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Have you ever considered a smile makeover? Maybe even with a cosmetic dentist here in San Diego?

I was unhappy with my teeth for a long time, and I finally decided to get porcelain veneers to fix them. I chose to go with Dr. Sarah Winter, who is actually a La Jolla cosmetic dentist, and the whole experience was so much easier than I thought it would be.

Because of this, I really wanted to share my personal experience with anyone who may be considering getting a smile makeover of their own!

Porcelain Veneers Before and After

My crooked teeth had bothered me for a while and I used to think that getting braces or Invisalign were my only options. When I had my consult with Dr. Winter she showed me real examples of porcelain veneers before and after and explained the whole process to me in depth.

(I’ll be sharing my actual before and after photos shortly too!)

As a nurse, I definitely had a ton of questions in mind. I was a little apprehensive about electing a procedure like this, but after my consult with Dr. Winter, I felt very comfortable to move forward.

Here are some answers to the questions that I had myself. I’m sure you’ll find these find helpful when making the decision to get your own porcelain veneers.

Ok, let’s just get it out of the way and start with the question that’s on everyone’s mind.

I’m smiling a lot brighter these days! Read on for the full experience. 🙂

How much do porcelain veneers cost?

This is different from patient to patient because it really depends on how manyporcelain veneers that you actually need. It could be more or less than you think. (Spoiler alert: I needed less than I thought!)

You should always have a consultation first and have the dentist help you discover the best solution that fits both your smile makeover objectives and your personal budget.

The best way to know for sure is to book a free consultation. It’s literally free so you have nothing to lose. If you’re in the area, then go ahead and make an appointment to meet in person.

Dr. Winter also offers a super cool virtual consultation where you can get all of your questions answered for free in 3 easy steps!

Your Consult for Porcelain Veneers

First, you’ll have a consult with Dr. Winter either online or in person. Mine was in person because I live close, but you can easily start with an online consultation.

This is where you’ll talk through all of the issues that are bothering you with your teeth. She was able to address all of mine with a personalized solution that would fit into my busy lifestyle.

Since my main issue with my teeth was that they were crooked, she first suggested orthodontics such as braces or Invisalign. I’ve already had my experience with braces when I was in high school.

After wearing braces for 2 years, I didn’t end up wearing my retainer after they were taken off. So they pretty much moved back to where they were before I ever got the braces. Years of my teenage life wasted, just to go back to crooked teeth.

I didn’t like wearing my retainer because it was uncomfortable and not at all convenient in my opinion. To me, Invisalign just seemed like just another rendition of me having to wear a retainer that I wasn’t going to stick with. I’d considered Invisalign before considering veneers and wasn’t sold on it because of that reason.

My two top front teeth were my main concern, and I also had a few teeth on the bottom that were out of place too. The two top front teeth were turned outward at the edges and sticking out when you saw me from my side profile.

Sometimes from the front, you couldn’t see it as much, but then some photos looked really bad. It would really just depend on the angle and the way the light would hit them. It seemed minimal, but it was just enough to keep bothering me.

Me on the right with braces in high school. My best friend April & I both had them.

My crooked teeth before veneers

My crooked teeth before veneers

I’m a person who is always smiling and showing my teeth, especially these days for photos. Even though my teeth weren’t horrible, this was something that was bothering me a lot.​

After we discussed all of my options, I chose to go with just 4 veneers at the top. Then she would simply reshape my crooked teeth at the bottom to make them more visibly straight and even, without needing any other interventions.

So instead of needing 8 veneers as I thought, now I only needed 4. I felt that this was the right solution for me and for my busy lifestyle since I knew I wouldn’t wear the Invisalign.

If you know yourself and you know that you’d wear your Invisalign trays consistently then maybe this option would be great for you! If you’re looking for Invisalign in San Diego, Dr. Winter can actually help you with this too.

I chose to go ahead with the porcelain veneers because it was basically like “Instant Ortho” as Dr. Winter described it. That sounded much more like something that I’d be willing to invest in and that would be more of a fit for me personally.

So with that being said, my next question was…

My “Before” photo of my crooked teeth. I initially thought I’d need 4 veneers at the top & 4 more on the bottom. Plus she helped me with this ugly crown in the back!

Are Veneers Permanent?

The short answer is YES! The longer answer is that they are just like your real teeth and they will incur wear and tear in the same ways that your real teeth would.

I asked Dr. Winter if I’d need to do anything special to replace these over the years. Her answer was honest and simple. “They are just like your real teeth. They can decay, chip, and wear down, just your real teeth would. As long as you take care of them they will last you a very long time, just like your real teeth.”

My next question was…

“So if I get porcelain veneers put in and then take care of them like I would my normal teeth, then they should last me forever, right?”

Her answer, “Yes, they are permanent and they are cemented in. Take care of them as you would your own teeth and you’ll be totally fine to keep them in and healthy for life.”

That worked for me. I get my teeth cleaned every six months on a schedule and own an electric toothbrush that I love, so I felt fine about going ahead with the next step.

How my smile looked “Before” in regular photos. It was bothering me a lot.

Taking Impressions for Veneers

Since I was already in the office, we went ahead and took impressions of my teeth that day. You basically just bite down on a gooey substance for 3 minutes until it hardens and you’re done.

We also took some “before” photos so that I could easily see my porcelain veneers before and after. After that, we made an appointment to place my temporaries.

Getting Your Temporary Veneers

Today is the day that you’ll go home with straight teeth, YAY! She wasn’t kidding about Instant Ortho. It was the best! 🙂

Getting your temporary veneers takes some time. First, you’ll talk through the whole process, and then you’ll numb of course. After that, you can zone out, listen to music, or read on your phone while they get to work on your new smile makeover.

This is probably the longest appointment that you’ll have. I think I was there for a little over 3 hours getting my temporary veneers. Luckily Dr. Winter’s office has free parking in La Jolla. So parking is one less thing you’ll need to worry about on this day.

Your lips and teeth will be numb when you leave. I recommend eating before your appointment so that you can take your time to start eating again afterward. It takes an hour or two for the numbing to completely wear off. You’ll also want to be very careful biting into things like bread or sandwiches.

Once you’re home you’re ready for the next step.

Completely unedited photo of my new temporaries.

Whitening Teeth Before Veneers

Dr. Winter sent me home with whitening trays and an oral care kit. I was to whiten my teeth every day and keep them ultra clean and healthy before we placed my porcelain veneers on forever.

The whitening trays were created from the impressions of my teeth so they fit perfectly and were very comfortable. I wore them for up to an hour a day so that my natural teeth would be white and bright.

This is the whitening kit I used for the rest of my natural teeth while in the temporaries.

The simple cleaning kit pre-prepared for me to use at home while I had my temporaries.

We would then match the final color of my natural teeth to the color of my permanent veneers. This prevents any fake looking teeth or what some call the “chicklets” look.

In addition to brushing, I also cleaned my teeth morning and night with a pre-prepared syringe of hydrogen peroxide with a tiny brush on the end. Three days prior to placing the veneers, I’d simply do the same thing but with with a Chlorhexidine solution.

All of these were pre-prepared for me, so I just had to remember to do it after brushing my teeth every morning and night. Easy peezy.

Matching Veneers to Your Real Teeth

After I had been whitening for almost a week, I popped into Dr. Winter’s office to do a final color match before my porcelain veneers would officially be made by the ceramicist.

My natural teeth were whitening nicely. Together, Dr. Winter and I decided on the right shade that would be beautifully bright white but also very natural looking.

This is also the time that I was able to make any changes to the shape and overall look of my permanent veneers. After we decided on the final look and feel, Dr. Winter assured me not to worry because we would try them on at my next appointment. At that time I could still make even more changes if I chose to.

We would make sure that I was 100% happy with the entire look and feel before we would move forward with cementing them on for good. I felt good about the entire process and was excited to complete the final stage.

Choosing the perfect color for the final new look.

The Final Veneers Procedure

Today is the day that you’ll get your permanently straight teeth that’ll stay white forever! Happy dance! 🙂

I was ready to go and had a nice breakfast that morning. Since I knew to eat before my appointment, I didn’t have to worry about trying to eat while being numb later. I arrived at Dr. Winter’s beautiful office in La Jolla, and we “tried on” the porcelain veneers.

We took some time to look at them from every little possible angle. I sat up, laid down, went into the natural light and even the artificial light. I wanted to be 100% sure before we cemented them on forever.

Here’s a look at my “After” photos.

“After” – Straight white teeth

They looked perfect and I felt like we nailed it on the first shot. Dr. Winter went ahead with placing them on. It was a bit similar to my appointment when she placed the temporaries.

Shortly after, I left with the perfect smile. My smile was now naturally straight with no more crooked teeth, and they shined bright but not too white.

I made my appointment for about a month out to do my final follow up where we would polish them and make sure that all was well with my new smile makeover.

So the last question that you’ll probably be asking me is…

Completely unedited photo of my teeth “After” the final veneers were placed.

Are veneers worth it?

In my opinion, YES! I’m very happy with my new smile makeover. I’ve already noticed the difference in my photos. It’s slight, but I already feel more confident and I’d totally do it again.

I feel really grateful that I chose Dr. Winter as my cosmetic dentist. She was extremely knowledgeable as a dentist, but most of all she was just a very kind person who always made me feel at ease. She answered each of my little concerns graciously and always made me feel very comfortable throughout the entire process.

Your teeth are such an important part of your body and you’ll want to make the right choice when choosing a doctor for this type of personal procedure. Make sure to do your research and get all of your questions answered so that you’ll have the best possible outcome.

If you’re interested in veneers or any other cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Winter has been kind enough to offer a 10% discount to all of my readers!

If you have any questions about my procedure, then I’d be happy to answer them in the comments. Better yet, get your own FREE virtual consult with Dr. Winter here!

Be sure to tell her that I sent you so that you can get your reader discount!

Special thanks to Dr. Sarah Winter for collaborating with me on this cosmetic procedure. As always, all opinions are my own.

I highly recommend Dr. Sarah Winter if you’re considering a smile makeover in San Diego.

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