Porcelain veneers are a popular form of cosmetic dental surgery that adds a very thin shell over the surface of your teeth to improve their color, shape, size, and length. However, tooth reshaping or dental contouring offers many of the same benefits by actually physically altering the appearance of your teeth. Choosing between these two procedures requires understanding the cost investment, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of both.
The material investment in teeth contouring and porcelain veneers can stretch out quite high, depending on which procedure you choose. For example, dental contouring can cost between $50-500 per tooth while dental veneers can cost anywhere from $500-1,100 per tooth for 0.5 millimeter thick veneers and $700-1,300 per tooth for 0.2-0.3 millimeter veneers. Both are considered cosmetic procedures and aren't generally covered by dental insurance.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Dental Contouring
The process of dental contouring offers you a variety of oral health benefits, which include the following:
- Smoother teeth for easier brushing
- More evenly spaced teeth for flossing
- Comparatively, an easier way to fix small problems than porcelain veneers
- A less expensive option than porcelain veneers
These benefits are especially noticeable if you are fixing fairly small and centralized damage on your teeth. However, if the damage to your teeth is more widespread or severe, dental contouring is limited. That's why there are several disadvantages to this procedure, including the following:
- Can only make small changes to your teeth
- The potential for weakening tooth if overused
Benefits and Disadvantages of Porcelain Veneers
- Only two application appointments necessary
- Removes very little tooth enamel (just the thickness of the veneer) before application
- Very "biocompatible" with your gums and teeth, meaning they aren't likely to be rejected
- Fixes major aesthetic damage to your teeth with one procedure
The most obvious disadvantage to porcelain veneers is their previously mentioned high cost. However, they also have a variety of other disadvantages, including these reasons:
- Cannot be removed or reversed
- Cannot be repaired if chipped or cracked
- Can cause more sensitive teeth
- Rarely exactly match the color of your teeth
- May decay over time
Making the Choice
If your teeth are heavily damaged and you have a lot of money to spend, porcelain veneers are the way to go. They can quickly and easily correct your smile and get you looking great in just two visits. However, if you only need minor correction and don't have a lot of cash to spend, try teeth contouring. Both are good procedures and, with proper care (such as avoiding grinding your teeth and brushing regularly), they can last a lifetime.
If you want to know more about either of these procedures before choosing one, talk to your cosmetic dentists as soon as possible. They can help sort through any confusion you may still have regarding these procedures.