True or false—natural teeth need to be shaved down to pegs to get veneers? Learn the answer and more as top dentists demystify the most commonly misunderstood aspects of this popular smile procedure.
Most veneers require minimal to no tooth reduction.
Ask anyone considering veneers: their biggest roadblock is often the thought of needing to have their natural teeth shaved down. Dentists say they hear this concern all the time, but the process doesn’t have to be as drastic as you think. “Patients fear that their own natural teeth will be drastically damaged in order to have veneers placed, but the reality is that most veneers only require minimal to no tooth reduction,” says New York cosmetic dentist Steven Roth, DMD.
“The teeth do not need to be shaved down to pegs,” New York cosmetic dentist Husam Almunajed, DMD adds, noting that porcelain veneers are minimally invasive by design. “When done well with the occasional no-prep veneer, there’s no tooth reduction.” New York cosmetic dentist Jason Kasarsky, DDS calls no-prep veneers “the most conservative treatment for smile-altering aesthetics.”
Porcelain veneers have many levels of quality.
Veneers are not one-size-fits-all. “There are machine-made porcelain veneers, hand-layered porcelain veneers, and many variations in between, all with varying quality,” says Dr. Almunajed. “It’s important to communicate with your dentist about this so you know the level of quality you’re getting, as it can make all the difference.” Porcelain veneers are not all made equal, which is why some people may get the obvious “Chiclet smile,” and others will get a youthful, seamless natural-looking smile.
Veneers can renew the smile.
When it comes to your smile, you have to think of the big picture. “A rejuvenated smile can help support the face, broaden the smile and make a person appear happier,” says New York cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, DMD, noting that he thinks veneers give people “superpowers.” If you’ve never felt confident in your smile, veneers can change that. Dr. Chase also points out that studies have shown that people with nicer smiles are perceived as more successful.
Veneers can reduce pain and discomfort.
Veneers aren’t only used to address cosmetic concerns; they can also help relieve pain and discomfort. Dr. Chase says veneers can be used to improve the function of your jaw and can also help eliminate headaches and TMJ issues.
Veneers can appear as natural as the patient wants.
Dr. Roth says patients often come in concerned that their veneers will look obvious and their smile won’t quite match their face. However, he assures them this doesn’t need to be the case. “The reality is that porcelain veneers can be as lifelike and realistic as a patient wants.” To ensure patients get the results they want, Dr. Roth says it’s “critically important that they view the before-and-after cases their doctor has performed.” Dr. Kasarsky adds that “while it’s a challenging task for the operator, when performed by a qualified, skilled practitioner, patients have predictable, long-lasting, beautiful results.”
Veneers are stronger now than ever before.
“One thing people may not know is that the materials used in veneers are stronger now than they have ever been before,” says Sarasota, FL cosmetic dentist Jenifer Back, DMD. “Lithium disilicate is the material of choice currently, and it is more wear-resistant than our own natural enamel.” This means veneers can make your smile even stronger.
Veneers can last up to 20 years.
When putting time and money into a cosmetic treatment, we hope for a good return on our investment. Los Altos, CA cosmetic dentist Joseph Field, DDS says, “Veneers should last around 15 to 20 years if they are properly maintained.” Dr. Almunajed adds that “porcelain veneers are the most conservative dental treatment, and research shows they are also the longestlasting dental restoration, over crowns and fillings.”
Veneers need to be cared for like natural teeth.
“Veneers are designed to look, feel and act like natural teeth,” says Dr. Field. “As such, they need to be cared for like natural teeth, including brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular cleanings with your oral health-care professional.” Additionally, Dr. Field notes that those with veneers should use a nonabrasive toothpaste.