Updated on February 9, 2024
5 min read

Preparing Your Teeth for Veneers

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Dental veneers are cosmetic restorations that improve the appearance of damaged, discolored, and slightly crooked teeth. Veneers are thin shells that fit over your natural teeth. They’re designed to change the shape, size, and color of your teeth.

Dental veneers may be right for you if you’re considering investing in a new smile. This cosmetic dental treatment can help you achieve your ideal smile in just a few weeks.

This article covers what you need to know about having veneers placed to decide if they’re right for you.

How are Teeth Prepped for Veneers?

Dental veneers usually require a degree of tooth preparation. Minimal tooth preparation could mean removing as little as 0.3 mm of enamel, while a more aggressive preparation may mean removing up to 1.5mm. 

To make room for the veneer, your dentist must remove some enamel from each tooth. This permanently changes the tooth, making veneers irreversible. 

The amount of preparation involved depends on the:

  • Position of your teeth
  • Cosmetic issues you want to be fixed
  • The material the veneer is made out of

Composite Resin

Composite resin is less expensive than porcelain, making these veneers a more cost-effective option. However, they may not last as long as porcelain veneers.

There are two ways to place composite veneers:

Direct Placement

This involves bonding composite material to the tooth after minimal, selective preparation. Besides price, the fact that this treatment is minimally invasive is the biggest benefit of composite veneers, though they are also irreversible. 

Indirect Placement

This method involves a more aggressive tooth preparation, similar to porcelain veneers, to bond a veneer made of composite to the tooth.


While they cost more than composite veneers, porcelain veneers tend to last twice as long. 

The procedure to have porcelain veneers completed is a multi-step process:

  1. Your dentist cleans your teeth.
  2. They remove a thin layer of enamel from the front surface of each tooth. Depending on how much prep is required, your dentist may or may not use a local anesthetic to numb your teeth.
  3. Your dentist takes impressions of your prepped teeth. They send the impressions to a dental lab to create your custom veneers. 
  4. You’ll get fitted for temporary veneers to wear while the permanent ones are fabricated.
  5. When your permanent veneers arrive, you will return to your dentist’s office for a second appointment.
  6. Before bonding porcelain veneers to your teeth, the dentist cleans, polishes, and etches the tooth surface. 
  7. Your dentist attaches a porcelain veneer to each tooth using dental cement. A special light helps the cement dry faster, permanently adhering the veneers to your teeth.

This same dental veneer procedure applies to other types of ceramic veneers. 

No-Prep Veneers

Unlike composite resin or porcelain veneers, the no-prep type doesn’t permanently change your tooth structure. No-prep veneers require little to no tooth preparation. 

This type includes brands like:

No-prep veneers are much thinner than traditional porcelain veneers. This means they can be placed with little changes to your natural teeth.

How to Prepare for Your Dentist Appointment

Before you get veneers, your dentist will meet you for a consultation. They’ll discuss your cosmetic concerns and recommend the best type of dental veneers for you.

Good oral health is an integral part of the veneer preparation process. Your dentist will examine your teeth and take X-rays to check for:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Infections that may require root canal therapy

You may not be a candidate for dental veneers if you have any of these problems. In some cases, other types of treatment may be recommended. 

For example, if your teeth are extremely crooked or uneven, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment, such as braces, before veneers.

Caring For Your Veneers

Dental veneers should be cared for just like natural teeth. To maintain your veneers:

  • Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes twice daily
  • Floss at least once daily, ideally after your last meal and before bed
  • Limit foods and beverages, including blueberries, dark chocolate, leafy greens, coffee, tea, and wine, which can stain your veneers
  • Wear a night guard to protect your veneers if you grind your teeth at night 

Although porcelain veneers resist stains, they aren’t immune to them. You cannot whiten porcelain veneers like your natural teeth if staining occurs.

Caring for Temporary Veneers

If you get temporary veneers, expect to stick to a soft-food diet while wearing them. These veneers aren’t as strong as permanent ones. Hard or sticky foods can cause them to break or come loose.

Call your dentist right away if a temporary veneer breaks or pops off. 

How Long Do Veneers Last? 

How long veneers last depends on the material used and how well you care for them. The approximate longevity of different types of dental veneers is as follows: 

  • Composite veneers — Most composite veneers last up to 5 to 7 years. Though they break more easily than porcelain veneers, they’re also easier to fix.1
  • Porcelain veneers — Porcelain veneers can last up to 10 to 15 years and have the highest level of patient satisfaction.1
  • No-prep veneers — These aren’t permanent but can last up to 5 to 7 years or longer with proper care.6


Dental veneers are restorations that improve the appearance of your smile. The procedure of having veneers placed typically involves removing some enamel from each tooth surface. The exact process depends on the condition of your teeth and the type of veneer that you choose.

Dental veneers made of composite resin may involve a less-invasive preparation than ceramic materials like porcelain. No-prep veneers require little to no prep. However, porcelain veneers tend to last longer and are typically the most esthetic option.

Last updated on February 9, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 9, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Alothman, Y, and Bamasoud, MS. “The Success of Dental Veneers According to Preparation Design and Material Type.” Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2018.
  2. Da Cunha, LF, et al. “Ceramic Veneers with Minimum Preparation.” European Journal of Dentistry, 2013.
  3. Alenezi, A, et al. “Long-Term Survival and Complication Rates of Porcelain Laminate Veneers in Clinical Studies: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2021.
  4. Ojeda, GD, et al. “A Step-by-Step Conservative Approach for CAD-CAM Laminate Veneers.” Care Reports in Dentistry, 2017.
  5. Gresnigt, MMM, et al. “Randomized Clinical Trial on Indirect Resin Composite and Ceramic Laminate Veneers: Up to 10-Year Findings.” Journal of Dentistry, 2019. Kaur, S. “Lumineers Veneers – A Clinical Case Study.” Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Sciences Research, 2021.
  6. Kaur, S. “Lumineers Veneers – A Clinical Case Study.” Journal of Advanced Medical and Dental Sciences Research, 2021.
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