You can opt for another type of dental restoration solution.
- Risk of tooth damage: Though it happens rarely, the underlying dentin can become damaged when the enamel is being removed. Also, a veneer that are not properly fitted can affect bite alignment, and leading to tooth sensitivity, discomfort while eating, and in extreme cases, even jaw pain.
- Shorter life span: Compared to bridges and dental crowns, veneers have a much shorter lifespan. The reason is because veneers are thinner than crowns. Also, if there was some enamel erosion during the first treatment, there may not be sufficient material for a second fitting.
- Usually serve only cosmetic purposes: Veneers usually serve only cosmetic purposes, and your dentist will likely recommend crowns if you have decay, cracks, or excessive wear. Porcelain veneers cannot be used for restoring badly failing teeth.
Knowing dental insurance companies’ policies and performing dental insurance verification is crucial for dental practices to get proper reimbursement for any treatment. Outsourcing dental billing to an experienced service provider can help practices get paid while they provide patients with the best options for their needs.