The Evolution of Veneers: A Cosmetic Dentist Explains How Much the Smile Mainstay Has Improved Even in the Past Decade

For Los Angeles cosmetic dentist Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, personalization and low-stress visits are a welcome combination for patients and prospective patients who come to her looking for a smile makeover. One of her favorite procedures to perform: veneers, which she has down to a very natural, very confidence-enhancing science.

How have veneers changed over the past decade or two?

“Veneers have not only changed in the aesthetic design, but also in the materials they’re made of in the last 20 years. Long gone are the days of the square, uniform, boxy-looking veneers made of a single shade like a Chiclet bubblegum. Those who are looking to enhance their smiles with veneers commonly look for something that does not look ‘fake,’—and rightfully so, as I am in the mindset that natural never goes out of style.

A natural-appearing smile is timeless, and when you adjudge for a smile makeover for yourself, or any cosmetic surgery for that matter, it’s always best to stick to a look that’s going to be amazing today, and just as good ten or twenty years from now.

Veneers used to be made of pure porcelain, or various other ceramics like lithium disilicates or leucite porcelain. Different ceramics can be used as each have different flexural strengths, so the advancement in the uses of ceramic materials over the years have really increased the lifespan of Veneers as they have become a lot more durable.”

Is there anything patients are typically surprised to learn about the process?

“The process of a well-created veneer can be lengthy. It generally is a two-to- three appointment process that takes about two hours at each appointment, depending on the complexity. Patients are placed in temporary veneers while the ceramist is making the veneers. The temporaries can be irritating to gums and make your teeth sensitive, but those symptoms typically resolve as soon as the final veneers are on. Maintenance of veneers is also incredibly important. We always highly advise patients to come for cleanings every three-to-four months, wear a veneer guard or night guard while they sleep, and practice excellent oral hygiene at home to keep the veneers looking healthy longer.”

What makes your design process of veneers so unique?

“If you take the perfect smile you found in a magazine, and place that smile in your mouth, it will most likely look strange and far from perfect. That’s because the dimensions of veneers are unique to each individual smile. A tooth’s height, width, color, and shape depend on so much of the individual’s facial structure so that the final result maintains its natural appearance. When we design veneers, we are using patient photos, patient videos of them speaking and smiling, and overlaying our design digitally to their faces. We then use software to digitally fabricate the veneers for the best esthetic result.”

Are there any patient cases or stories that really stick out in your mind?

“Every veneer case done has a backstory—it could be a traumatic accident that led to broken front teeth, or genetic discoloration of teeth, past dental work that simply needs an upgrade, or even some who just want to enhance what they have. Some of my favorite makeovers are the ones that require a little more than ceramics and porcelain to do the trick but require perhaps surgery to really create that full smile. I enjoy surgery, and I love performing a wide range of treatments to get that full esthetic result, such as implants or gum lifts. Makeovers that are heavily involved and need tooth extractions, implants, veneers, crowns, and bridges, all in the same treatment are incredibly challenging but the most fun for me.

A recent case I had was a grandfather that was embarrassed to smile at his grandchildren because they thought he looked ‘angry’ all the time. His case required extraction of loose teeth, placement of implants as well as veneers and crowns, and his result was incredible. Now he cannot stop smiling, and that confidence not only makes you happier, but also brightens the day of those around you as well.”

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