If you’re looking to make a cosmetic change to your mouth but don’t want a full set of implants, porcelain veneers might be a great choice. This simple process can completely restore the appearance of your teeth. Here are ten things you didn’t know about the procedure:

1) Veneers Aren’t Just for Cracked Teeth

A veneer is a thin shell of material (in this case, porcelain) that covers the surface of your tooth. This process is commonly used to cover chipped or cracked teeth, but it can be done for a variety of other reasons. Some patients have veneers installed to fix teeth that are discolored, misshapen, the wrong size, or even pointed in the wrong direction. The entire goal is to give you a smile you can be proud of.

2) Porcelain Veneers Are Wafer Thin

The ceramic veneers attached to your teeth are extremely thin – so thin, you can often see through them before they are attached. After the veneers have been installed and the mouth has healed, most patients can’t even tell the difference between the veneers and their natural teeth.

3) Teeth Come in Different Shades

From a distance, you might not be able to tell the difference, but teeth actually come in different shades of off-white. Most teeth have either yellow or blue undertones. Your dentist’s goal is to craft veneers that match your other teeth and compliment your skin tone to create the perfect smile.

4) Your First Set of Veneers Are Temporary

Veneers are a cosmetic procedure, so it’s important to make sure that you like the way they look. Your dentist will order a set of temporary molds for you to try on and wear for about a week. After that, you can decide if there’s anything you want to change, and the final veneers are made and implanted.

5) Staining Makes Veneers Look Better

When porcelain veneers are first crafted, they are a bright shade of ceramic white. The laboratory then applies artificial wear and staining to give them a natural appearance. When the veneer is added to your mouth, you won’t even be able to tell the difference.

6) Tooth Prep is Less Severe than You Think

Your teeth need to be prepped to have veneers attached. This usually involves shaving a small amount off the surface of the tooth, but that amount is often less than half a millimeter. The amount shaved off is about the same thickness as the veneer, so the result is a tooth that looks just like the ones around it.

7) Porcelain Is a Safe Option

Porcelain is used for veneers for two main reasons: appearance and safety. Porcelain doesn’t stain easily, and is already similar in color and appearance to your natural teeth. On top of that, porcelain doesn’t cause allergic reactions, so it’s safe to put in your mouth.

8) Your Mouth Needs to Heal

Porcelain veneers are a dental implant, and your gums will need time to heal around them. This process goes quickly if you are gentle with your teeth; watch what you eat and remember to brush