Are Veneers Worth It?

Evidence Based
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What Dental Problems Can Veneers Fix?

Porcelain veneers are an excellent way to transform your smile and boost your self-confidence. Although, they are a very expensive cosmetic procedure. Many people want veneers but consider them to be cost-prohibitive. The question, “are they worth it?” can only be answered by the one making the investment.

Veneers can fix:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Broken teeth (small chips)
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Irregularly sized teeth

What Do Veneers Do?

A veneer is a covering. You may have heard of kitchen cabinets with a wood veneer. That means the carpenter makes the structure of the cabinet with less expensive materials and covers it with a thin layer of wood to give the desired appearance.

In the case of dental veneers, the underlying structure is your natural tooth, and the covering is porcelain.

tooth in lower jaw with dental veneer

By covering your teeth with porcelain, your dentist can make changes to the appearance of your smile. Veneers allow you to change the shape, size, and color of your teeth.

Veneers do not completely replace teeth; they simply cover the visible surfaces. In general, veneers do not change the way your teeth bite together. They are strictly cosmetic. 

They are able to cover minor orthodontic problems like mild crowding and spacing (gaps). With veneers, you can make relatively drastic changes to your smile. 

teeth with veneer

So to answer the question, “are they worth it?” you would first need to determine how much you dislike your current smile. If you hold back from smiling and laughing because you don’t want people to see your teeth, veneers could totally change the way you interact with others. 

Types of Veneers

There are four types of dental veneers available:

  • Porcelain veneers are strong, durable, and stain-resistant. Porcelain blends in with the color of your teeth, so the shells look very natural. They are also long-lasting, and typically last 8 to 15 years with proper care. Porcelain veneers are permanent.
  • Composite veneers look natural but are prone to discoloration over time. They are also weaker than porcelain veneers. However, composite veneers are cheaper than porcelain veneers and last between 5 to 7 years with proper dental care. Composite veneers are permanent.
  • Lumineers are a brand of veneers. They are made of ultra-thin porcelain laminate and require minimal tooth structure removal before placement. Lumineers are reversible but have a shorter lifespan than traditional veneers.
  • Temporary veneers are removable veneers. They do not look as natural as permanent veneers. They are also more prone to plaque build-up and may harm your gum tissue over time with frequent wear. Dentists always recommend permanent veneers over temporary alternatives. 

Pros and Cons of Veneers

When the dentist does his or her job properly, and you do your job of caring for the dental work at home, veneers can last as long as you do. There are some additional care and maintenance steps you must take if you have porcelain veneers, and following them ensures their long lifespan. 

One of the most desirable benefits of veneers is their color stability. Porcelain is a highly glazed glass, which does not collect stains and plaque buildup the way natural teeth do. For this reason, the color of veneers does not change over time. Some people refer to this advantage as “permanent teeth whitening." The main disadvantages of veneers are that they are expensive, require a lengthy procedure, and must be replaced after 5 to 15 years.

By covering and correcting chipped, shortened, and yellowed teeth, porcelain veneers make you look younger. And unlike Botox or dermal fillers, the procedure does not need to be repeated over and over. 


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How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?

There are two important factors in how long veneers last. The first is how well the dentist does his or her job. The second is how well you care for them at home. As far as the first goes, the most important thing you can do is choose your dentist well. 

As far as caring for your porcelain veneers, you are responsible for maintenance that will prevent new cavities from developing at the edge of the veneers and chipping or breaking from teeth clenching/grinding or bad habits like using your teeth as tools. 

Great oral hygiene (yes, you must floss every single night) and consistent professional teeth cleanings will help you keep your cavity risk low. Most people with porcelain veneers need to wear a professional nightguard to protect new dental work overnight.

So to answer the question, “are they worth it?” you should consider that, with proper maintenance, they will outlast a new car or any other significant investment you could make.

What Options might make Veneers More Affordable?

On average, veneers cost about $1200 to 1500 per tooth.

Most people assume that they must have veneers on all front six teeth to produce the smile results they desire. That is not always the case.

Carefully consider your smile and the things that you dislike. Is it possible that you could correct just those two side teeth that seem too small for your smile? Or a single tooth that is slightly rotated? Some people are able to achieve their smile goals by selecting a single unit veneer. 

Dentists can perform a full smile makeover by covering all of your teeth with porcelain veneers and create the “magic wand” approach. However, that isn’t the only option. With a combination of teeth whitening and straightening your teeth with clear aligners like Invisalign, you may be able to achieve your smile goals without a full mouth of veneers. 

What’s the Takeaway?

If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, make sure to speak with your dentist about your specific goals, including which issues in your smile you want changed, and ask what other options can help you achieve those goals. 

If you do decide that porcelain veneers are the best option for you to achieve your desired smile, you must commit to taking care of them so that they last for the rest of your life.


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Updated on: September 10, 2020
Author
Lara Thurman Coseo
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