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How Many Porcelain Veneers Do I Need to Improve My Smile?

Are you surprised to hear that the answer is somewhere along the lines of “That depends . . . “?

If you’ve read our blogs for very long, you will not be surprised by that answer.  At Designer Smiles, we create customized smiles using porcelain veneers for each individual patient.  We never use a one-size-fits-all approach to cosmetic dentistry, which is why we can never give you a straight answer to a question such as this.

How Do Porcelain Veneers Improve a Smile?

A porcelain veneer changes the appearance of a tooth by covering the entire visible surface.  Like an overlay, the veneer rests on the front face of a tooth and recreates the size, shape, color, and texture.  Your dentist determines the desired final result of each individual tooth and then adjusts the underlying tooth as needed to make room for the porcelain.  (This is the “preparation” step of veneers.)

After taking a perfect replica (either in the form of a detailed mold or digital 3D scan) of the prepared tooth, Dr. Ann communicates to the dental lab technician exactly what the desired result of the tooth is.  Our highly skilled certified lab technician then creates the porcelain veneer or veneers according to the design agreed upon by Dr. Ann and the patient.  When the veneers return to our office, Dr. Ann permanently attaches them to your teeth, thus creating your beautiful new smile!

Why Do Some People Need Only a Few, and Others Need Up to Twenty Veneers?

The number of veneers necessary to create your beautiful smile depends on the current state of your teeth.  We can transform a smile with only two veneers on unnaturally small lateral incisors in some cases.  In others, we need to cover all visible teeth in a smile, which can include up to twenty teeth!  In general, we can give you a few broad categories that will point you in the direction of fewer or more porcelain veneers.

Smiles that May Require Fewer Veneers

In order to determine if your case could require fewer than a full complement of veneers, you need to assess each individual tooth closely.  What is it you do not like about your smile?  Are there one or two teeth that seem to be too small, misshapen, or off in color?  If you are happy with the appearance of the majority of your teeth, including the shape, size and color, we may be able to improve your smile by covering only those teeth you do not like.

This is often the case with a condition deemed “peg laterals”.  The lateral incisors are the two small teeth on both sides of the front two teeth (the central incisors) and inside the canines.  These teeth commonly suffer from congenital conditions making them irregularly shaped or too small relative to the other teeth.  If these are the only two teeth in your smile that you do not like, peg laterals are a wonderful case for two veneers!

Smiles that May Require More Veneers

You can answer those same questions to determine whether more smiles may be necessary to achieve your goals.  Dr. Ann is highly skilled in blending porcelain veneers with your natural teeth.  However, the best result will come through covering all the visible teeth in some scenarios.  When we need a true smile makeover, you should consider a minimum of six teeth.

Six porcelain veneers tends to be the standard choice for many veneer cases, but this can lead to a different cosmetic problem in which the smile appears narrow because the teeth behind the six veneers just disappear from the smile.  Dr. Ann may recommend that you cover an additional tooth on each side, for a total of eight veneers, to achieve the most natural appearing smile.

If the majority of your teeth have dark discolorations, you may want to cover every visible tooth on both top and bottom dental arches, which can add up to twenty veneers!  The same goes for teeth that have suffered severe breakdown, becoming chipped, shortened, or flattened over the years.

Closely evaluate each tooth in the mirror.  If the number of teeth you are happy with (in color, size, and shape) is three or less, you will likely need six or more veneers.

How Can I Find Out How Many Veneers I Need to Improve My Smile?

While we can give you a general idea via blog content, in order to know a true projection of how many veneers you should have, we need to see you for a cosmetic consultation.  Dr. Ann has created thousands of beautiful smiles using porcelain veneers, and each one is unique.  During a cosmetic assessment, she will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums, intraoral tissues and jaw joints.  She will closely review dental x-rays and high-definition photos of the teeth.  As she compiles all of the data gathered about your smile, she will also factor in your smile goals.

Communication plays an extremely important role in the success of cosmetic dentistry.  Our goal is not to create what we think is beautiful.  Our goal is to create what you think is beautiful.  Because we know that there is a wide range of opinions on what makes for a beautiful smile, we closely focus on communication.

After communicating well so that Dr. Ann understands your overall goals, she can combine this with the information she has gathered about your smile and propose a treatment to meet those goals!

More Questions about Porcelain Veneers?

Call Designer Smiles today to schedule a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Ann.  She will work with you to determine your treatment options and help you choose the one that is right for you.