I Got Veneers for the First Time—Here's What It's Like

I've made a lot of jokes about getting veneers, like that my new nickname would be George Washington or that if I were murdered and my body were ever found, my old dental records would be useless. But the decision to permanently alter my teeth isn't fodder for comedy—it's one I hold near and dear.

We all have our own qualms about our looks. For me, my teeth have always been a pain point. I never had braces growing up (a suggestion never made by my dentist despite some minor crookedness), and their shape was small and a bit jagged. Of course, these are all characteristics that stuck out like a sore thumb to me, but others insisted I was being hard on myself. In any event, I found myself hiding my teeth with my lips when I laughed or giving a meek, close-mouthed smile to strangers. I stopped showing teeth in pictures altogether. And with my wedding coming up in a few months, the anxiety grew about hiding my teeth on arguably the most-photographed day of my life, so I decided to "shop" around for my new smile.

I visited a bunch of different dentists, one who even suggested we shave my teeth down to little pointed nubs and cover them with crowns (yikes!), and finally made my way to Michael Apa, DDS, a serendipitous discovery if I've ever had one. He's responsible for some of the most beautiful smiles on the red carpet, and, lucky for me, I was able to have him work on my own smile. After evaluating my teeth and listening to my own hopes and dreams for their future look, Apa explained he'd apply veneers on the top and bottom of my teeth (10 on the top and four on the bottom front). This did not involve whittling the teeth down to nothing, but instead removing a bit off the front before placing a veneer about the thickness of a fingernail on top.

During the consult, Apa's assistants took molds of my mouth to create the look of temporary veneers, which are sculpted using a liquid composite. Everything is taken into account when crafting your new smile, from the way you talk to the shape of your face, so that it all works together seamlessly. At my next appointment, he applied the temporaries to my teeth (around a three-hour procedure, as the gums are being shaped and the real teeth underneath are being prepped), which I wore for about a week to test out. Then, I came back, and we discussed any changes I'd like to be made. More molds were taken, and then the final plan was sent to a ceramist to manufacture. The next appointment was around one to two hours wherein the final veneers were bonded to my teeth. Finally, I came back once more for a bite check and final approval. Below, my before-and-afters.

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