A Lesson on the Types of Porcelain Veneers

photo of porcelain veneer on plain reflective black surface

Porcelain veneers are a wonderful cosmetic restorations that can bring beauty and strength to imperfect teeth. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, cosmetic dentist Dr. James Fondriest can create gorgeous, high-quality porcelain veneers in various styles, that fit the needs and desires of patients.

The First Porcelain Veneers

Charles Pincus used the first porcelain veneers. The restorations were part of a costume that altered an actor’s smile for a photo shoot. Pincus attached these early veneers with a removable bonding agent. Later, more Hollywood celebrities began using the veneers with a more lasting adhesive. Although attractive, these new veneers were replaced frequently.

Different Types of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin “jackets” or sheets of tooth-colored porcelain that are cemented to the front surfaces of your natural teeth. This restorative treatment is effective in addressing a variety of aesthetic issues.  Today, our team at Lake Forest Dental Arts explores the most common porcelain veneers, and how each can create a more attractive look for patients.

#1 e.max

e.max porcelain veneers are the latest in cosmetic porcelain. They offer durability and a natural look for the patient. These veneers are generally made of pressed ceramic. They also come in thin layers, which prevents dentists from drilling teeth. After Dr. Fondriest takes impressions, the e.max veneers are then shaped in wax, to produce the desired shape and design. The wax veneers are then cast, and porcelain is then forced into the mold for the final e.max veneer. This veneer is a popular choice because of its exceptional strength.

#2 Empress

Empress restorations also possess characteristics of natural tooth enamel and can be produced with excellent fit. Two layers compose Empress veneers: a medium-strength pressed ceramic base coping (to provide moderate strength) and a glass layer on top. The Empress veneer is manufactured from a material called IPS Empress® Esthetic. This material is a lucite-reinforced pressed glass ceramic and is offered in a variety of natural colors, ensuring stellar bendability. Empress veneers offer tremendous versatility when it comes to treating cosmetic flaws. Some of the issues addressed by Empress veneers include:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Dental stains
  • Discolored teeth
  • Uneven teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Teeth with varying sizes

Your Empress veneers are long-lasting restorative treatments, that will enable you to enjoy some of your favorite foods.

#3 Feldspathic

Feldspathic veneers produce perhaps the most striking results out of all of these options. Instead of a base being used, the ceramic is custom stacked by a highly-skilled technician. Because these veneers must be specially designed and are more difficult to insert, they are more expensive than other options. Feldspathic veneers are  known for their longevity, strength, endurance, biocompatibility, and esthetics.  They also offer patients exceptionally natural-looking results.

#4 Procera

Procera veneers are composed of two layers: an aluminum oxide base coping which is custom-milled and a feldspathic layer giving it a more esthetic and realistic look. These veneers can look lovely when made by a master ceramist, but they are thicker and require more tooth preparation.

#5 Zirconium

Zirconium has a design similar to Procera. Because the base coping is opaque, more reduction of the tooth is necessary to cover it with more translucent layers of porcelain. If placed incorrectly, zirconium can break easily. These particular veneers will offer the patient a natural appearance, with many shades to choose from.


CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CEramic REConstruction) is popular choice of porcelain veneer, due to its convenience. Restorations are milled in the dental office after the dentist prepares the teeth and takes digital images of them. The ceramic used for CEREC is one color, so it does not mimic natural teeth as closely as other restorations. Surface stains can make CEREC match natural teeth more closely, but they still lend an opacity to the restorations and will wear off in time.

Additionally, another benefit of these veneers is the fact that they are made in a CEREC machine. After your teeth are prepared, an optional scan is taken. Next, a milling machine crafts the veneers right in the dental office, while you wait. Traditional veneers require impressions that must be sent to a lab. This process can take up to three weeks. CEREC veneers are manufactured, and ready for placement, on the same day. It is important to note that Dr. Fondriest does not place CEREC, but offers you information about this popular choice, for your understanding.

Porcelain veneers are created with a high level of skill. The general procedure for the creation of porcelain veneers includes:

  • Diagnosis and Evaluation: During this appointment, you will explain to your dentist the result you would like to achieve with your porcelain veneers. Your teeth will be examined, and digital images of your teeth will be taken.
  • Preparation: During this phase, you and your dentist will decide if a local a local anesthetic is needed for additional comfort. Then, your dentist will remove enamel. Depending on the veneer you are getting, an impression of your tooth will be made.
  • Bonding: Before permanently bonding the veneer to your tooth, it will be evaluated for proper fit and color. There may be several adjustments made until the veneer is perfected. Finally, your final veneer will be affixed to your tooth, permanently using special cement. A light beam will be used to activate the chemicals in the adhesive for bonding and hardening.

Porcelain veneers can remedy several cosmetic flaws. Some of those imperfections include:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Gapped teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Uneven, or poorly shaped or sized teeth

Additionally, porcelain veneers overall benefit to many individuals. Some of these advantages include:

  • Durability
  • Resistance to stains
  • Minimally invasive
  • Easy to maintain

Contact Lake Forest Dental Arts Today

At Lake Forest Dental Arts, we provide each patient with comprehensive dental care and treatments. Patients will be treated with care, compassion, and the utmost respect. For more information about the different types of porcelain veneers, contact us online, or call our Lake Forest, IL office by dialing (847)234-0517. We proudly serve the Chicago metro area, including the Northwest and North Shore suburbs.

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