Dentistry
Cosmetic
Product Reviews
Updated on December 30, 2022
7 min read

Dental Veneers Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

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What are Veneers?

Veneers are a cosmetic dental treatment that creates a beautiful, natural-looking smile. They can fix imperfections like tooth discoloration, gaps and spacing, chips, and worn-down teeth. 

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Veneers are thin shells of porcelain, ceramic, or composite that cover the anterior face of teeth. They can adjust the shape and shade of a natural tooth to improve its appearance.

What is the Veneers Process Like?

The procedure for installing your veneers may vary depending on the type you choose. If you need teeth whitening done, it should be performed before your veneers to avoid color discrepancies. You cannot whiten veneers. 

The process typically goes as follows:

1. Initial Consultation 

At your first visit, your dentist will take intraoral photographs and X-rays. They will also complete an examination to determine if you are a good candidate for veneers. Before starting the procedure, they may use an intraoral scanner and specialized dental software to show you the intended end result. 

2. Tooth Preparation

Traditional dental veneers involve tooth reduction. Your dentist grinds down your enamel to make room for the veneers. This permanent, sometimes painful procedure may require a local anesthetic.

3. Impression

Your dentist creates a mold of your teeth using a traditional putty impression or an intraoral scanner.

4. Shade Selection 

You and your dentist use a shade guide to choose a natural color for your veneers. 

5. Manufacturing 

The impression and shade are sent to a laboratory to create custom veneers that fit precisely to your teeth. It may take 2 to 3 weeks for your veneers to be made.

6. Temporary Veneer

Your dentist may create a temporary veneer chairside to give you a restoration to wear until your permanent veneers are ready.

7. Adjustments 

At your second visit, your dentist fits and adjusts your permanent veneers until they are properly placed. They check your bite and ask for feedback before bonding.

8. Bonding 

If you’re happy with the results, your dentist permanently bonds your veneers to the front surface of your 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 use CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics). This advanced 3D dental technology creates custom porcelain veneers in one day. 

Can Veneers Fall Off? 

No, veneers typically do not fall off as they are permanently cemented. However, as veneers age, they slowly detach from the teeth as the bonding weakens. 

They can fall off if they are not bonded properly or made poorly. Composite veneers are more likely than porcelain veneers to chip or fracture if you bite into a hard substance. 

Do Veneers Hurt?

No, veneers do not hurt. You may feel some pain if your dentist needs to grind down your teeth in preparation, but they will numb you with a local anesthetic for the procedure. 

The application of the veneers themselves is painless, and you should feel no pain or discomfort after they are installed. 

Side Effects of Veneers

Possible side effects of the dental veneer procedure include:

  • Tooth sensitivity and discomfort
  • Gum inflammation
  • Increased risk of tooth pulp injury

Most of the side effects result from the removal of your enamel in advance of the procedure. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience these side effects for longer than a few days.

Aftercare Tips 

You can eat and drink as soon as your porcelain veneers are bonded. 

It’s essential to care for your veneers like you would your actual teeth. If you want to increase the longevity of your veneers, you should:

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Visit your dentist regularly
  • Wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth while sleeping
  • Wear an athletic mouthguard if you play contact sports

Who is a Good Candidate for Veneers?

Veneers are the ideal solution for people who want to make conservative and minor changes to their teeth. The issues veneers can resolve include:

  • Slight crowding
  • Mild crookedness
  • Unevenly sized teeth
  • Discoloration and stains
  • Gaps and spacing
  • Minor chips or fractures
  • Worn-down teeth

Ideal candidates for veneers include people with:

  • Plenty of healthy tooth enamel remaining
  • No or minimal history of teeth grinding and clenching 
  • A desire to fix minor cosmetic flaws

Who isn’t a Candidate for Veneers?

Not everyone is eligible for veneers. People who should not get veneers include those who have:

  • Chronic conditions like grinding and clenching
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Severe crowding or malocclusion
  • Tooth decay
  • Gingivitis

If you have any of these issues, you may not be a current candidate for veneers. Your dentist can then create a treatment plan to address these issues before you consider veneers.

Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers

Like any treatment, dental veneers have their pros and cons. It’s essential to understand the positives and downsides before you get veneers.

Pros of Dental Veneers

  • Correct gaps and spacing
  • Improve irregularly 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?

Veneers are a safe, effective option for improving your smile and confidence.

Porcelain veneers give you a new and improved smile that can last 10 or more years with proper care. They can be expensive, but if you are prepared to invest in your oral health and self-confidence, they can be worth it.

Alternatives to Veneers

You may not be a candidate for veneers, or you might want a different price point. You’ll find many alternative treatments that can offer you a similar outcome.

Snap-On Veneers

Snap-on veneers are a removable, non-permanent alternative to traditional porcelain veneers. You can put them on and take them off at any time. 

Snap-on veneers do not require tooth reduction, which makes them a less painful alternative to permanent veneers. They are also much more affordable.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening may be appropriate if your primary concern is tooth discoloration or staining. There are many ways to whiten teeth, including in-office or at-home treatments.

Teeth whitening can be very affordable and accessible. You can even buy whitening kits over the counter. Talk to your dentist to see which product makes the most sense.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is affordable for chipped, cracked, or damaged teeth. It involves filling in the damaged areas with tooth-colored restorations.

If you care for your teeth properly after dental bonding, the treatment can last up to 8 years.

Clear Aligners and Braces

If you have significantly crooked or crowded teeth, you might need braces or aligners before exploring veneers. These treatments can be expensive, but they have a better chance of being covered by insurance than veneers.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are fitted caps that cover your teeth to change their appearance. Your dentist will likely recommend a crown when the issue is structural rather than cosmetic. 

Veneers cover the front of your tooth, while a dental crown will cover the entire tooth. 

Summary

Dental veneers are a permanent cosmetic treatment to improve the aesthetics of your smile. They are ideal for people with minor dental flaws such as stains, chips, and gaps. 

Dental veneers involve tooth reduction, impressions, and the application process. They can be expensive and aren’t right for everyone, but there are alternatives to explore.

Last updated on December 30, 2022
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on December 30, 2022
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).
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  2. Gresnigt, M. “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, Elsevier B.V., 2021. 
  3. Rotoli, B., et al.“Porcelain Veneers as an Alternative for Esthetic Treatment: Clinical Report.” Operative Dentistry, Allen Press, 2013.
  4. Belser,  U., et al. “Ceramic laminate veneers: Continuous evolution of indications.” Journal of Esthetic Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 1997.
  5. Pini, N., et al. “Advances in dental veneers: materials, applications, and techniques.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, National Library of Medicine, 2012.Blackmon, L. “Snap-On Smile: a new smile, a happy patient, and further clinical applications.” Dentistry Today, National Library of Medicine, 2010.
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