Cosmetic Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions

What are porcelain veneers?

Veneers are thin, durable slivers of porcelain that are fabricated in a lab. They are bonded to the front of natural teeth in order to change the size, shape, position, color, edges, and/or surface texture of your smile.

What is composite bonding?

Composite is a tooth-colored filling material that is bonded and shaped directly to the tooth to enhance aesthetics. They are not as durable or color-stable as porcelain, and will stain and dull over time.

How do I choose between composite and porcelain?

If the needed changes are minor and the teeth function properly, composite bonding is an excellent choice. If teeth are crooked, broken, dark, or if you have a history of clenching/grinding your teeth, more durable, porcelain veneers may be the best option.

How long do veneers last?

Veneers can last 10 or more years without chipping or breaking, and sometimes much longer if cared for properly. Like any dental restoration however, issues may arise sooner if not properly maintained. Routine cleanings and exams are highly recommended.

Will my teeth look fake?

Not unless you want them to! We utilize digital smile designs and smile mock-ups to help us conceptualize your individual dental goals. We give patients the option to choose between regaining the smile they “used to have”, or getting a smile they’ve “never had”. We utilize some of the highest quality dental technicians in the country, where hand-made restorations are fabricated with such natural-looking esthetics, they can be imperceivable to the naked eye.  

Do you need to drill my tooth down?

Our office prioritizes minimally invasive treatment options. We do everything we can to minimize the amount of preparation done to teeth, but often, teeth will need to be slightly reduced to avoid thick, bulky, and/or unnatural looking veneers. In some rare cases, little to no drilling can be done, and sometimes without anesthesia! The amount of “drilling” will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will be discussed with you before treatment begins.

What is gum contouring?

The shape of your gums are just as important to the harmony of your smile as the teeth are! Sometimes, minimal gum contouring, also known as a “gum lift” or a gingivectomy, is needed to enhance the way the gums frame the teeth.  

Does any of this hurt?

Typically patients are numb (locally) for the treatment process, so there should be no pain experienced at all. Patients can, however, expect some soreness of their gums and possibly the jaw due to lengthy procedure times. This can generally be alleviated with over the counter medications.

Why is this all so expensive?

The words “cosmetic dentistry” can be used very loosely in our industry. At 450 Aesthetics smiles are individually designed based on your unique facial characteristics. Our brand of cosmetic dentistry requires extensive planning, and absolutely nothing is cookie-cutter. We partner with the highest-end laboratory technicians across the country that hand fabricate porcelain to accurately mimic the properties of mother nature. There is no compromise on materials or technique. 

How can I pay for my new smile?

We understand this is a large investment, and we want to help ease the burden. For qualifying individuals, we offer up to 12 month payment plans...with no APR or finance charges through CareCredit. Our goal is to help make your dream smile a reality. 

How do I care for my new smile?

While the materials used for porcelain veneers are incredibly strong, people are capable of breaking even their natural teeth. Routine cleanings, exams, and x-rays are a must. If you see a dentist/hygienist outside of our office, remind them that porcelain and composite should NOT be polished in the same manner as natural teeth. A low grit, low abrasive paste is required to help preserve its polish. 

All veneer cases receive a retainer to help protect them at night. Hard acrylic nightguards are recommended in some cases. During the day, help maximize the longevity of your restorations by minimizing wear and tear. DO NOT chew ice and avoid extremely hard foods such as peanut brittle and hard nuts. Teeth are NOT tools. Do use them to open bags, hold small objects, or tear/break things other than food.

We look forward to meeting you.

Call 415.398.0411 to set up your first visit.

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