Dental veneers are a popular choice for many people -- they can be used to alter appearance or to treat some dental issues. The most common material for veneers is ceramic; more recently, though, people are turning to porcelain, a more expensive form of veneer that solves some of the problems related to ceramic veneers.
Veneers can be used to replace bleaching or orthodontic treatment if those cosmetic procedures have been ineffective. They are classified as a more conservative approach because the veneer is usually placed on top of an existing natural tooth, allowing its original structure to be maintained.
Ceramic veneers require that the tooth surface be shaved to allow the space for the veneer. After the tooth is prepared, the procedure cannot be reversed. Studies have shown ceramic veneers to be very effective for both cosmetic and medicinal purposes; in one study, over the course of five years, 93 percent of subjects required no intervention treatment and all of the subjects retained their veneers.
Because the porcelain used is so thin, the procedure for porcelain veneers does not require a tooth to be prepared by shaving it down. It eliminates the need for anesthetic and for several appointments as is required with the conventional process. Porcelain veneers have been shown to retain quality during the long term. They will still eventually require replacement, just as ceramic veneers do.