The Magic of Veneers

The Magic of Veneers

With these thin porcelain coatings on your teeth, you can brighten, straighten, and even correct spaces in your teeth, says Dr. Thomas Dudney. And they last 20 years.


“There’s a myriad of reasons to get veneers,” says Thomas E. Dudney, DMD, from his practice in Birmingham, who’s applied tens of thousands of veneers over the past 20 years. “Many patients are surprised at the kind of compliments they get. They expect better smiles, but the veneers exceed their expectations.”


What are veneers exactly? “They’re a thin shell of porcelain bonded to each tooth that allows you to change its shape and color,” describes Dr. Dudney. “They’re very thin, about .5mm, like the thickness of a fake fingernail.”


Why would I want them? “Veneers can change tooth color, but, in addition, you can fix spaces between teeth or short, crooked or overlapped teeth too,” says Dr. Dudney. “They can restore the look of your teeth to their natural size and shape.”


Are they better than bleaching? “Bleach only works on enamel, so if you have exposed dentin or don’t have thick enamel or it’s worn, eroded or cracked, bleaching isn’t beneficial. But veneers work, and work well if done well,” explains Dr. Dudney.


What’s the best part? “Women over 50 get surprised by how veneers support their lips and soft tissue around the mouth,” says Dr. Dudney. “They make their lips look fuller and decrease wrinkles around their mouth and lips.”


Can anyone get them? “There’s a very small percentage who aren’t candidates for veneers if it’s financially affordable for them,” states Dr. Dudney. “They need enough tooth to hold the veneer, but I don’t think there’s anyone who’s too old for them.” His oldest veneer patient so far was 86.


How’s it done? “Because the veneers are so thin, there’s very minimal drilling to make space for the veneers to fit on the tooth,” says Dr. Dudney. “Initially, we fit you with temporaries to check that your bite and speech aren’t affected. Then two to three weeks later you come back, and we bond the finished veneers in place.”


Don’t skimp here. “You can’t do just a couple of teeth, especially if you’re changing color or size and shape, so expense is a factor,” explains Dr. Dudney. Veneers generally run hundreds per tooth minimum and can reach over $10,000 for the 8 to 10 teeth you should have done initially. “This is not something you want to price shop for, and it can be thousands of dollars in difference per tooth,” continues Dr. Dudney. “But we expect them to last 20 years, and that’s a long time to be unhappy.”


How do I choose the right dentist to do my veneers? “If you’re going to make a major investment like this, find a dentist who’s shown they’re willing to spend the time to learn about these procedures in-depth,” suggests Dr. Dudney. Also ask to look at their before-and-after book of their patients, not the purchased books they can buy from the manufacturers.

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Thomas Dudney, click here.

For more on Thomas E. Dudney Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry in Birmingham, click here.

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