Types of Veneers

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Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Lara Coseo
Alyssa Hill
Written by
Alyssa Hill
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Evidence Based
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Overview: What are Veneers?

Dental veneers are custom, tooth-colored shells that fit over the front of your teeth. The purpose of veneers is to change the shape, color, size, and appearance of natural teeth.

In cosmetic dentistry, veneers are sometimes referred to as a “smile makeover.”

tooth in lower jaw with dental veneer

Veneers are most commonly placed over front teeth, rather than back molars. The shells fix chipped teeth, different-sized teeth, slightly crooked teeth, and tooth discoloration. Veneers cannot replace missing teeth.

Inlays and onlays are generally the better options for restoring back teeth.

inlays onlays overlays
Inlays and Onlays

All types of veneers are permanent, which means they cannot be removed after placement. If you have cavities or gum disease, it is essential to seek restorative dental treatment rather than veneers. 

To ensure your veneers are placed correctly, visit a licensed dentist with many years of experience.

SUMMARY

Veneers are tooth-colored shells that fix damaged or discolored teeth.

Different Types of Veneers

Veneer shells are typically made of porcelain. However, there are a few different types of veneers to choose from, including:

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain is the most esthetic and least harmful material available for dental restorations. It is also the strongest and longest-lasting of all veneer materials.

Porcelain laminate veneers are extremely biocompatible, which means they rarely injure the gum tissues and surrounding soft tissues in the mouth. These veneers can significantly improve the appearance of your smile because porcelain is very natural-looking.

Porcelain veneers are a permanent solution and require some tooth shaving before placement.


PROS
  • Blend in with your natural tooth color
  • Stain-resistant
  • Very strong and durable
  • Lower chance of fracture, chipping, or breakage
  • Smooth, tooth-like texture
  • Do not harm your gums or surrounding teeth
  • Little plaque build-up with proper dental care
  • Long-lasting, typically 8 to 15 years
CONS
  • Expensive, $925 to $2500 per tooth
  • Lengthy and invasive procedure

CEREC® (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics) porcelain veneers are a new, popular option that provides same-day results. CEREC veneers use high-quality 3D software to design you a new, beautiful smile in minutes. 

SUMMARY

Porcelain veneers are the most popular, natural-looking, and durable option. But they are also the most expensive.

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are made of composite resin, which is a mixture of inorganic and organic materials. The natural materials include the initiator, the resin, and the coupling agent. The primary inorganic material in composite resin is the filler. 

The bonding material used to make composite resin veneers is the same as tooth-colored dental fillings. While strong, composite veneers are not as durable as porcelain.

Composite veneers are less expensive than porcelain veneers. However, they blend in fairly well with your natural tooth color, but are prone to stains over time and do not last as long. 

These veneers are a permanent solution and require some tooth shaving before placement.


PROS
  • Relatively strong and durable
  • Less invasive procedure (less enamel removal)
  • They look natural but can stain over time
  • Low chance of harming your gum tissue
  • Easily repaired if chipped or broken
  • Only requires a single visit and no temporary restorations
  • Last between 5 to 7 years
  • Less expensive than porcelain veneers, $250 to $1500 per tooth
CONS
  • Weaker and more prone to stains over time than porcelain veneers
  • Do not last as long as porcelain veneers
  • Lengthy procedure

SUMMARY

Composite veneers are made of the same material as most dental fillings. They are relatively durable but do not last as long as porcelain veneers.

Lumineers

Lumineers are a brand of veneers. They are made of ultra-thin porcelain laminate material and require minimal preparation before placement. Unlike porcelain veneers, less natural tooth structure is removed before placing a lumineer over your tooth enamel.

Lumineers are commonly used to treat discolored and irregularly shaped teeth. They are smooth to the touch, so they also look and feel natural. 


PROS
  • They are reversible
  • Require less tooth preparation before placement 
  • Slightly less expensive than porcelain veneers ($800 to $2,000 per tooth)
CONS
  • Shorter lifespan than traditional veneers
  • Less natural-looking than veneers
  • More prone to fracture and damage 

SUMMARY

Lumineers are a more affordable brand of veneers that do not require tooth removal before placement.

Removable Veneers (Temporary Veneers)

Removable veneers are also called snap-on veneers. There are two types of removable veneers: instant veneers and custom-made clip-on veneers.

Instant veneers, from companies such as instant smile, are cheap ($20 to $50) cosmetic teeth. You fit them to your mouth by placing them in hot water and pressing your teeth into the soft fitting material.

Instant veneers are not recommended for daily use or as a long-term dental solution.

Instant Smile

Custom clip-on veneers are high-quality removable veneers. First, an impression of your teeth is made. Then the impression is sent to a dental lab. The dental lab technicians create a custom-fit set of veneers for you, which then get mailed out.

snap on smile

Snap-On Smile and Alpha Veneers are two of the most popular companies that custom make removable veneers. The Snap-On Smile process happens in a dental office. Alpha Veneers are a direct-to-consumer company that mails you the impression kit and veneers. Their treatment model is very similar to at-home clear aligner treatment.

Although convenient, removable veneers 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. 

SUMMARY

Removable veneers are not a long-term dental solution. They provide instant results but are not durable and natural-looking like traditional veneers.

How Much Do Veneers Cost?

The cost of veneer treatment depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The type of veneer material chosen
  • How many veneers you get
  • Your dentist’s location

On average, a single veneer can cost anywhere between $600 and $2,500. Insurance does not cover the cost of veneers because they are considered cosmetic (not medically necessary). 

Common Questions and Answers

Can you eat with removable veneers?

Yes, you can eat with removable veneers in your mouth. You should clean them after each meal.

Do snap-on veneers really work?

Snap-on veneers are a cheaper and less durable alternative to traditional veneers. While they may work in the short-term, removable veneers are less natural-looking and more prone to damage over time.

What are the best snap-on veneers?

Popular brands of snap-on veneers include Alpha Veneers, insta®smile, NYC Veneers™, TruSmile™ Removable Veneers, and Removable Veneers USA™.

Do composite veneers ruin your teeth?

Composite veneers will not ruin your teeth or negatively impact your oral health. However, minor tooth removal is necessary before the veneer is placed. A composite veneer cannot be removed because your natural tooth structure will not grow back.

Can a veneer be removed?

Porcelain and composite veneers are irremovable. Lumineers and snap-on veneers can be removed but are less durable than traditional teeth veneers.

Which is better: porcelain or composite veneers?

Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant, more natural-looking, and more durable than composite veneers. Composite veneers are weaker and more prone to stains over time than porcelain veneers. They also
do not last as long, but are cheaper.

What's the difference between composite bonding and composite veneers?

The material used for composite bonding and composite veneers is the same. The main difference between the two restorations is that a bond covers a portion of your tooth, while a veneer covers your entire tooth.

Resources

Goldstein, Ronald E., et al. Ronald E. Esthetics in Dentistry. Wiley Blackwell, 2018.

Phinney, Donna J., and Judy H. Halstead. “Delmar's Handbook of Essential Skills and Procedures for Chairside Dental Assisting.” Delmar/Thomson Learning, 2002.

“Removable Veneers.” Removable Veneers | Shiny Smile Veneers, www.shinysmileveneers.com/removable-veneers/.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/193955193@N07/51486920820/

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