Few of us have perfect teeth after permanent ones come in. You might not have needed braces as a child, but some teeth could be a bit crooked, misshapen, too small or too long. There may be slight gaps between them that make you hesitant to fully smile. Over time, you may also find your teeth have been ground down or been chipped.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to all these conditions and other causes of imperfect smiles: porcelain veneers.

These thin pieces of cosmetic porcelain (similar to what vases are made of, but much stronger) are placed on the front of teeth and matched to the same shade as the natural teeth. Many celebrities (including George Clooney and Hilary Duff) have been reported to have used veneers to create their gleaming Hollywood smiles.

Porcelain veneers can also hide deep stains that cannot be easily removed. There are also many reasons teeth might get discolored, according to WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-discoloration.

The most common are simply drinking too much coffee, tea, and red wine without brushing and flossing soon afterward. But even apples and potatoes can stain. Smoking and chewing tobacco are culprits, as well.

Antibiotics, antihistamines, drugs for high blood pressure, chemotherapy, and mouthwashes with chlorohexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride discolor. Even excessive fluoride, whether from water or too much use of toothpastes and rinses with it, can do the same thing. A dead root can make a tooth seem dark or if it has been treated with a root canal, the yellow dentin surrounding it may appear through the translucent white enamel on the surface. The same can happen with age, as the enamel gradually fails to mask the dentin. Patients with these conditions may be advised to have a professional whitening done in advance of placing veneers (over-the-counter products will not be adequate).

Dr. Marine cautions those who opt for this solution to be careful not to damage veneers and their teeth by using them to tear open packages, chew on nails or pens. or pull on clothing. If you grind your teeth during sleep, Pacific Dental Care can create a custom mouthguard to prevent damage.

Some other practices use discount dental labs and inferior materials to create their veneers, but Dr. Marine has a reputation for providing porcelain veneers that, with proper care, can last as long as 10-15 years.