Dental Veneers Process

Dr. Erica Aand
Written by
Dr. Erica Aand
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What are Veneers?

Veneers are a popular cosmetic dental treatment that helps create a harmonious smile that is natural-looking. Veneers can correct imperfections like tooth discoloration, gaps and spacing, chips, and worn-down teeth. 

teeth with veneer

One of the greatest things that people love about veneers is that they are a permanent option to create a smile makeover. Since porcelain is a very durable material, it does not stain easily. 

Veneers work by using a thin shell of porcelain, ceramic, or composite to cover the anterior face of a tooth. They can be made to adjust the shape and shade of a natural tooth to transform a smile.

Who is a Good Candidate for Veneers?

In order to be a good candidate for veneers, you should have good oral hygiene and habits to avoid long-term tooth decay and gum problems. You also want your teeth to be in the proper position so that veneers give an optimal result. 

People who choose veneers want to make conservative and minor changes to their teeth. These may include:

  • Slight crowding
  • Uneven sized teeth
  • Intrinsic tooth discoloration
  • Gaps and spacing
  • Chips or fractures
  • Worn-down teeth

Who is a Poor Candidate for Veneers?

Not everyone is eligible for veneers. In order for veneers to look and function properly, there are several things that can go wrong if you are not a good candidate. People who should not get veneers include those who have:

  • Chronic conditions like grinding and clenching
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Severe crowding or malocclusion (you may need Invisalign before your veneer process)

Different Types of Veneers & Costs

There are a few types of veneers depending on your needs and budget. Always discuss the type of veneer you will get because it affects your natural teeth and the longevity of the restoration. 

  • Porcelain veneers - They are the most popular type of veneer offered by cosmetic dentists because of their highly aesthetic material and translucent appearance. Porcelain veneers typically last around 10 years, and they are the strongest of all veneer materials. They will blend in with your adjacent natural teeth to make them very discreet but give you the smile makeover you desire. 

People love porcelain veneers because they are stain-resistant to dark-colored food and beverages so that you will always have that smooth, bright appearance. Since they are biocompatible, they won’t injure your gums or irritate your oral tissues.

The main downside of porcelain veneers is they are fairly expensive. The cost will vary based on your dentist, location, and how many teeth you need to be veneered, but a typical veneer can range $925 to $2500 per tooth. 

  • Composite Veneers - A composite veneer is a great, affordable option for someone who wants to make a cosmetic change to their front teeth. They are less expensive at $250 to $1500 per tooth, but they do not last as long as porcelain veneers. Some people will use them as a stepping stone to a porcelain veneer. Others prefer composite veneers because it is a less invasive procedure than porcelain veneers. 

Composite veneers tend to chip or fracture more often. They can also stain dark-colored substances and absorb color easily. Therefore, coffee drinkers or people who use tobacco products may want to consider porcelain veneers. 

Resin veneers typically last an average of 5 to 7 years, but if they fracture, they can be easily repaired, while porcelain is not as easily repaired. 

Snap-on veneers - A snap-on veneer is a temporary solution for people who want the appearance of veneers, but are not ready to commit to permanent porcelain veneers. They are made by taking a laboratory impression of your teeth, and a snap-on veneer is fabricated to fit over your teeth. 

snap on smile

They are a great option for people looking to correct stained teeth or teeth with gaps, but they do not have the same strength or capabilities as composite or porcelain veneers. While they can cause more plaque buildup or increase the risk for tooth decay between the margin of the veneer and tooth, many people opt for them because they are affordable and a quick fix to a minor dental imperfection. Snap-on veneers are also removable compared to composite and porcelain veneers. 

It is a cost-effective treatment for someone wanting to improve their smile until they can invest in porcelain veneers. Instead of feeling down with tooth discoloration, a snap-on smile can temporarily improve someone’s self-esteem at only a few hundred dollars compared to the thousands of dollars for porcelain veneers. 

What to Expect: Veneers Process (Step-By-Step)

This is a typical process of veneer treatment. If your dentist has advanced 3-D technology, you may be able to get a veneer custom made in only a single dental visit. 

If you need any teeth whitening done, it should be performed before your veneer treatment to avoid any color discrepancies. You cannot whiten veneers. 

  1. Your dentist will take intraoral photographs, dental x-rays, and perform a complete examination to determine you are a proper candidate for veneers. Select offices will use an intraoral scanner to show you your before and end result before you even starting the procedure. 
  2. Tooth preparation includes a small amount of tooth enamel removed to make room for your veneer. Your dentist will administer local anesthetic to get you numb, so you are comfortable during the procedure.
  3. A traditional putty impression or intraoral scanner is used to create a mold of your teeth.
  4. You and your dentist will use a shade guide to look at your adjacent teeth to choose natural color for your veneer(s). 
  5. The impression and shade are sent to a laboratory to create a custom porcelain veneer that fits precisely to your teeth. 
  6. Your dentist will create a temporary veneer chairside to give you a restoration to wear until your veneers are ready. They are not made to be permanent and usually last a few weeks. 
  7. At your next dental visit, your dentist will fit and adjust your veneers until they are properly placed. Your bite will be checked. 
  8. Once adjusted, the veneer is permanently bonded to the front surface of teeth. Excess cement is cleaned off. 

Are Veneers Placed in One Day?

Most dental veneers require a laboratory to fabricate a custom restoration. This means your dentist will create a temporary veneer until the permanent one is ready to be cemented.

Some offices offer veneers in a single dental visit called CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics). They use advanced 3-D dental technology to create custom porcelain veneers in one day. 

Can Veneers Fall Off? 

Veneers typically do not fall off as they are permanently cemented. If they are not bonded properly or made poorly, they can fall off. Composite veneers are more likely than porcelain veneers to chip or fracture if you bite into a hard substance. 

Side Effects

Veneers are one of the greatest types of dental restorations if your oral health is in top shape. There are no true side effects to wearing veneers, except for being cautious with biting into hard foods and substances like ice so that they don’t chip. Just like your natural teeth, it is important to care for them, so you don’t injure your new, expensive restorations.

Aftercare Tips 

You can comfortably eat and drink as soon as your porcelain veneers are bonded.  The most important thing to remember is to care for your veneers just like your actual teeth. This means daily brushing and flossing, a healthy diet, and routine dental visits are necessary to maintain your veneers for several years. Wearing a nightguard is recommended if you grind your teeth at night. If you play any contact sports, it is wise to wear a custom athletic mouthguard. 

Pros of Dental Veneers

  • Correct gaps and spacing
  • Improve irregular shaped or sized teeth
  • Offer a whiter smile for those with tooth discoloration
  • Correct uneven gum line
  • Lengthen worn down teeth
  • Repair teeth that are chipped or fractured
  • Give an aesthetic appearance to slightly crowded teeth 

Cons of Dental Veneers

  • Expensive (most are not covered by dental insurance)
  • Porcelain veneers can cause damage to opposing teeth if you grind
  • Porcelain veneers are costly to repair 
  • Composite veneers can easily stain or chip requiring replacement
  • Requires removal of natural tooth structure 

Are Veneers Worth It?

If you are looking to make a significant change to your smile and improve your confidence, there is no better cosmetic procedure than veneers. Porcelain veneers can transform your appearance by giving you a “hollywood smile” that can last 10 or more years with proper care. Very few people regret veneers because they look and feel like your natural teeth without causing much damage to your original tooth. The main downside is their high cost, but remember it is an investment into your oral health and self-esteem.

Resources

Peumans, M. “Porcelain veneers: a review of the literature.”  Journal of Dentistry

Volume 28, Issue 3, March 2000, Pages 163-177 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0300-5712(99)00066-4

Marco M.M. Gresnigt. “Comparison of conventional ceramic laminate veneers, partial laminate veneers and direct composite resin restorations in fracture strength after aging” Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, Volume 114, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104172 

BT Rotoli, DANL Lima, NP Pini, FHB Aguiar. “Porcelain Veneers as an Alternative for Esthetic Treatment: Clinical Report.” Oper Dent 1 September 2013; 38 (5): 459–466. doi: https://doi.org/10.2341/12-382-T

Belser UC, Magne P, & Magne M (1997) Ceramic laminate veneers: Continuous evolution of indications Journal of Esthetic Dentistry 9(4) 197-207. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9468884/ 

Pini NP, Aguiar FHB, Lima DANL, Lovadino JR, Terada RSS, & Pascotto RC (2012) Advances in dental veneers: Materials, applications, and techniques Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry 4 9-16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23674920/

Blackmon, Lawrence B. “Snap-On Smile: a new smile, a happy patient, and further clinical applications.” Dentistry today vol. 29,8 (2010): 38, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20873646/

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