While porcelain veneers have been used for esthetic purposes, porcelain veneers are now the perfect substitute for crowns on front teeth, when a tooth is badly damaged. Modern literature and research have clearly established that a tooth has better rigidity, durability, and health when the majority of the tooth is preserved while repairing it. This is especially important with smaller teeth, like the front teeth. For more than 2 decades, progressive dentists have been repairing badly damaged and fractured teeth with veneers versus crowns. Fig. 1 shows a case of a dental fracture treated with crowns vs. Fig. 2, which shows a case of fractured tooth treated with veneers (Fig. 3).
When used for cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers should follow the Merriam-Webster definition of the word “veneer” – “a thin layer of wood or other material that is attached to the surface of something in order to make it look better.” Cosmetic porcelain veneers should be just that: a thin layer to make the teeth prettier. The revolution of bonded adhesion makes this possible, so all that is necessary is roughing up the surface of the tooth (about ¼ – ½ mm on average, like the thinness of a finger nail), to create a nice bonding surface and make enough room for the veneer so that it does not bulk up the teeth too much.
Veneers also should stay supra-gingival. There is no need to hide the margin of a veneer below the gum line, as modern materials of porcelain and bonding are translucent and very pretty. It is important that the dentist knows and understands these modern materials and how to bond them properly, so as to preserve tooth structure for the patient and stay above the gum line during the procedure.